Monday, February 4, 2013

2013 Indiana Senate Bill 0023 Daily Recitation of the Lord's Prayer in Schools - Legislation Part 16

Senate Bill 0023 affects the following citations: IC 20-30-5-4.6. The synopsis is as follows:
School prayer. Allows the governing body of a school corporation or the equivalent authority of a charter school to provide for the recitation of the Lord's Prayer at the beginning of each school day.

This bill states its purpose to be “that each student recognize the importance of spiritual development in establishing character and becoming a good citizen”. There is clearly a dearth of spiritual connection between students and their schools or in a greater sense, their community. I believe this, along with administrators being hyper-focused on academic input, can account for the lack of student achievement in academic disciplines.

To achieve its stated purpose this bill proposes that students recite the Lord's Prayer daily.

Our Father, which art in heaven,
Hallowed be thy Name.
Thy Kingdom come.
Thy will be done in earth,
As it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our trespasses,
As we forgive them that trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation,
But deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom,
The power, and the glory,
For ever and ever.


The bill does include a provision for students to be excluded from participation

(c) A student is exempt from participation in the prayer if:
(1) the student chooses not to participate; or
(2) the student's parent chooses to have the student not participate. [a parent or guardian having legal custody of the student . . .]

Although exclusions have often been found to be legally sufficient I still object to these on the grounds that they require a student to differentiate himself from the group. From the perspective of an adolescent group conformity can be a significant pressure. The student is left to weight the options of possible ostracism or participation in a ritual contrary to his essence and possibly detrimental to his well-being.

There are two provisions about this bill that will defeat its stated purpose. The first is that it is limited to the use of the Lord's Prayer - a ritual of a single sect of the Abrahamic cults. As an intensely spiritual person I abhor the organized cults – such as those of the Abrahamic creed -- because of their dogma and structure that inhibit spirituality.

All matter is connected at the quantum level. Quantum theory provides that at its most basic state matter is a manifestation of thought. Through comprehending Unity and Truth I realize the vastness of my position in the universe and my connectivity to it. It is from this position that I build my character and exhibit the behaviours that I believe exemplify that of a citizen possessed by goodness.

In my daily meditation I focus on my physical self, acknowledging any harms that I have allowed. I open myself to my world and let its influence guide me. I account for my actions and take stock of what I have done to benefit my community. The underlying truth is that my thoughts and actions, those things of self, which are put forth to the world are returned to me more intensely. This is the essence of spiritual connectivity – focus on the self. But the cults, with their emphasis on an allegiance to the constructs of man, defeat spirituality. Religion is but an obstruction to the spiritual connection with our Creator. The cults are focused on the outer world and a false construct of rituals, submissive worship and predominance of particular individuals. In Christianity the outer world aspect is readily identifiable in the proposition that man has dominion over his environment when in actuality man is but a guest of his environment and should seek to respect rather than dominate it. The evidence repeatedly indicates that when man attempts to dominate his environment that harms befall him. Think New Orleans, half lit stadium and all.

While establishing character and becoming a good citizen is a laudable goal this bill is not going to achieve that. Instead, guided meditation, focusing on recognition of self, grounding and well-being will set the foundation upon which students may build their character, improve academic performance and ultimately become productive citizens engulfed with goodness. That I can support but in a country founded upon the freedom to connect with our Creator in the manner we choose I cannot support legislation that puts forth a particular cultists ritual as the basis for human development. Sadly I suspect this is only the beginning of the manifestation of an overzealous religious right that seeks to dominate our society and purge freedom of thought from the most impressionable minds – those of our children

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