HB 3678 postponed

From: user 3.
Sent on: Wednesday, April 25, 2007 8:10 PM
Folks,

Well floor debate on the biggest Texas state-level school prayer bill in 
years was just postponed in the House, until Monday at 10am. House Bill 3678 
is a huge bill that specifies all kinds of situations where religious 
expression must be allowed in public schools, at all functions imaginable. 
It's huge! It's just a big bill, that's all I'm sayin'.

I'm following this debate and calling representatives and letting them know 
of the problems with this bill. I'm happy to say that there has already been 
lots of opposition to some of the finer points of this bill heard on the 
House floor. Rep. Scott Hochberg of Houston started off by using examples of 
religions we don't hear from much, as being disallowed by this legislation. 
He said "What if I'm a member of the church of Scott, and I'm a student, and 
I want to get up and proclaim that the Church of Scott is best, and that 
there is no god, and that anyone who thinks there's a god is wrong. Would 
this legislation give the school the right to disallow that kind of talk, 
deciding on the validity of the religion in question? The answer was yes.

For all their talk about how religious discrimination is wrong, they all 
made it clear that not all religions will be covered by this bill. Anything 
that is found offensive by the individual school principal can be 
disallowed, under this bill. That pretty much eliminates a lot of the 
potential challenges to the bill, in a sweeping and *discriminatory* way. 
There's that word again...lol

The entire text of the House Bill as it is now can be found here:
http://www.capito...­

Two amendments have been voted on, and it wasn't exactly made clear which 
ones passed.
There was some really odd voting machine problems, which led to vote 
re-counts and strong feelings about the propriety of doing that. (Doesn't it 
fill us voters with confidence in voting machines when our own elected 
officials are apparently repeatedly running into technical problems with 
their House voting machines?)

One of my favorite Reps. is Rep. Donna Howard from Austin, and she made the 
immediate statement that provisions of a law that body passed in 1995 or so, 
covered all religious expression in public schools, and covered it well. 
Rep. Howard was not impressed.

Folks I'm asking everyone who cares about public schools being neutral 
towards religion to contact your House representatives and ask them to vote 
no on the bill. The amendments won't cure the basic problem of dumping onto 
individual schools the responsibility for figuring out the exact limits of 
the law, instead of just using a common sense attitude that any religious 
expression is problematic at the least, and should be avoided. The fact is, 
religious speech is special speech, unlike any other kind. It's offensive to 
some, and that's enough, in my opinion, to not push it on public school 
students.

If it takes people like Rev. Fred Phelps or Pat Robertson to remind 
legislators that some religious speech is offensive, that's fine with me. Of 
course, if this passes, there will probably be some rather interesting 
lawsuits over it.

Joe Zamecki
Texas State Director
American Atheists
Austin, TX
www.atheists.org/tx
[address removed]
[masked]

"I don't care if I make mistakes, as long as I'm still trying!" Madalyn 
Murray-O'Hair

____________________­____________________­____________________­_____
Exercise your brain! Try Flexicon. 
http://games.msn....­

People in this
Meetup are also in:

Sign up

Meetup members, Log in

By clicking "Sign up" or "Sign up using Facebook", you confirm that you accept our Terms of Service & Privacy Policy