Text of the bill
, I believe. Under 2pp. Amazingly short, unless they just aim to be blunter in Alabama. With all the white space, the abstract is nearly half of it:
To prescribe a period of time in the public schools
19 not to exceed 15 minutes for study of the formal procedures
20 followed by the United States Congress, which study shall
21 include a reading verbatim of one of the opening prayers given
22 by the House or Senate Chaplain or a guest member of the
23 clergy at the beginning of a meeting of the United States
24 House of Representatives or Senate.
Well, they bothered to pass it off as a "study" of religion in national traditions at least.
Though it's sort of like we should "study conflicting opinions" about evolution or global warming, regardless of scientific findings I suppose...
I guess if Alabama teachers can pick any
prayer ever offered in Congress, there might be some interesting exceptional days one could dig up. I wonder if someone hasn't given a very tongue-in-cheek or tiny prayer offering at some point in Congressional history. Maybe even a wordless prayer where they just hum an obscure, melodic tune? Some Congressional prayers have, at least, been given by other than Christian clergy. (And incidentally, Christian groups have sometimes shown up to protest that
But the whole thing is icky. We may not have enforced separation of church and state thoroughly to date... But here it gets worse. Bit by bit, or otherwise.
The point is as long as you come at the conservative religious right as an outsider, you will never gain any ground with them and only further the conflict. If you claim to be a progressive and a liberal, at some point you have to be willing to be reasonable with your opponent, but if your opponent is a fundamentalist conservative christian, they can operate entirely on faith, without ever engaging with whatever rational arguments you put in front of them. Allow me to illustrate...
You lost me when you said that they only need faith, and then asked me to be reasonable
. If faith isn't reasonable, no amount of reason will stop people from whatever the hell they are up to -- whether prayer in schools or blowing up buildings -- but that doesn't
mean I'm "reasonable" to accept it. I don't take it for granted that there are not other practical, political ways to limit it such as the courts (if they are being sane this year) or civil disobedience, if that's what it takes. Who knows, maybe tying up others in debate "knots" can even be fulfilling if this mutual "waste" of times means they are not accomplishing something you consider worse just then.
The "friendly debate over chess" picture is misleading in that regard... When it's often just a tiny vocal minority of people that well, even other conservatives repeatedly refuse to stand up to -- see what happened in the legislative session described in the article. Who is really not being reasonable? It's hardly something a chess game is going to resolve. And some of the people who want specific, religious-based policy are the same people tromping over college campuses with big flaming signs about all the gays (and often, in one basket, the liberals) going to HELL (all in big letters really). Just because some nut published a (quite possibly mistaken, never properly translated) new Bible saying so.
You want me to sit down and play a nice game of chess in the library with that
? It's all I can do to be half civil to them in the public square, try to see what they'll say to what I consider reason... And then I get people shouting at me
for being polite when their whole presentation wasn't
. And I'm not sure I can even blame them for blaming me
for trying in that case. Are people not right to say, that isn't worth talking to because it came with "You are wicked and damned," and so not
"Let's talk nice." And yes I am talking about stuff that happened in the South. Georgia, to be specific though that particular group trucked up from Florida all along the coast as I recall.
The left generally is a little fed up and coming with another version of 'you're wicked,' perhaps (it's actually more like criminal or prejudiced or something specific but hey I'll let it pass) -- but they have more pragmatic reasons and more social justice behind them than 'This book [which we really don't know the history of generally] says so and our pastor insists.' If you think it's all just everyone's opinion, then evidence be damned and you can hop off a window and see what happens. I'm tired of people trying to boil it down to every opinion must be equal, but no one has any right to get mad. Look at the Vietnam War era. A whole lot of anger for very good reasons, facing off with a whole lot of government violence for rather different reasons -- often facing a messed up management of policy if not downright dirty, cover your ass reasons. There are still very good liberal professors out there who were active in that time in the marches, who remember when more people had the guts to get in the street or leave the country if necessary to do what they felt was right, and build lots of small-scale alternatives for as long as it took until something gave. And they were flaming mad
There is no such neat consensus, as you suggest, that political liberals (in the activist sense that it meant in that time) were wrong to struggle and be loud and flatly critical. There is no holy writ (ahem) that says being liberal means no one is allowed to get mad at gross abuses and blind faith flying in the face of evidence about what is going on in the world. You're confusing "liberal" politics with neoliberal business culture there, I think. And what neoliberal business wants is not
the equality more liberal politics would demand. Different animals, if often in a confused relationship.
I honestly think some people, including many on the right, think liberals have invented all these neat rules about manners and discourse just for the sake of inventing rules to sound "nice," and not because there are underlying ideas about social justice those rules are also supposed to pursue. And the right often tries to use the same form
without pursuing the same ideals the form was originally cultivated to serve... Often a very out of context manipulation of language. It falls apart because when you follow the whole logic, well... It's a little bit like Putin saying he must be the really
democratic figure, because he refrains from intervening with force to topple Assad
. Rightists and many conservatives now adopt this faux civility line: of course
to get mad and meddle in others' business would be uncivil, and you'd be wrong no matter what they are doing with the world, right? Or pick your case of people backing a hard, exploitative line while jumping on others for not being "nice" enough.