Freedom of Conscience

The Illinois legislature recently overrode Gov. Rod Blagojevich’s veto of what the newspapers are describing as mandatory-school-prayer legislation.  Predictably, the state’s editorial pages are filled with denunciations of this arbitrary attempt to impose religion on the helpless children of Illinois, but in fact, the new law, requiring a minute of silence at the beginning of the public-school day, has nothing whatsoever to do with prayer.  If public silence is a prayer, it can only be a prayer to the great nothingness that is at the center of the universe.

Although the law stipulates that “this period shall not be conducted as a religious exercise,” it does concede that there will be “an opportunity for silent prayer or for silent reflection on the anticipated activities of the day.”  The anti-Christians at the Chicago Sun-Times have ferreted out the legislators’ plot: It is an attempt to sneak religion in by the back door.  In the future, presumably, “11:00, Plant Skills for Life; 12:00 Lunch” will constitute the time-management equivalent of the paternoster.

The editors of the Sun-Times published their editorial with a straight face, pretending to believe that the crooks, weasels, and ward heelers who sit in one of the most corrupt legislatures in the United States are sincere Christian men and women who want to restore religion...

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