Utah Legislature is at present seeking to have a settlement regarding the new Mississippi Law, which concerns religion for students. Senator Todd Weiler looks to issue a similar new bill, which, according to him, is for the protection of religious rights of public school students. But the organizations Atheists of Utah and ACLU are firmly opposing the act stating that it may violate the Utah Constitution and the U.S. Constitution.
The Mississippi Law endorses religious views and allows various religious activities for the students. Most of the law is well agreed upon by the Atheists and ACLU except for one section. The section in question permits the educational institutions to designate a “limited public forum.” This public forum is to be arranged prior to and following activities like graduations, daily announcements and sporting events. The section goes on, further saying that school boards will not be responsible for the statements of the students.
In accordance with the views of the Atheists of Utah, the particular section is meant to forcefully spread religious beliefs among the student body. Dan Ellis, the president of Atheists of Utah, expressed his concern that this may turn out to become a government-sponsored religion, which is never acceptable.
General counsel of conservative group Liberty Counsel Steve Crampton said that the new law does not, in any circumstance, violate the constitution.
The executive director of ACLU, Karen McCreary, remarked that the bill is unnecessary and divisive as far as the religious views are concerned. Similarly, Ellis said that the bill is a waste, and can even create safety or health issues among the students. He also mentioned that students with different beliefs are going to be harmed emotionally if the bill is passed. This may further create divisions in schools and inspire unhealthy environments, he continued to say.
- Liberty Counsel
- Mississippi Tells Public Schools to Develop Policies Allowing Prayers
- Atheists of Utah
- American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU)