House Bill 40 (HB 40) is a bill which would designate the last Wednesday in September as “a day of prayer for Kentucky’s students”. The Kentucky House voted 83-5 in support of this bill and it is now moving to Senate for its consideration.
Republican state representative, Regina Huff, who sponsored the bill, said that the bill respects everybody’s beliefs and that the bill is asking that Kentuckians spend the day praying, meditating or reflecting “in accordance to their own faith and consciences”. “Their event at school will be student-initiated and conducted, and always before the start of the school day,” Huff said.
But how can this bill respect everyone’s beliefs when the fastest growing “religion” in U.S. are people without religion? Religion “nones” (people who self-identify as atheists or agnostics, as well as those who say their religion is “nothing in particular”) now make up roughly 23% of the U.S. adult population, more concentrated among young adults. A rise in the share of “nones” has been seen across variety of ethnic and racial groups, among people with different education levels and income and throughout all major regions of the country.
With this type of data available it is logical to raise the question about the purpose of this bill. Religious students can already pray and meditate and reflect, and no one was stopping them, there was no need to pass the bill in order to allow students to practice their religion. Yet Huff claims this will be useful for religious students because now they’ll know their legislators support them, too. “Given all that our students are facing … Our students need to know that we are standing with them,” she said.
She is right, the students, both religious and “nones”, need to know their representatives support them, but not with useless bills. This type of bills won’t help anybody and probably won’t hurt anybody either, but legislators and representatives should put their effort into something useful.
There were also some examples of no religious effectiveness in bills in Alabama and Florida. In Alabama, the Alabama Senate approved a bill that would authorize a state referendum on whether to allow the display of the Ten Commandments on public property and public schools, and the Florida House approved a bill to post “In God We Trust” in a conspicuous place in all public schools. Meanwhile, the Kentucky Senate is considering a bill to put guns in teachers’ hands.
This type of actions makes us wonder what could people hope for from their elected officials.
Photo Credits: Gray TV