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School Prayer Bill Passes First Test at State Capitiol

7:38 PM, Nov 3, 2011   |    comments
Sen. Gary Siplin offers a school prayer bill at the state Capitol. For those who argue there's no place for religion in school settings, Siplin simply says, "They're wrong."
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  • FILED UNDER Tallahassee, Fla. -- A school prayer bill is back before state lawmakers for the third year and the sponsor thinks this time it will pass the legislature.

Sen. Gary Siplin thinks students should be able to choose a so-called inspirational message for extracurricular school events, such as football games or commencement ceremonies.

His bill would allow school boards to decide whether students should have that ability. It prohibits teachers and other school leaders from participating in the selection of a message or prayer.

Opponents say the legislation would violate the constitutional separation of church and state and lead to lawsuits.

But for those who argue there is no place for religion in school settings, Sen. Siplin simply says "they're wrong."

"We pray in the Florida Senate and a variety of different people's prayers. So if we can pray in the Florida Senate, we are part of government, and our constitution is 'In God We Trust,' so why can't we teach our young folks how to deal with different concepts, different invocations and benedictions."

The bill passed its first test at the state Capitol on Wednesday as a Senate committee approved it on a 4 to 1 vote.

The legislation never made it to the floor of the House or Senate earlier this year. Siplin, a Democrat, is hoping some of his more conservative Republican colleagues will help push his bill forward this time.

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