The battle in Illinois over “moments of silence” (i.e. universal mandatory attendance at prayer time) has been heating up lately. I wrote an article about how ridiculous I found the whole theory behind moments of silence not long ago, but Rob Sherman, the initiator of the current lawsuit, says it more concisely and coherently:
What this lawsuit is all about is restoring a proper balance between the rights of children who wish to pray and those who do not wish to pray. Before this law was passed, children who wished to pray could do so any time that they wanted, including during class, and those who wished to not pray could receive an education during instructional time paid for by the taxpayers. The School Prayer Law preserves the rights of children to pray, but for children who do not wish to pray, this law cancels their right to receive an education during part of their instructional time. I am seeking to restore the rights of children who don’t pray to be educated during class time while preserving the right of children who do pray to pray any time they want.
Now, admittedly, fighting over a single extra minute of time is going to seem a little silly no matter what side of this you are on. This is, of course, mostly all about symbolism: who has the power to boss who around, and who doesn’t. It’s a bit childish to play the “he started it!” game… but come on: they did start it, and as Sherman so eloquently argues, what opponents want here is not to get back at believers, but rather to get back to the impartiality and openness of the former status quo.