Hemant over at Friendly Atheist has the scoop: after last November’s court injunction against the law, Illinois legislators are now backing down from their stance requiring mandatory statewide moments of silence. The new bill also essentially strips out all mention of prayer and religious need, although it retains the for “such silent reflection as may be desired by each individual pupil” bit. Hemant calls this a “step in the right direction,” and he’s right, but this last phrase still implies the exact same confused reasoning I’ve always objected to in these measures.
Namely, if an individual pupil desires a time of silent reflection, why does he/she require any special accommodation at all? Nothing is stopping them from having a time of silent reflection (or a really loud reflection if they desire!) prior to and outside of class time. They can do it with any group of people they desire (as in the See You At the (Flag)pole events), as long as they want, as religiously as they want. The point is that the state has no reason and no business to be granting people special rights and accommodations that they can already have without involving other non-interested people. The point is that students have no need of government aid or direction to observe silent, or any other kind, of reflection. So why is the government purporting to play a role in this at all?
In any case, the remnants of this sort of foolishness left in the bill aren’t worth getting worked up over, but it never ceases to amaze me how people can be so blind to their own religious freedoms that instead of just exercising them, they petition the government to help them exercise them, or even more absurdly (as in the original prayer in schools cases): to order citizens to help observe them.