How much stupid can come out of one candidate? I don't know -- but my state's governor is rapidly dropping below Michelle Bachmann in my esteem. Much further and he'll be hovering down with Ron Paul and Barack Obama.
Now in this video clip, Chris Wallace makes the same sort of ill-informed statement about prayer in schools that Rick Perry's television commercial in Iowa made. That error may be common among those uninformed about the Supreme Court's First Amendment jurisprudence, but a top-flight television journalist should not be making it -- and anyone seeking to be President of the United States, and therefore having the authority to appoint judges to the Supreme Court and the lower federal courts, should definitely not be making his error.
“It’s not the Supreme Court’s business telling Americans when and how they should pray.”
The thing is, though, that students are not forbidden to pray in school -- and certainly not by Supreme Court edict. What is forbidden is the school actually sanctioning the prayers and taking time out of the academic schedule to impose prayer upon students. Nothing in any Supreme Court decision prevents a student from voluntarily praying during the school day, or from forming an religious student group.
And speaking as a teacher, I like the status quo just fine. The government has no business prescribing religious observances.
And consider the issues that may arise.
Just imagine the possibilities. If you are a Christian in Dearborn, Michigan, you would get to participate in daily Quran readings to satisfy the Muslim majority in the school. All the little Protestant kids may find themselves required to say a Hal Mary every morning in the Catholic majority school. And I know plenty of atheist teachers who would find themselves unable to lead a prayer in their classrooms -- and who would refuse to feign reverence as a condition of continued employment.
In other words, Rick Perry has made a proposal that is antithetical to the religious liberty of millions of Americans -- including the school kids he ostensibly is protecting. And the only word that I think fits such a proposal is "unAmerican" -- and as a result I do not believe any true conservative who believes in the values found in the Constitution can possibly support either Perry or his proposed amendment.
UPDATE -- A fine -- and much more detailed -- post by Doug Mataconis on why Perry is dead wrong on this one.