More Information about Louisiana SB 512

SB 512 states that teachers may pray with their students provided that the students bring written permission from their parent. There are several disastrous problems with this bill. First, parents cannot sign away their child’s right of conscience to a secular public school system. Students have a religious liberty right not to be proselytized to by their teachers or coaches.

Second, imagine a teacher calling for students to turn in their permission slips to participate in Christian prayer, and the one Jewish student in the class who has to explain that their parents refused to sign such a permission slip. The student would be forced to declare that he or she is a religious outsider, a stigma that would be reinforced every time the child is asked to leave the room while the rest of the class prays with the teacher. This is precisely the type of alienation in our public schools the First Amendment is meant to protect against.

Even far-right Christian “religious liberty” law firms, who stand opposed to FFRF and state-church separation on so many issues, have openly warned that this bill “directly contradicts U.S. Supreme Court and lower court precedent on the issue” and that “there is zero chance SB 512 would survive an inevitable court challenge.” This rare show of candor underscores just how outrageous this bill is, but it may not be enough to defeat the bill. This is why we’re asking for your help.

Freedom From Religion Foundation