01/02/2014 01:29 pm ET Updated Jan 23, 2014

South Carolina Democrats Back School Prayer Bill

A group of South Carolina lawmakers have renewed a push to allow students to pray in public schools.

The measure, originally introduced last spring, would require schools to provide a moment of silence each day, during which teachers would be allowed to lead students in prayer. Under the legislation, students who do not wish to participate in prayer would be allowed to leave the classroom.

As Raw Story points out, a majority of the law's sponsors are Democrats in the state's House of Representatives.

While the bill was initially introduced in February by Democratic Reps. Wendell Gilliard, Robert Williams, Joseph Jefferson, Carl Anderson, Bill Clyburn, Lonnie Hosey, Robert Ridgeway III and Republican Reps. Liston Barfield, Heather Ammons Crawford and Don Wells, the measure has since stalled in the state House's judiciary committee.

The Supreme Court has ruled that the First Amendment protects students' rights to voluntarily pray in public schools; however, prayer must not be sponsored by the school under the criteria that statutes dealing with religion must not result in an "excessive government entanglement" with religion.

According to Gilliard, the lawmakers hope to work around this by compromising on whether the teachers lead the prayer, telling WCIV that students may "pray to whomever they want to."

"The essential part of the bill, the important part, is putting prayer back in school," Gilliard said. "There would be no noise, no disruption, no anything."

(h/t Raw Story)



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