I came across this article about the failure to repeal the Moment of Silence law. This law provides students with a minute of silence before the first class of the day. They can use it in whatever way they wish. Rob Sherman, a liberal activist and atheist located in Buffalo Grove, Illinois, sued to have the law repealed and the repeal failed this week.
I asked the boys if they had the moment of silence. Honestly, it’s been awhile since the law went into effect and the initial uproar was forgotten. I was surprised to hear that all three boys–two in high school and one in middle school–have the moment of silence. It is sandwiched between announcements and the Pledge of Allegiance. According to them, no one has explained what the moment of silence is for except, “quiet reflection.”
I have no issue with the moment of silence. No one is encouraging them to pray in any certain way; they are not being taught religion of any kind. If the people in charge of education in the state of Illinois believe this minute is beneficial to students, let them have it.
“Quiet reflection” can encompass a huge range of things. I could whip out the Our Father, Hail Mary, and the Prayer to the Holy Trinity in a minute during my Catholic school hey day. (I still know the Our Father and the Hail Mary, but had to look up the Prayer to the Holy Trinity here. I think I knew it as the Glory Be.) But I’m certain my high school days were filled with anything but prayer when I wasn’t actually in mass or doing a classroom prayer. My mind flitted from the cute boy sitting next to me to what I was doing Friday to making sure my hair was still cool.
I don’t think high school students today are any different. When I asked the boys what they do during the moment of silence (they know no prayers), they all shrugged and said nothing. I’m sure their minds aren’t blank; their minds are probably a lot like mine in high school.
I wonder what the purpose of the law is, actually. If you are a religious or spiritual person, your entire day is filled with prayer of some sort already. I might not recite the prayers of childhood all the time now, but I do give thanks for the things I encounter throughout my day: an early robin, a great flower, a beautiful sunset, my gorgeous sons, my gorgeous husband. I don’t limit myself to a single minute of quiet reflection and I don’t guess that the more evolved high school students don’t either. Heck, I bet even the lesser evolved students pray when a hard test is presented to them!
I don’t have a problem with the law. But I do have a problem that my state’s legislature felt it had to spend valuable law-making time putting this into effect. Honestly, in my cash-strapped state wasn’t there something of greater value? Would laws encouraging new industry in the state be more responsible?
Sure, it’s nice that we have a Moment of Silence built into every child’s day when they attend a public school. But children who needed those moments of silence were probably getting one by themselves. Children know what they need and how to get it. They don’t need politicians telling them when to do it.
Go ahead, take your single moment of silence right now. I’m timing you…