Yesterday, the NC House passed SB 370, the "Respect
for Student Prayer/Religious Liberty" bill which doesn't really
do much but assure students of their right to pray—a right
they already had under the First Amendment.
The bill passed with a wild majority. Only 9 Democrats
voted against it. None of them could be reached on
Thursday as they were in a legislative session.
Some, like the ACLU are concerned that the bill will
create more problems than solutions. Sarah Preston, policy
director at the ACLU-NC said, "Some of this bill's unnecessary
and confusing language could wrongly encourage public school
personnel to take sides in student-led religious activity, making students
with different beliefs feel excluded or ostracized not only by their
classmates, but also by their teachers and schools."
The bill could create situations where those who may not want
to be subjected to unwanted prayer and proselytizing may feel
singled out and attacked. Teachers and administrators may not
know the bounds of their authority or the limits of what is protected
in such a situation. The bill could empower evangelical and religious
teachers to further feel comfortable vocalizing and manifesting their
Once passed, it will be interesting to see if SB370 is applied
fairly and equally to those of minority faiths in North Carolina, such
as Muslim students.