Religious Liberty Bill Hopes to Change Public School Rules
A new front has opened in the ongoing "religious liberty" legislative battle, this time over religious expression in schools.
On Monday, State Rep. Kasey Carpenter, a Dalton Republican, filed House Bill 53 known as ‘The Student and Educator Faith Protection Act,’ the first religious liberty measure to be put forth during the 2019 state legislative session.
The bills aim is to allow public school students and teachers the freedom to express their religious beliefs in the school setting.
The legislation outlines guidelines for allowing prayer throughout the school day, religious memorabilia in classrooms, assignments that allow students to express their beliefs, and ceremonial prayer at school events.
The bill also mandates that teachers must remain neutral in their response to the personal religious ideologies of their students and ensure that no student be “rewarded or penalized on account of the religious content of their work.”
Gov. Brian Kemp ran his campaign backing religious freedom.
House Bill 757 was the last "religious liberty" measure to be voted on and was passed by the state legislature. Gov. Nathan Deal vetoed the bill, saying, “Our people work side by side without regard to the color of our skin or the religion we adhere to. We are working to make life better for our families and our communities. That is the character of Georgia. I intend to do my part to keep it that way."
Many large businesses, including Salesforce, Time Warner, Disney and Apple spoke out against HB 757 on the grounds of the economic, reputational and ethical issues they had with "religious liberty" legislation.