Home Feature Minnesota Republicans offer Student Religious Liberties Act

Minnesota Republicans offer Student Religious Liberties Act

Minnesota Republicans offer Student Religious Liberties Act

churchandstateMinnesota House Republicans offered a bill (HF1771) this week that would allow public school students to wear religious themed clothing, lead prayer before, during and after school, organize religious groups, and allow students to use any public forum at extracurricular events such as graduation to preach religious messaging. The bill is identical to one that became law in Mississippi earlier this year.

The bill states:

A public school district shall not discriminate against students or parents on the basis of a religious viewpoint or religious expression. A school district shall treat a student’s voluntary expression of a religious viewpoint, if any, on an otherwise permissible subject in the same manner the district treats a student’s voluntary expression of a secular or other viewpoint on an otherwise permissible subject and may not discriminate against the student based on a religious viewpoint expressed by the student on an otherwise permissible subject.


Students in public schools may wear clothing, accessories, and jewelry that display religious messages or religious symbols in the same manner and to the same extent that other types of clothing, accessories, and jewelry that display messages or symbols are permitted.

The bill also requires schools to set up a “limited public forum” at school events such as sports events and graduation ceremonies for students to conduct religious activities.

Despite the insinuation made by the bill, students currently have a constitutional right to pray in school.

The bill comes as the Minnesota Legislature debates an anti-bullying bill that anti-gay activists say is an attempt to foist the homosexual agenda into schools.

Katherine Kersten, a fellow at the conservative Center for the American Experiment noted, “H.F. 826’s over-reaching nature makes clear that its goal goes beyond stopping bad behavior. It would use the machinery of state education to compel children to adopt politically correct attitudes on subjects like sexuality, “gender identity” and alternative family structures.”

The Roman Catholic Church in Minnesota is also organizing opposition to the anti-bullying bill for fear it will impinge on church teachings:

The proposed law singles out certain “protected classes” of students—including sexual orientation and “gender identity and expression”—for special attention and favored treatment. In fact, some victims of bullying may receive no special protection from the legislation.

It also undermines traditional social and ethical norms (e.g. the beliefs of Catholics) related to gender and sexuality, infringing upon the rights of parents as first educators of their children.

In debates in other states, religious freedom has been used to kill LGBT inclusive anti-bullying measures.

The bill was introduced by: Duane Quam of Byron; Debra Kiel of Crookston; Kelby Woodard of Belle Plaine; Anna Wills of Apple Valley; Rod Hamilton of Mountain Lake; John Petersburg of Waseca; Glenn Gruenhagen of Glencoe; Joyce Peppin of Rogers; Sondra Erickson of Princeton; Mary Liz Holberg of Lakeville; Mark Uglem of Champlin; Mike Benson of Rochester; Marion O’Neill of Buffalo; Cindy Pugh of Chanhassan; Peggy Scott of Andover; Ernie Leidiger of Mayer; Steve Drazkowski of Mazeppa; Linda Runbeck of Circle Pines; Jim Abeler of Anoka; Kathy Lohmer of Stillwater; Bob Dettmer of Forest Lake; Jim Newberger of Becker; and Mary Franson of Alexandria.


  1. Can we please just do away with this false equivilency. Beliefs are just that, "beliefs", a thought in someone's head and they should not trump the rights a living, breathing, human being.This whole "you're existence is againt my religion, therefore I'm justified in my maltreatment of you" is CRAP! This same group who demands that government advance their religious beliefs (in direct violation of the Constitution) are also frequently at the center of protests when people of other faiths attempt to exercise "their first amendment rights", remember the NYC Mosque? This is a game of tit-for-tat and until their are called out for what they are told in no uncertain terms "Government will not advance, prefer or prevent you from praticing your faith, but bigotry is not a protected belief" they will keep on pushing. Being gay is NOT illegal, the advance of religion BY government is. Ugh!

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