GOP state lawmaker aims to put 'Lord's Prayer' back 'in every public school'

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Mississippi state Rep. Jill Ford claims doing so would cause grades to rise and depression and suicide rates to drop.

A first-term state lawmaker in Mississippi filed her first piece of legislation this week and hopes it will eventually result in 'every public school' in the state beginning each morning with The Lord's Prayer.

State Rep. Jill Ford (R) claimed "the Lord planted" the idea in her heart years ago. In a Facebook post, she asked supporters to "imagine what would begin to happen in the Spiritual Realm if the children would stand before Him lifting their heads in prayer asking Him to 'lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil'."

"[O]h how we would see the atmosphere begin to change across Mississippi as depression and suicide would stop becoming the norm, we would watch as our children’s grades begin to rise, their hearts softened and their minds saturated with good thoughts and not thoughts of addictions," Ford claimed.

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For many years, some schools in the United States began their days with recitations of a version the Christian prayer. A landmark 1963 Supreme Court ruling (School District of Abington Township, Pennsylvania v. Schempp) determined this to be unconstitutional under the First Amendment.

"The place of religion in our society is an exalted one, achieved through a long tradition of reliance on the home, the church and the inviolable citadel of the individual heart and mind. We have come to recognize through bitter experience that it is not within the power of government to invade that citadel, whether its purpose or effect be to aid or oppose, to advance or retard," the Court's majority explained. "In the relationship between man and religion, the State is firmly committed to a position of neutrality."

Ford's bill aims to work around this by proposing Congress call a constitutional convention "for the sole purpose of proposing an amendment" to allow school prayer.

In her statement, she called the person who led the push to get mandatory prayer out of public schools in the 1960s "one hell-bent woman," and said she hoped "this heaven-bent woman" could undo her work.

Ford's 2019 campaign website noted that while she "understands the importance of finding common ground, even among those with whom she doesn't agree," her legislative decisions "will be by faith and conviction, and will be committed to protecting our Christian values." She also promised to "fiercely advocate for our constitution and our freedoms."

Ford did not immediately respond to an inquiry about which Christian denomination's version of the Lord's Prayer would be used and what message such any daily prayer requirement would send to the roughly 17% of Mississippians who are not Christian.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.