Speaking out against silence law

Being an atheist, and an active one on campus at that, I have been narrowing down on every bit of information concerning the recent ‘Moment of Silence’ legislation. It is almost painful for me to read about it anymore because I am so utterly appalled by these events. When my family moved to Illinois about two years ago, I was excited because I knew my liberal ideas were far more fitting for this progressive state where even a Green Party candidate for governor can have a double-digit showing. But sadly, religious agenda has even found me here. I would expect this kind of thing where I came from, Missouri, or in Kansas where the ‘debate’ on intelligent design in schools has made national news. But Illinois as a leader in fulfilling the Christian dream society? I thought it quite unlikely.

Even more unbelievable than the location and reason behind this law, is the conceptual absurdity of it. I am sure nowhere in the Illinois Constitution the Legislature is given the power to affect the personal state of a person. It effectually forces students to waste their time, sitting in silence. This led me to wonder, could this time not be better spent possibly knitting mittens for the homeless or writing Amnesty International Urgent Action letters, two things that have actually been proven to show results – unlike silently sitting in one’s seat thinking, possibly participating in this concept called ‘prayer.’

Besides this, our legislators should maybe rethink the way they are spending their time. The opposition has been immense, with everything from Facebook groups to extremely costly legal battles. Is it really best the Legislature expend its efforts and our tax money on implementation of this when it took weeks to decide on a budget, something the constituents actually needed?

Ashley Carter

Sophomore in LAS