In a speech to students on Tuesday, Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant said he fondly remembers organized prayers during his school years and thinks the practice ought to be restored.
According to the Hattiesburg American, Bryant said, “I don’t think it hurt us at all. I think it built our character, and I think it is what we should continue to do.”
Talking to reporters after the address, the governor added, “I know it’s difficult when you start talking about denominations and different beliefs, but I think there is a way for us to have a non-denominational opening prayer when the opportunity is available to let people know there is a God. Those children should know that he does care about them, particularly within their classroom.”
Let’s go over just a few of the things his statement implies:
1. A god exists.
2. It is the only god there is.
3. It is named “God”.
4. It can be described as a “he”.
5. He takes a personal interest in the world, people, and especially classrooms.
The only way such tenets of faith could possibly be described as “non-denominational” is if all of these beliefs are inherently a part of all religions, and every single person follows a religion which shares these views. This is not the case. Not everyone believes in a god. Those who do may not believe it is a “he”. They may not believe in only one deity. They may not believe that god(s) concern themselves with the world at all. They may not pray in the same way or believe that prayer is even necessary.
I am frightened that someone could be elected governor in this country while seemingly lacking the most rudimentary critical thinking skills or any concept of the existence of religions outside of their preferred version of Christianity. None of this should be difficult to comprehend.