The first bill in the Florida House filed by Jacksonville Democrat and charismatic evangelist Kim Daniels turned out to be on a subject close to her heart: “religious expression.”
House Bill 303, the “Florida Student and School Personnel Religious Liberties Act,” would ban school districts “from discriminating against students, parents, & school personnel on basis of religious viewpoints or expression,” and would require a school district “to adopt limited public forum policy & deliver a disclaimer at school events.”
The bill would mandate that a school district not “discriminate” against a student, teacher, or employee “on the basis of a religious viewpoint or religious expression.”
The bill also equates “religious” and “secular” viewpoints in the academic space.
“A school district shall treat a student’s voluntary expression of a religious viewpoint on an otherwise permissible subject in the same manner that the school district treats a student’s voluntary expression of a secular viewpoint,” reads the Daniels bill.
Students may include religious content and themes in their coursework, the bill continues, and the student may not be penalized or rewarded for such content.
Students may also wear “clothing, accessories, and jewelry” that “displays a religious message,” potentially leaving the door open for all sorts of traditions outside the Judeo-Christian matrix.
Prayer groups and “religious gatherings” can be organized at any time a commensurate (and undefined) secular activity is permitted, including during the school day.
The bill also allows for a “limited public forum” at school events, at which religious expressions are to be allowed, and “vulgar” and other offensive speech is to be disallowed.