Buttars’ Bill on Freedom of Religious Expression

I think it’s time for another round of Beavers and Buttars, only on a different topic.

This year, Utah Senator Chris Buttars (R-West Jordan) is introducing legislation (SB111)that would permit individuals to express religious messages on public property while still prohibiting government entities from imposing religious concepts.
Today’s Deseret News describes Buttars’ bill where Buttars is quoted as stating that it would be o.k., for example, for a student to walk into school with a religious message on a t-shirt.

Buttars said his bill would apply to a student wearing a T-shirt with a religious message to school or a group singing a Christmas hymn in a public park — but not a government entity that wants to put up a Nativity scene. High school students would be able to choose to pray at their graduation, he said, but the school couldn’t make that part of the event.
“That’s the separation of church and state I believe in,” the senator said. “That government officials can’t impose religion on individuals, but individuals have the right to express closely held religious beliefs on public property.”

Buttars said he introduced the bill after a student was sent home with an LDS message on a t-shirt and feels that students should be able to express their religious beliefs.

Well, then, let’s consider these scenarios:
A student from an LDS family has a t-shirt with: “CTR”
Another student from an atheist family has a t-shirt with “There is no God”
And another student from a Catholic church has a t-shirt with “Homosexuality is a sin”.
Yet another student from a Church of the Creator family has a t-shirt with “Kill All Blacks”

Under Buttars’ bill, all of the above would be permissible.

While I feel that students have the right to bring their bibles with them, pray to themselves in school, etc., the line gets drawn when messages are blatantly displayed, interrupting the learning process and making others feel uncomfortable as well.

This is a bill that is an unnecessary piece of legislation – something Buttars is good at doing.

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