Republicans are scrambling to find any way to blame gun violence on something other than gun culture and the easy access killers have to weapons that can kill dozens of victims in minutes. Steve Scalise (R-LA), a victim of gun violence himself, is not above piling on with his own notions.
There are a lot of things the far-right has blamed for gun violence, including the existence of transgender individuals, video games and rap music, and of course, culture moving away from conservative Christian dominance.
Scalise joined the latter complaint, hinting that the real problem is that there are no longer coerced prayers in schools.
"We had AR-15s in the 1960s. We didn't have those mass school shootings … We actually had prayer in school during those days."
— House Minority Whip Steve Scalise (R-LA) pic.twitter.com/NndUf3D5xb
— The Recount (@therecount) June 8, 2022
“We had AR-15s in the 1960s. We didn’t have mass school shootings. I know it’s something some people don’t want to talk about but we actually had prayer in school during those days. We had other things going on in our society where we took a different approach to our young kids. Let’s look at that. These are tough conversations that we should be having that we’re not.”
Of course, prayer has never been forbidden in schools. However, the Supreme Court did rule that teachers and staff should not be leading prayers that students might feel obligated to join or participate in, thanks to the U.S. Constitution’s Establishment Clause, which does not allow a state religion, or for the government to show preference for one religion over other belief systems.
Scalise, as History documents, was one of five victims of a 2017 shooting, resulting in critical wounds requiring multiple surgeries and a long recovery time.
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Steph Bazzle reports on social issues and religion for Hill Reporter. She focuses on stories that speak to everyone's right to practice what they believe in and receive the support of their communities and government officials. You can reach her at Steph@HillReporter.com