A proposed school prayer bill in the Louisiana Senate has drawn criticism from unexpected sources including Congressman Mike Johnson. The bill, SB 512 by State Sen. Ryan Gatti (R-Bossier City), was called “counterproductive to the cause of religious liberty.”
Johnson’s disapproval appeared on his official Facebook page that included a legal analysis conducted by him and three other Christian attorneys who specialize in religious freedom cases. They conclude that SB 512 would not survive a court challenge.
Johnson and the other attorneys say that the U.S. Supreme Court and other Federal courts have set a concrete precedent on the exercise of religious freedom. The attorneys state that courts do not allow school employees to participate in school prayer, even with parental permission.
Johnson and his fellow attorneys even state that this proposed legislation would even be counterproductive to the cause of religious liberty. “[I]t would risk creating a harmful court precedent that could be used by activists and atheist litigation groups to further attack and erode student rights to religious expression.” the letter said.
The letter points out that a negative court verdict would almost certainly award Louisiana tax dollars to the groups who would bring the lawsuit. Those are tax dollars that Louisiana does not have. Those tax dollars would be used to fund further secularist and atheist attacks on religious liberty.
Joining Johnson on the letter are Kim Colby of the Christian Legal Society, Mathew Staver of the Liberty Counsel, and Nate Kellum of the Center for Religious Expression. Johnson himself is the former Senior Legal Counsel for the Alliance Defending Freedom.
Why is Gatti bringing such a blatantly unconstitutional bill? Because Gatti is trying to give himself some otherwise non-existent conservative credentials.
Ryan Gatti’s record in the Louisiana Senate is something you would expect out of a populist Democrat. Constant support for higher spending, higher taxes, and increased regulations with an occasional bone thrown to social conservatives. White Democrats usually pretend to be pro-life, pro-gun, and pro-family and Gatti is no exception.
It also doesn’t help that Gatti is a stooge of John Bel Edwards and endorsed him in 2015 over David Vitter.
Now Gatti will come on The Hayride’s Facebook page, the comments section of this post, or maybe even on my personal Facebook page to tout his (non-existent) conservative credentials and explain how he loves teachers unions, children, puppies, and whatever else. But Louisianians are demanding real conservatism, not warmed over old school populism. Gatti just doesn’t deliver for conservatives and he should be replaced in 2019.