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There’s no reason whatsoever for a public school board to issue a proclamation honoring prayer. Not only did the Miami-Dade Public Schools board make that mistake, they couldn’t even pull it off without giving away the underlying Christian nationalist agenda at the heart of these kinds of shenanigans.

Last week, board member Christi Fraga offered a resolution declaring May 5 the “National Day of Prayer.” Why would a school board do something that normally reserved for politicians (and, even then, is nothing more than pandering to a Christian base)? Because this is Florida. There’s no shortage of elected officials who are more interested in advancing right-wing Christianity than helping students.

That’s not how Fraga justified it, of course. She implied that this was about everyone. That’s why the resolution doesn’t mention Christianity by name. It merely “calls on all people of different faiths in the United States to pray for the nation, and its leaders.”

Fraga said her measure made no changes to classroom or district policies, she told the Herald Thursday. Rather, she wanted to unite people of all faiths and encourage those who want to get together and pray to do so.

Nothing like a school board member calling on Muslims, atheists, and Jews to unite under the Christian God.

And make no mistake: Conservative Christian groups were well aware this resolution was all about them, as noted by the Miami Herald:

Dozens of parents and community organizations like the Christian Family Coalition, which says on its website that its mission is “To Empower Families At The Grassroots Level to Give Them A Voice In Their Government Again!” spoke at Wednesday’s board meeting. Most were in favor of the measure, with some saying it was their right — and their children’s right — to pray in school. Some evoked the Constitution; one claimed that religion in this country was under attack.

Most who spoke espoused the Christian faith.

The non-Christian critics (and perhaps some Christian ones too) noted that it’s already everyone’s right to pray in school. That was never taken away. No one’s even challenging that. The idea that Christians are being persecuted in the U.S. is a myth fueled by right-wing pastors and Republican politicians who know they’re speaking to an audience that doesn’t know any better and who’ll believe anything they’re told.

All that said, the resolution itself wasn’t illegal. It wasn’t calling for school officials to violate the law. It was more like a symbolic resolution promoting the lie that we live in a “Christian nation.” It’s annoying, but it’s not like any lawsuit would’ve been filed over this thing. No wonder the resolution passed unanimously, 9-0.

But another school board member accidentally gave away the game.

Lubby Navarro, who initially came onto the board in 2015 after being appointed by then-Governor Rick Scott, gave a nearly 10-minute-long sermon about how prayer got her daughter out of a coma (implying that doctors and medicine did jack shit to help her), before urging other young people to follow her daughter’s lead, pray instead of getting actual help, and bowing down to Jesus Christ no matter what.

Young people, “If you’re going through a crisis, take a moment to pray and ask God to help you, instead of saying ‘go home’ or instead of saying, ‘Let’s send you to your counselor.’

And in her final comments, Navarro said she hopes recognizing a day of prayer will “send a message to our community that we have one creator, one creator, and that is God and Jesus Christ.”

Got that kids? If you’re struggling, don’t seek out professional help. Just remember that all people (are you listening, non-Christians?) are united under Jesus Christ.

It’s just utterly irresponsible behavior from someone who’s more interested in spreading her Catholicism than doing what’s in the best interest of all the students. She’d rather feed kids Christian lies than creating an all-inclusive environment where professionals, rather than her personal brand of mythology, can provide the help those kids might need, and where kids are told to seek out those professionals when they need help in the future.

Nothing she said in those nearly 10 minutes belong anywhere in a school board meeting. Anyone who thinks otherwise doesn’t belong on a school board.

But at least she told the truth while her colleagues pretended like this resolution wasn’t really about advancing Christianity.

Vice Chair Steve Gallon III later said “I personally as a board member apologize” for certain comments made during the meeting… though he couldn’t be bothered to call Navarro out by name, which made his mild criticism even less useful to anyone.

As one local Muslim leader noted, it’s not like this is anything new for non-Christians in the community.

He did note, however, that in December Miami-Dade Schools rejected an effort to have Eid, which marks the end of Ramadan and is one of the holiest days in the Islamic calendar, recognized as a holiday in the 2022-23 school year calendar. “The issue we have with the school system is that they recognize Christmas and Jewish holidays, but don’t give the same recognition to Muslim holidays,” he said.

Navarro knew what she was doing. She knew what the resolution was really about. And it’s pathetic that every other school board member went along with it without openly and explicitly denouncing the idea that this was about Christianity and Jesus Christ.

No one said that because the implication was clear to the conservative Christians in the crowd. None of the board members had the courage to remind those Christians they’re not special in that room.

On a side note, Navarro calls herself “Dr.” on the school board’s website. It also appears on the school board’s official video of the meeting, as you can see from the image at the top of this article. She does not have an earned doctorate or a medical degree, which would entitle her to use that honorific. Instead, she received an honorary doctorate from the Catholic University of New Spain, a school you’ve never heard of because it’s “located on a single floor of an office building in downtown Miami.” She’s also anti-mask and anti-trans. No wonder conservatives aren’t calling her out on the lie.

Hemant Mehta is the founder of FriendlyAtheist.com, a YouTube creator, podcast co-host, and author of multiple books about atheism. He can be reached at @HemantMehta.