A former Ohio state Secretary of State and current National Rifle Association board member posted a meme on social media earlier this week, purporting that blame for mass shootings over the weekend in Dayton, Ohio, and El Paso, Texas, were caused by lack of prayer in schools, as well as “hearts without God.”
Ken Blackwell shared the meme on his Facebook page, which shows actor Clint Eastwood. Superimposed over the actor are the words, “The problem is not guns, it’s hearts without God, homes without discipline, schools without prayer, and courtrooms without justice.”
The meme also has an image of a skull logo with the Roman numeral “III” on it, a reference to the “Three Percenters” movement — a loose-knit organization of people who believe themselves to be “modern day versions” of colonial Revolutionaries who fight “against a tyrannical U.S. government rather than the British,” according to Anti-Defamation League.
Those who are Three Percenters are typically far-right in their political leanings, ardent supporters of the Second Amendment, and some members have issued threats of violence toward others who disagree with their viewpoints.
Blackwell himself is a board member of the National Rifle Association. He’s also a senior fellow at the Family Research Council, an anti-LGBTQ organization that is recognized as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center.
While administrators and teachers are forbidden from leading students in prayer within schools across the country, the idea that prayer in school is strictly forbidden is a bit of a misnomer — students are allowed to pray on their own, or even with other groups of students, The Washington Post has noted in the past.
Prayer on school grounds is still a thing that happens to this day. “In fact, contrary to culture-war mythology, there is more student religious speech and practice in public schools today than at any time in the past 100 years,” Charles Haynes, founding director of the Religious Freedom Center, wrote a few years ago.
[H/T Media Matters]
Featured image via screen grab/YouTube