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Noem Uses Public Resources to Promote Gucci, Hooch… and Christianity in Public School

I think Kristi Noem is transferring her rage. Worried that she can’t keep Sherry Bren quiet, she’s now ordering everyone in South Dakota’s schools to shut up.

Yesterday South Dakota’s part-time Governor posted draft legislation to require a moment of silence every day in South Dakota’s public schools. Strangely, instead of posting the actual school prayer bill to the state website, Noem continues to use some private service called WeTransfer.com to share documents. When I click on the link on the Governor’s announcement that says “You can read the legislation here,” the first thing I see is a Gucci ad that says “#ForeverGuilty”:

Ah, so Kristi herself is going to speak to GOAC today about the nepotism scandal?
Ah, so Kristi herself is going to speak to GOAC today about the nepotism scandal? WeTransfer.com ad for Gucci, linked from Governor Noem’s prayer-in-schools announcement on state website, retrieved, 2021.12.14.

The Governor’s link also brings up ads for Tommy Hilfiger and Dalmore scotch whisky:

WeTransfer.com ad for Tommy Hilfiger, linked from Governor Noem's prayer-in-schools announcement on state website, retrieved, 2021.12.14.
WeTransfer.com ad for Tommy Hilfiger, linked from Governor Noem’s prayer-in-schools announcement on state website, retrieved, 2021.12.14.
WeTransfer.com ad for Dalmore whisky, linked from Governor Noem's prayer-in-schools announcement on state website, retrieved, 2021.12.14.
WeTransfer.com ad for Dalmore whisky, linked from Governor Noem’s prayer-in-schools announcement on state website, retrieved, 2021.12.14.

Hmmm… so I guess this announcement is less about a moment of silence and more about a moment of advertising?

If we can get past the fact that the Governor is using a state website to promote commercial products (what, no Goya Beans?), let’s push the blue button, accept the download, and post a copy of Noem’s bill here so we can skip all of her ads until LRC gets a copy up on its 2022 Session Bills webpag:

Noem school prayer bill, draft posted to WeTransfer.com, retrieved 2021.12.14.
Noem school prayer bill, draft posted to WeTransfer.com, retrieved 2021.12.14.

Noem starts with a section of complete fluffery, making her school prayer bill masquerade as an effort to “set a tone of decorum that will be conducive to learning.” Yes, because throughout her public career, Noem has demonstrated her expertise in decorum and learning.

Section 2 gives us the meat of the mandate: Governor Noem would order every school district to “provide” a “moment of silence” up to one minute long. Noem expects students and teachers to participate in this moment of silence. The first activity the bill recommends is “voluntary prayer”; as usual, Noem puts non-religious activities like “reflection, meditation, or other quiet, respectful activity” second.

However, Noem’s mandate is muddy. “No school employee may dictate the action to be taken during the moment of silence,” reads the draft. As a teacher, I would read that to mean that I cannot tell kids to pray or not to pray during the moment. Nor by that language can I actually dictate that they be silent. For up to a whole minute, the law prevents me from dictating and hence from prohibiting any activity during the moment of silence: Ibrahim could hit the floor and pray noisily to Mecca, Gooney McBuckshot’s kids could start speaking in tongues, and Ferris and Sloane could slip out to make out in the hall.

Section 3 appears to be legal CYA suggested by Noem’s crack lawyers. But her pretense that this government mandate is not to be construed as a “religious exercise” is belied by her eager public statement that she is bringing prayer back to school:

Today, Governor Kristi Noem released the text of legislation to restore protections for prayer in schools. This bill will guarantee an opportunity to pray in schools at the start of every school day.

“Every student deserves the opportunity to begin their day with a calm, silent moment,” said Governor Kristi Noem. “I hope students will take this opportunity to say a quick prayer or reflect on their upcoming day. However they choose to take advantage of this time, it will be beneficial to students and teachers alike.”

Governor Noem previewed this legislation earlier this year when she promised to put prayer back in South Dakota schools [Governor Kristi Noem, press release: “Gov. Noem Announces Bill to Restore Protections for Prayer in Schools,” 2021.12.13].

Noem harkens here to the “big push” she falsely claimed to be making last summer when she told a conservative Christian political activist group that she was “putting prayer back in our schools.” Noem’s own words and their context make clear her “moment of silence” seeks to promote her particular religion, meaning any court not co-opted by Trumpists will throw it out immediately as an establishment of religion on the public dime.

Kristi, if we want your god, or any other god, we’ll find it on our own. We don’t need you ordering the public schools to promote your religion. And we certainly don’t need you telling kids and teachers to shut up every day.

36 Comments

  1. Vi Kingman 2021-12-14

    What a load of crap (sorry).
    Noem talks about small government but she wants government to tells schools to have kids and teachers pray, she wants government to tell schools and teachers what to teach and what not to teach and she wants government to tell women what they can do with their body.
    Doesn’t seem small to me.
    I’m guessing that the ACLU will take this to court and it’ll get thrown out, but Noem doesn’t care as long as her base sees it.
    What can’t people what a phony Noem is? then again they can’t see what kind of person Trump is.

  2. O 2021-12-14

    Today I read that atheists have the highest rates of COVID vaccination — evangelical christians have the lowest. Atheists have the lowest incarceration rates. Following the data, pushing christianity seems to be bad public policy.

    Vi, I believe the old adage is that the GOP wants small government — just big enough to fit in our bedrooms.

  3. mike from iowa 2021-12-14

    moment noun
    Save Word
    To save this word, you’ll need to log in.

    From Merriam Webster….
    mo·​ment | \ ˈmō-mənt \
    Definition of moment
    1a: a minute portion or point of time : INSTANT
    a moment of dreadful suspense
    — Graham Greene
    b: a comparatively brief period of time
    moments of solitude

    Noem and the Duhkota lege are full of more s#it than a kristmuss turkey. They can’t possibly know kids and teachers do better with a moment of silence before school starts. Maybe the kids and teachers ARe planning a 1-6 type insurrection against Duhkota magats on M-16.

  4. Donald Pay 2021-12-14

    If Noem is not encouraging Christian worship, as she states in the bill, then she is leaving that void of silence for the Devil to fill, and, believe me, Beelzebub will fill that moment of silence in a nanosecond with fart-like noises made by little boys. Girls will giggle about some dirty joke that her friend told a few seconds before the silence begins. This is what happened when I was at Patrick Henry Junior High (yes, I’m that old), back in my time of being a jackass teenager in Sioux Falls.

    Yeah, good old Patrick Henry, the school, would ring some chimes at the start of every lunch period, and we were supposed to be silent. Some did pray, but there was always the usual twittering and most of the time someone would make a rude noise. Under our breath we would utter a mock prayer. “Please, Jesus, let’s eat, already.” Do you really want something as important as prayer is to some people to be contaminated with fart noises? Anyone can pray in school at any time, uncontaminated by some boy trying to figure out how to use his armpit to make a toot. Believe me, such moments of silence are the playground of the Devil. And, I suspect, that’s why they eventually were ended at Patrick Henry.

    Moments of silence are fine if there is a point of focus for them. That’s why most such efforts start with someone saying, “Let’s observe a moment of silence for …..” Generally, this is for some poor folks who have just had a tornado crush their community. If you don’t have a focus, boys are going to be thinking about breasts. I wasn’t a girl, so I don’t know what they think about.

    I suppose you can groom little kids do anything, but eventually, around firth grade, they start rebelling. Aside from that, the bill is full of loopholes. The statement that “no student may interfere with another students moment of silence,” is just not facing up to reality. What does “interfering” mean? Does fake farting count? How about real farting? For that matter, what is “a moment?” Would a nanosecond suffice? Would three hours be enough?

    The truth is any student can pray or have a moment of silence already on their own. This legislation is not needed.

  5. jerry 2021-12-14

    Rastas unite, High schoolers will be able to convert to Rastafari in order to deal with NOem’s new order. Well done NOem, well done. Take that moment of silence and use that one hitter, draw in and hold it.

    “Rastafari, also known as the Rastafari movement or Rastafarianism, is a religion that developed in Jamaica during the 1930s. It is classified as both a new religious movement and a social movement by scholars of religion. There is no central authority in control of the movement and much diversity exists among practitioners, who are known as Rastafari, Rastafarians, or Rastas.”

  6. mike from iowa 2021-12-14

    Wait until prayer rugs come out and students face Mecca. magat heads will explode, but they will not blame themselves.

    SPOTUS is looking to allow Mass or some other New England state to use taxpayer funds for religious and private schools..

  7. WillyNilly 2021-12-14

    Wonder what a bunch of youngsters beginning to think for themselves and exploring their powers might do with a full minute of silence ordered by the legislature?

  8. Eve Fisher 2021-12-14

    Someone needs to remind the Governor that you can legally pray anywhere you want – schools, restaurants, theaters, gun shows, speedways – you can even make it a performance art piece, if you want, to focus all the attention on yourself. What you CANNOT do, according to the Constitution, is require everyone else to join in your prayer and your prayer only.
    Meanwhile, there’s always been prayer in schools – especially before exams.

  9. jerry 2021-12-14

    Traitor Mike Flynn says that he wants only 1 religion for the US. I vote for the Rastas! Booyah!

  10. bearcreekbat 2021-12-14

    Whoever drafted this bill left out four key words at the end of section 3: “nod, nod, wink, wink.”

  11. DaveFN 2021-12-14

    NOEM A FALSE PROPHET: DENIES DICTUM OF CHRIST BY TAKING PRAYER OUT OF THE CLOSET AND BRINGING IT INTO PUBLIC

    Matthew 6:1-34 ESV
    “Beware of practicing your righteousness before other people in order to be seen by them, for then you will have no reward from your Father who is in heaven. “Thus, when you give to the needy, sound no trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may be praised by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you. “And when you pray, you must not be like the hypocrites. For they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, that they may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. …”

    :-)

  12. Donald Pay 2021-12-14

    There is something to be said for getting kids, especially elementary school kids, settled down before digging into the meat of learning. Generally these kids are coming in from pre-school routines before the morning bell that can be pretty hectic and noisy. A short interlude of putting that in the rear view mirror in order to switch to learning time is something that elementary teachers do almost automatically. I’m not so sure why it has to be a government-mandated moment of silence, though. It seems Noem’s penchant for violating people’s liberty is about the only thing transparent in her administration. Teachers have a number of tricks to get students focused as they come into the classroom in the morning. Sometimes it’s standing up to stretch. I had a teacher who read a short poem or humorous passage before digging into math or science or reading. Sometimes teachers like to ease kids into the day by foreshadowing what they would be learning and doing that day. In my high school days, we had morning home room where roll call was done and announcements were made over the intercom. To me, Noem’s state mandated minute takes away from the teachers’ and schools’ ability to use their own personality and traditions to ease into the school day.

  13. Donald Pay 2021-12-14

    Thanks, DaveFN. I’m an atheist, but I do love Jesus. Also, I love Amos, where God speaks to people like Noem:

    21 “I hate your show and pretense—your hypocrisy of ‘honoring’ me with your religious feasts and solemn assemblies. 22 I will not accept your burnt offerings and thank offerings. I will not look at your offerings of peace. 23 Away with your hymns of praise—they are mere noise to my ears. I will not listen to your music, no matter how lovely it is.

    24 “I want to see a mighty flood of justice—a torrent of doing good.

  14. O 2021-12-14

    Along bearcreekbat’s line of thinking, how long before this is directly referenced as “returning prayer to school” out on the campaign trail?

  15. 96Tears 2021-12-14

    Well, the legislative debates on this one will be interesting. The GOP Neanderthals will insist on making it a Whiteman Christian prayer, preferably a protestant one since they really hate Catholics along with women and minorities. The more sensible Schoenbeck Wing of the Republican Party will find a way to quietly strangle the bill in its infancy. But Noem really doesn’t care what happens to this piece of dreck. It’s only about her silly presidential campaign messaging.

  16. grudznick 2021-12-14

    No gods.

    Big sign for all you sign wavers: “No gods allowed”
    None.

  17. Bonnie B Fairbank 2021-12-14

    I think Kristi Lynn is a sick puppy and has been for years, if not decades; she’s mentally decompensating. She’s emulating Trump, but, since she’s South Dakota’s Republican male’s favorite wank babe, she’ll never be called to account for any transgressions. Plain and simple.

  18. grudznick 2021-12-14

    Wank babe? What’s that?

    And have you seen this young Ms. Frankenstein yet?

  19. Mark Anderson 2021-12-14

    Why grudz, when I lived in Aberdeen there was bar called no gods allowed. Whoops sorry, it was no dogs allowed. Nevermind, my spelling is transposing. Bonnie’s sick puppy was priming my implicit memory.

  20. Arlo Blundt 2021-12-14

    Throw away your papers: Blow up your TV: Move to the country: Build you a home:
    Plant a little garden: Eat a lot of Peaches: We’ll all find Jesus: On our own.

    John Prine

  21. Guy 2021-12-14

    Thune versus Noem in 2022??? I’ve read a few articles recently quoting Thune as saying: “Kimberley is done.” He is speaking about what his own wife has said and what might prompt him to retire from the U.S. Senate. John has said he will make a decision by the end of this year. At one time, John Thune was thinking of running for Governor. If Thune decided he wanted to run for Governor, he could easily beat Kristi Noem, especially after all her shenanigans, including what has happened with Sherry Bren over the Appraiser License Scandal.

  22. Guy 2021-12-14

    Kristi has claimed in the past that John and her are “friends and that is why she told Trump she would not run against him for the U.S. Senate. The big question is: does John truly think of Kristi as a “friend”. I guess it remains to be seen how true that claim is.

  23. Arlo Blundt 2021-12-14

    What’s with the ads?? Is someone on Noem’s staff running a side hustle??? Are kickbacks involved? South Dakota Government and Scotch Whiskey is a good match.

  24. Porter Lansing 2021-12-14

    I’m a gambler, small time.
    What are the odds the SD legislature would pass a bill which gives the Governor the right to silence all media for a period of time, up to one month, in a situation where it’s determined the media is undermining the proper implementation of government, within South Dakota?
    I’d handicap this question at about 60-40 in favor of passage. And,100% that your Governor would sign it, immediately.

  25. ds 2021-12-15

    With our youth from grade school age to college-level at risk from troubled gun-totting classmates, Noem would better protect those innocent lives by legislating that South Dakota’s school resource officers are immediately notified of any students’ potential violent: threats, notes, messages or social media postings.

  26. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2021-12-15

    Arlo, my first read would be that no one on the Governor’s office is profiting from the deal; they’re just too lazy to go through the proper channels for posting items to the state website and picked out WeTransfer’s free service to post documents. Using the free service likely means they are stuck with ads, and naturally, no one on the ethically challenged Team Noem considered how uncouth it is to plaster advertisements all over public documents.

    I don’t immediately see a Noem–WeTransfer connection that would suggest some kickback arrangement. WeTransfer is a Dutch company; if Noem wanted to pimp out her public documents, I’d think she’d share that gravy with Matt Paulson or some other TenHaken techy-minion.

  27. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2021-12-15

    Porter, maybe she’ll test that idea out by requiring a moment of silence at the beginning of all her public appearances, including the rare press conference.

    If I’m at events where an elected official calls for a moment of silence, I may have a moral obligation to stand in the back saying “La la la la la,” or “Kassidy and Kennedy got special treatment.”

  28. DaveFN 2021-12-15

    Donald Pay

    Noem and the fundamentalists argue for a literal interpretation of the Bible. Odd they’ve drifted so far from anything resembling a literal understanding of the text.

    The Pauline exhortation in 1 Thessalonians 5:17 to “pray without ceasing” is an example. I doubt Noem knows the first thing about biblical scholarship but if she does she knows that the adverb for “without ceasing” in the original Koine Greek manuscripts is ἀδιαλείπτως which implies constancy without interruption, a continuous act.

    By contrast, Noem has reduced the Pauline exhortation to be in continuous prayer to merely a token “moment” in public schools, because—-as she states in what constitutes her notion of water-tight logical reasoning—-when she was growing up “We prayed in schools.” Not even a theological argument.

    Might we also expect Noem’s forthcoming text of legislation that requires students be on the lookout for Jesus’ arrival because Paul said so? The odd Pauline notion of the immanent second-coming of Christ at any time continues to be shared by fundamentalists today. One can but wonder what her argument would be for such legislation.

    As far as the book of Amos, I’ve little doubt the words you cite would be taken to heart by a Bible-believer as having any applicability to themselves. Those are words for “them.”

  29. Arlo Blundt 2021-12-15

    Cory…thanks for clarifying the Ads. The whole thing is just incredibly sloppy…taxpayers are paying good money to a Governor’s Techy to have Gucci Ads on the State website. “Gauche” I believe is the word to describe it.

  30. RST Tribal Member 2021-12-15

    “Let’s pray”, said the biblical knowing governor to her people. But for a minute, without pause or cause or purpose, there shall be silence. The inept inbred Republican legislators along with the looking backwards forward dreaming governor should take a moment to cruise the S.D. Constitution, Article VI Bill of Rights, § 3.

    Maybe, this minute of silence for any reason can be hooked to the legislative demand of posting “In God We Trust” in schools that was viewed for a few short months before the killer virus showed up closing the god trusting schools. The mandated political slogan became invisible, as students, parents, teachers along with many sought inner strength from their spiritual beliefs when returning to school buildings.

    Should this government forced silence come to pass: Teachers, in silence, could ask for a decent wage. Students, in silence, asking for a learning experience free of viruses, hostilities or backwardness forward dreaming mandates from their elected leaders.

    Most students would long for a normal school day with or without stenciled government mandated political religious slogans on the walls or with government mandated moment of silence. They want to learn, to socialize, to just be normal students in a normal place of learning. Giving South Dakota students normalcy should be what the inept inbred governor and her legislators are spending their devilish time on. Not using student’s place of learning to advance their party’s political religious ideology.

  31. M 2021-12-16

    I do recall a couple times where students prayed there was a substitute teacher instead of me. However, we all had plenty of time to pray while in lockdown more than once. You can’t have something just for the sake of having it. Students or all children as far as I know ask the one word that you better be prepared to answer and that is Why? And of course, parents also want to know. Trust me, they don’t want teachers or the public school messin with their religion. No thanks.

    Miss Hypocrite herself is practicing her post Civil War indoctrination techniques she learned while studying to be “America’s Governor”. Wasn’t it Noem who accused teachers of indoctrination? What chutzpah!

    RST Tribal Member, In God We Trust is an interesting motto adopted after the Civil War to put on coins and to stir Christian feelings about uniting government, Christianity, and education. You can see how that turned out for indigenous peoples and why Republicans rally around it. To them, E Pluribus Unum, out of many, one is a socialist concept.

  32. CJ Reynolds 2021-12-27

    I treasure every moment of silence Kristi Noem can stand to give us. While she presumably uses that time to thank God for gullible voters, maybe students can pray for separation of church and state.

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