Members of the school board in Liberal, Kan., missed official prayer at high school football games, so they recently voted unanimously to allow student-led prayers using the school’s loudspeakers.
But there’s a slight hitch in the school board’s plan: The Supreme Court actually banned the practice in 2000.
Yesterday was “See You at the Pole,” an annual event where public school students meet outside the building for a voluntary prayer session (often near a flagpole, hence the name – see this example) usually before the school day begins.
The Religious Right expects Americans United to get all worked up about this. We really don’t – as long as the event is voluntary and student-run and school officials aren’t sponsoring or promoting it. Read more
Fifty years ago today, the U.S. Supreme handed down one of its most important church-state rulings. In School District of Abington Township v. Schempp, the high court ruled 8-1 that state-mandated programs of Bible reading and prayer in public schools are unconstitutional.
Five decades later, the ruling in Schempp (and its companion case, Murray v. Curlett) remains widely misunderstood. Part of this is due to a deliberate campaign of misinformation by Religious Right groups, which have distorted the scope of the decision. Read more
The Louisiana legislature has let us down again.
On Saturday, the state Senate passed a bill intended to promote prayer in the public schools. HB 724 was adopted unanimously there, just as it was in the House of Representatives. The measure is now on its way to Gov. Bobby Jindal, and he is almost certain to sign it. Read more
I’ll admit it: I enjoy reading scathing reviews of books and films. Critics are called that for a reason. When it’s time to be critical, some of them really know how to put it out there.
Consider Roger Ebert. The long-time movie reviewer for the Chicago Sun-Times didn’t hold back when he was forced to sit through a bad film. Read more
Some people who advocate coercive school prayer are relentless. They’re always coming up with a new scheme to impose their preferred form of worship onto impressionable public school students.
Sometimes they even try to use children to spread religious messages in schools. Yesterday, a federal appeals court put the brakes on this latest effort to compel prayer in schools. Read more