April 2016 Church & State - April 2015

Md. General Assembly Considers School Prayer Bill

  AU admin

Maryland legislators are debating a proposal that would require public schools to allow student-led prayer at all public school events. S.B. 267, sponsored by Del. Ric Metzgar (R-Baltimore County), awaits a final vote.

 “I believe we have a lot of young people today that are Christian young people that would really like to pray and express their faith,” Metzger told WBAL-TV, a local NBC affiliate, adding, “It’s student-led, and by young people, so it’s not pressure on adults or coaches to force the issue. It’s all student-led.”

In a letter to legislators, Americans United objected to the bill on the basis that it could lead to violations of the separation of church and state. “As the Supreme Court held in Santa Fe Independent School District v. Doe, presentation of prayers by students at school-sponsored events unconstitutionally coerces other students to participate in that religious activity,” wrote Amrita Singh, Americans United’s state legislative counsel. 

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