Magazine article The Christian Century

School Prayer on Court's Docket

Magazine article The Christian Century

School Prayer on Court's Docket

Article excerpt

Supporters and opponents of prayer at public school events welcomed the November 15 agreement by the Supreme Court to decide whether a school district can give students the right to hold prayers over the public address system at high school football games. Both sides said the court ruling would clarify the murky church-state line over the issue of religious expression even as they hoped the justices would uphold their point of view.

"People who attend school football games are a captive audience for what is presented on the public address system," said Elliot Mincberg, legal director of People for the American Way, a group that opposes such prayers. "A person's choice about whether to participate in a prayer, or the type of prayer he may wish to participate in, is taken away when an invocation is broadcast to the entire audience."

Barry Lynn, executive director of Americans United for Separation of Church and State, said the case is the biggest school prayer case in decades. "Unless the Supreme Court thinks football is a sacrament, it should find these school-sponsored prayers unconstitutional," he said. But Jay Sekulow, chief counsel of the conservative American Center for Law and Justice, said his group is exploring ways to assist the Texas school district that is at the center of the case. …

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