Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Prayer Stays in Florida School, Opposing Atheists

Last summer the Wisconsin-based Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF) threatened the Okaloosa County School District with legal action if school board meetings continue to open with prayer, but after months of vocal support from residents, the board voted to continue the prayers.
"What will we teach our children if we give in to these bullies?  That a godless few can scare us?"
-- Robert English, resident of Laurel Hill, Florida
For background, click headlines below to read previous articles:

North Carolina Citizens Demand Prayer in Public School

Let us Pray in School: It's the Law in Missouri

Wyoming School Allows Prayer Under Lawsuit Threat

Ohio School Board Wants Prayer, Ignoring Atheists

Louisiana Students, School Reject ACLU's Ungodly Demand

Atheists Threaten Arkansas School so Citizens Pray Publicly

Texas School Supt. Tells Anti-prayer Atheists to Go Fly a Kite

Also read Florida Battles Satanic 'Prayer' at Civic Meetings City-by-City

However 'Minion of Satan' Defied by Florida County Official

-- From "Okaloosa County school board votes for prayer before meetings" by Leah Johnson, Northwest Florida Daily News (Fort Walton Beach, FL) 1/11/16

“The resolution is put together by following court cases and research on other resolutions,” said board attorney Jeff McInnis. “It’s not a resolution that will advance a particular religion over another.”

“(The) School Board … has established and wishes to maintain a tradition … by allowing for an opening invocation as legislative prayer at meetings … to assist the board members in setting their minds to a higher purpose and to ease their task of governing the school district,” the resolution says.

Board members said the resolution will be enacted around March.

To read the entire article above, CLICK HERE.

From "Multi-faith prayer will resume in Okaloosa County School Board meetings" by Leah Johnson, Northwest Florida Daily News (Fort Walton Beach, FL) 1/9/16

“We are going to have prayer,” said Chairperson Cathy Thigpen. “It was a three to two vote. This will set forth parameters to have that happen.”

To maintain tradition yet still be fair, Thigpen said the board is working on a comprehensive list of religious leaders they hope to invite to board meetings.

“I’m excited,” she said. “Hundreds could offer prayer. I hope the community can be a part.”

Okaloosa County will join Walton County in opting to keep their invocation. Santa Rosa County removed prayer from its meetings more than five years ago.

To read the entire article above, CLICK HERE.

From "Residents urge School Board to resume prayer at meetings" by Kelly Humphrey, Northwest Florida Daily News (Fort Walton Beach, FL) 11/5/15

"We're here to influence the board to continue their traditional invocation, and not bow down to a godless bully group." said Laurel Hill resident Robert English.

During a period for public comments on the issue, English maintained that there was no mention of the concept of separation of church and state in the U.S. Constitution, and cited numerous examples of governmental references to God on currency and in Florida's state motto.

At its July 27 meeting, School Board attorney Jeff McInnis announced that the board had decided to temporarily adopt a moment of silence in place of the traditional invocation while the matter was investigated. The board requested that McInnis research legal precedent and present them with an opinion by the end of September.

To read the entire article above, CLICK HERE.

From "School Board asked to stop praying" by Katie Tammen, Northwest Florida Daily News (Fort Walton Beach, FL) 9/30/15

The two and half page letter from the Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF) arrived late last month and School Board attorney Jeff McInnis is still sorting through its implications.

“In an abundance of caution we are having a moment of silence as I research their demands,” McInnis said at the board’s recent meeting.

Up until now, the board began each meeting with the Pledge of Allegiance and an invocation given by a board member or the superintendent.

McInnis said the prayers pre-date his hiring two decades ago and its the first such complaint he can recall receiving.

To read the entire article above, CLICK HERE.

Also read Florida Bans Prayer at Christian Football Game

And read 'God Bless America' Banned from Florida School