Sunday, November 04, 2012

Students Given PA Mic for Prayer at Football Games

Liberals, media, and atheists are fuming that Birdville Independent School District near Fort Worth is citing a Texas law in defense of its policy to allow a randomly-chosen student to pray before football games using the school's public address system.

Critics cite the 2000 U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Santa Fe Independent School District v. Doe that school-sponsored prayer at football games is unconstitutional.

For background, read Prayer in America: Hidden Faith, or Public? and also read Missouri Votes to Bring Prayer Back to School, Countering Atheists

UPDATE 6/15/13: Texas Law Tells Schools to Ignore Atheist Threats

-- From "Despite Legal Issues, Prayers Before Football Games" by Scott Gordon, KXAS-TV5 (NBC Dallas-Fort Worth) 11/3/12

The district defends the policy and says it's legal under a Texas law passed in 2007 that allows a "limited public forum" for public school students.

"[Students] tell us they want to do it and we draw names out of the hat and say, 'This is your event' and they go on," [Birdville ISD spokesman Mark] Thomas said.

Thomas said the district allows students to say whatever they want. Sometimes it's a prayer, and other times students just welcome fans to the game, he said.

"We don't know until the student gets up there and we turn the mic on," he said. "We don't dictate; we don't ask."

To read the entire article above, CLICK HERE.

From "Birdville school district defends prayers on PA system before football games" by Drew Davison, Fort Worth Star Telegram 11/1/12

. . . a student said a prayer from the field just before the national anthem. A disclaimer on the video board said the student was selected on "neutral criteria" and that her comments were a "private expression" and did not reflect the "endorsement" of the district.

"If the students choose to do a prayer, they can," Thomas said. "They can do a welcome. ... It's a freedom-of-speech issue that was addressed in [2007 Texas] legislation."

Birdville school board president Ralph Kunkel said . . . "During graduation ceremonies, we've had the valedictorian and salutatorian give speeches, where three or four times, they mention Allah. We can't edit that, just as if they mention Jesus and God."

[Rebecca Robertson of the American Civil Liberties Union of Texas said,] "We don't need to be doing it at school. We don't want a taxpayer-funded school to have a prayer over the loud speaker, whether it's Christian or Muslim or Jewish, because then it looks like the school has endorsed it."

To read the entire article above, CLICK HERE.