Saturday, May 14, 2016

Atheists Threaten Florida School Board over Prayer

The Wisconsin-based Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF) has informed the Duval County School Board (DCSB) of Jacksonville, Florida that offering the opportunity for clergy to give an invocation before its monthly board meeting begins is unconstitutional, but most board members disagree.
“We should continue to support religious liberty.”
-- Jason Fischer, DCSB board member

“I feel good about where we are today.  I feel good about what we're doing.  If [the FFRF] want to pursue it further [to court], that's certainly their option.  My biggest concern is this becomes a distraction to education.”
-- Scott Shine, DCSB board member
For background, read U.S. Supreme Court 2014 Ruling Allows Christian Prayer in Civic Meetings, in fact Supreme Court Justice Scalia Said Government Should Favor God of the Bible

Click headlines below to read previous articles:

Prayer Stays in Florida School, Opposing Atheists

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

Atheists Say Prayer for Terror-victims is Unconstitutional

Kentucky School Supt. Backs Prayer vs. Atheists

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

-- From "National group calls Duval school district prayer 'unconstitutional'" by Jason Rantala, WTLV-TV12 (Jacksonville, FL) First Coast News 5/12/16

Schoolboard Chairman Ashley Smith Juarez said they will be consulting the Office of General Council to decide what to do regarding prayer.

Juarez said she cannot recall someone actually complaining about prayer during a meeting.

"We have had members from a variety of religions and a variety of voices there during that time. I do think that is important and it will be something we will continue to focus on in the future," said Juarez.

To read the entire article above, CLICK HERE.

From "Non-profit groups wade into Duval County School Board prayer controversy" by Robert Alonso, WOKV-FM104.5 5/13/16

2 non-profit groups reached out to the school board recently about starting off its meetings with a prayer.

The Orlando-based Liberty Counsel did likewise 3 days later, offering to help the district should the FFRF try to take the matter to court.

In its letter, the LC says the FFRF is "litigious", often unsuccessful in court and in the wrong morally and legally.

Earlier this year, the DCSB altered its opening prayer to add a "thought for the day" option, something district officials called an effort to be more inclusive.

To read the entire article above, CLICK HERE.

From "Complaint about prayer at Duval School Board meetings stirs debate" by Denise Smith Amos, Florida Times-Union 5/11/16

At most meetings, nearly everyone stands and bows their heads during the invocation, and usually a pastor, priest or other minister prays aloud at the podium. Often the person praying invokes the name of Jesus.

. . . the Liberty Counsel also wrote to each School Board member, urging them to continue with praying during invocation. Richard L. Mast Jr., a Lynchburg, Va., attorney with the Liberty Counsel, offered to provide pro bono assistance to the district.

The Liberty Counsel cited a 2014 US Supreme Court ruling, Town of Greece v. Galloway, saying it “confirmed the constitutionality of prayers given before legislative bodies.”

The Liberty Counsel also referred to a 1994 11th Circuit Court case involving Duval Schools. The court’s ruling in that case allowed religious messages by students, by valedictorians and by graduation speakers.

To read the entire article above, CLICK HERE.

Also read Prayer Banned in Washington Town — Nobody Cares