Atheist group scares school into banning graduation prayer

Atheist group scares school into banning graduation prayer

A Georgia school has agreed not to pray during it’s graduation ceremony after an atheist group threatened to sue.

The American Humanist Association was also upset about a sign that read “Jesus” near the school, which has since been taken down. The AHA said it received “written assurances” the graduation prayers would stop, and a lawyer for the organization told The Daily Caller News Foundation she isn’t surprised.

“The case law is so well settled on the issue of school initiated prayers at school sponsored events,” a laywer for AHA’s legal group Monica Miller told TheDCNF. “It’s well settled that those are unconstitutional.”

Miller told TheDCNF that they’ll be watching the school, and if a school sponsored prayer occurs, that would reopen the potential for a lawsuit. She said the school claimed the sign was not theirs, but nevertheless, it has been taken down.

The case started when a parent of a second-grader at Rabun County Elementary School attended a graduation ceremony May 19, and was outraged when the principal gave a prayer that ended with “In Jesus’ name we pray.”

The parent attended the Kindergarten graduation ceremony about a week later, and the same principal gave a public prayer again ending with “in Jesus’ name we pray.”

The perturbed parent complained to the school and then contacted the AHA. The group sent a letter to the school demanding the sign be taken down and the graduation prayers stop.

The AHA argued the prayers violated the Establishment Clause, saying a publicly-funded school cannot endorse a particular religion.

“Federal circuit courts have been nearly unanimous in concluding that prayers delivered at primary and secondary public school graduations violate the Establishment Clause, even when they are student-initiated and student-led,” the letter read.

Miller told TheDCNF last week that they were ready to sue if the principal and school did not comply. For now the case is closed.

This report, by Casey Harper, was cross-posted by arrangement with the Daily Caller News Foundation.

LU Staff

LU Staff

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