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Prayer in Schools: 6 Groups That Want It Banned

Prayer in Schools: 6 Groups That Want It Banned
Supporters of the American Atheists protest across the street from the State Judicial building August 25, 2003 in Montgomery, Alabama. (Gary Tramontina/Getty Images)

By    |   Sunday, 16 November 2014 05:32 PM

The topic of prayer in school has ignited fierce debate and legal action for years. Here are six groups that favor a careful separation of church and state with regard to prayer in school along with statements about the issue found on their websites.

ALERT: Should Prayer Be Allowed in Public Schools? Vote Now

Freedom From Religion Foundation
"Public schools exist to educate, not to proselytize. Children in public schools are a captive audience. Making prayer an official part of the school day is coercive and invasive. What 5, 8, or 10-year-old could view prayers recited as part of class routine as 'voluntary'? Religion is private, and schools are public, so it is appropriate that the two should not mix. To introduce religion in our public schools builds walls between children who may not have been aware of religious differences before."

American Humanist Association
"The religious right won’t stop their efforts to bring religion back in to public schools, but we’ll be there every step of the way to protect the separation of church and state. With your help, we can ensure that public schools remain places of learning instead of places of religious proselytizing."

American Atheists
"Since 1963, American Atheists has been the premier organization fighting for the civil liberties of atheists and the total, absolute separation of government and religion. American Atheists was born out of a court case begun in 1959 by the Murray family which challenged prayer recitation in the public schools."

That case, Murray v. Curlett, was consolidated into Abington School District v. Schempp, in which the Supreme Court ruled that bible readings in public schools were a violation of the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment to the Constitution.

VOTE NOW: Do You Support Prayer in Public Schools?

Americans United for Separation of Church and State
“Given the incredible diversity of American society, it’s important that our public schools respect the beliefs of everyone and protect parental rights. The schools can best do this by not sponsoring religious worship. This principle ensures that America’s public schools are welcoming to all children and leaves decisions about religion where they belong — with the family.”

Center for American Progress
“A prayer at graduation may seem relatively harmless or even beneficial to some. … But think about it: Graduation in a public school is an organized event — a regulated aspect of local government. Public schools serve all who come, and student bodies are increasingly diverse in their backgrounds and beliefs.

People of many faiths — as well as those of no faith— are likely to be present at a public-school graduation ceremony. School officials should not be in the business of picking one brand of religion to represent the school and rejecting others.”

Anti-Defamation League
“The greatest current threat to separation of church and state is in the public schools, the very place that Americans of every background first learn the critical values of freedom and tolerance. And at a time when our population is growing increasingly diverse, those values are more important than ever. The public schools must make students from every background feel equally welcome if democracy is to endure.”

URGENT: Should Students Be Allowed to Pray in Public Schools? Vote Here Now!

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The topic of prayer in school has ignited fierce debate and legal action for years. Here are six groups that favor a careful separation of church and state with regard to prayer in school.
prayer, in, school, groups, want, banned
Sunday, 16 November 2014 05:32 PM
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