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Supreme Court Ruling on Prayer in Public Schools: Key Players in Landmark Cases

By    |   Monday, 24 Nov 2014 10:32 PM

As Supreme Court rulings on prayer in public schools make the activity limited in some areas, it has clarified acceptable activity in other areas.

Here are some of the individuals who have made news for their feelings on prayer in the classroom:

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

Michael A. Newdow: A non-custodial father in California took issue with the phrase "under God" in the Pledge of Allegiance. Newdow argued that the phrase amounted to prayer in school and infringed on his rights to influence the religious views of his daughter. The court stopped short of ruling on the phrasing after deciding that the dad did not actually have the legal standing to pursue the case because custody issues were in flux.

Deborah Weisman: The parents of middle school student Weisman were upset when school administrators arranged for a Rabbi to give a non-sectarian prayer at her graduation in 1989. The action resulted in a Supreme Court ruling on prayer in public schools that called the graduation "a state-sanctioned religious exercise in which the student was left with no alternative but to submit."

Madalyn Murray O’Hair: While O’Hair became an outspoken American athiest and founder of an organization by that name, she is best known for her role in the Supreme Court ruling on prayer in public schools. In the case of Murray v. Curlett she fought the recitation of the Lord’s Prayer in public schools and won. O’Hair was proud of the moniker she earned as “the most hated women in America” for her role in fighting prayer in schools. She was murdered in 1995.

VOTE NOW: Do You Support Prayer in Public Schools?

Alton Lemon was named head plaintiff in the Lemon v. Kurzman case that led to a 1971 Supreme Court ruling on prayer in public schools. The ruling led to a three-pronged test regarding legislation related to religion known widely as the Lemon Test. Lemon was called a “first Amendment hero” for allowing his name to be used in the case.

Ishmael Jaffree: The agnostic father and civil rights attorney was living in Mobile, Alabama, when he took issue with his son’s kindergarten teacher for leading the students in prayer before lunch. Though Jaffree’s son was told he did not have to participate in the prayer, the elder Jaffree decided to take it to court. The result of the Wallace v. Jaffree case resulted in the U.S. Supreme Court ruling on prayer in public schools to allow moments of silence for free religious expression as long as the word “prayer” is not used.

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

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As Supreme Court rulings on prayer in public schools make the activity limited in some areas, it has clarified acceptable activity in other areas.
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2014-32-24
Monday, 24 Nov 2014 10:32 PM
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