[quote=KXMC]ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) A Christian advocacy group says a Florida high school’s principal and athletic director could be fined or sent to jail because a prayer of blessing was said before a meal at a school-related event.
Liberty Counsel President Mat Staver says Pace High School Principal Frank Lay and Athletic Director Robert Freeman are scheduled to go on trial next month on criminal contempt charges.
"Now children, be quiet while I say grace:Mighty Thor, God of Thunder, Smiter of enemies!
We thank you Mighty Thor for this food before us.
May we eat it and grow big and strong,
So that we will be better able to smite our enemies,
As you smite your enemies.
Mighty Thor, God of Thunder, Hear our prayer!"
I was a teacher for five years. Would you have wanted me to teach Buddhist meditation to your children in school time and while being paid with your tax dollars?
In a public school, in school time and while being paid with public dollars then the teacher’s personal religious beliefs are to be kept personal. Save prayers for outside school.
Whether or not such a prayer was socially inappropriate in that context is one issue. Certainly, one can make the arguments about separation of church and state and about respecting the religious beliefs of others in our diverse society.
But to criminalize prayer and punish it with fines and/or jail time? That goes too far.
The prayer itself was not criminalized. According to the link in the OP:Liberty Counsel President Mat Staver says Pace High School Principal Frank Lay and Athletic Director Robert Freeman are scheduled to go on trial next month on criminal contempt charges.
Staver says they’re accused of violating a court order prohibiting prayer at school events.
The criminal part is for alleged violation of a court order. The charges are “criminal contempt”, not praying. Violating a court order is illegal, and rightly so.
This was outside the context of ‘school’. It was at lunch time and no students, let alone children were involved.
from the article:
The prayer violation allegedly took place at an appreciation luncheon for adults who had helped with a school field house project.
The court cases on limiting teachers and administrators freedom of religious expression all hinge on whether the students’ right to a religiously neutral educational environment were violated. It doesn’t matter if the administrators were being paid by taxpayer dollars. If that were the case, volunteers in school could do and say whatever they wanted. The whole point is to not impose the individual’s own beliefs on the students.
With no students present, this case is ridiculous on seperation of church and state grounds. The only grounds that seem reasonable are those of insubordination but even that is weak.
If a Buddhist also wanted to say a prayer for everyone before eating I would have no problem with it, it’s his/her own personal beliefs, but once you make it illegal to say a prayer, even if it is a court order, I think that’s pushing into infringing on my rights as an American
The court order made it criminal/illegal to pray in the context of a school event. Therefore, the “criminal contempt” charges because of the prayer blessing said before the meal at that school event. However it is made illegal to pray (whether a court order or a passed law), I still disagree with it.