The school board in the badly misnamed town of Liberal, Kansas really, really wants to force students to listen to people praying. I mean really, really badly. So much that they ignored the advice of their superintendent and attorney and voted for it with no discussion when it wasn’t even on the agenda.
According to the Leader and Times, school prayer had not been on the agenda for Monday’s meeting of USD No. 480 board in Liberal, but board member Nick Hatcher brought it up at the last minute…
In its 2000 Santa Fe Independent School Dist. v. Doe decision, the Supreme Court specifically ruled that allowing students to use the public address system to pray at football games violated the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment.
However, the school board’s vote on Monday means that students will now be able to use the public address system to initiate a prayers at upcoming games in Liberal.
Before the vote, Superintendent of Schools Paul Larkin had warned board members that they hadn’t thought through all the possible problems.
“We can have student-led prayer, but if we turn away certain groups — if you have someone who wants to serve up a prayer or a thought that isn’t the mainstream thinking — you’re going to have a problem,” Larkin explained. The thing to do is take it to [board attorney] Mr. Yoxall and get some advice.”
“I’m sure you’re right,” Hatcher agreed. “I’m sure he’ll come back and tell us the reasons not to, or at least show us where the liabilities lie, but if there’s a will, there’s a way.”
“We don’t need to wait for that. We can make a board decision, as long as it’s student-led, to support prayer. I’ll make that motion. I’m gonna do it.”
And they voted for it unanimously. Legal advice? We don’t need no stinkin’ legal advice! There’s something quite disturbing, I think, in the minds of people who simply cannot settle for praying on their own whenever they feel like it. It’s like they don’t think God hears their prayers unless non-Christians are forced to listen or participate in them. That Jesus guy seemed to have quite a different opinion, as I recall.