The Mercer County School Board in Western Illinois knows exactly how to help students achieve their full potential: They’re now starting all board meetings with a useless, potentially illegal prayer.
… Last week a local minister asked whether the board should pray before their meetings.
“We did look into legal counsel to see what they would have to say about the issue and they said it is permissible as long as the prayer is non-sectarian and as longs as the board does not favor one religion over another”, said Superintendent Alan Boucher.
An organization of local ministers will now take turns leading that prayer. We asked around to see what residents thought about the idea that has drawn heated debate in some communities but everyone we spoke with here said they supported the idea. It may have been hard to find someone here who disagreed with the issue because the board that used to oversee the Aledo School District traditionally held a prayer before their meetings.
The majority of the voters in the community may have elected this school board, but their wishes don’t supersede the law. They cannot promote religion in the public schools and these prayers are nothing but a promotion of Christianity.
Is that too big a leap? In a county that’s 98% white, I’m guessing the rotating band of “local ministers” is going to be primarily Jesus-focused. Am I wrong?
If someone can let me know when Muslim, Hindu, and Humanist representatives are offering the school board’s opening prayer, I’ll be glad to recant my words.
Meanwhile, check out this news story about the prayer, specifically the lady at the 1:50 mark:
You can make up whatever secular motive you want, but let’s be honest: the reason this prayer is happening is because some community members want to inject prayer into the system. First, it’s the school board meeting. It won’t be long before they want it back in the classrooms.
I’ve informed the Freedom From Religion Foundation about this. Hopefully, the legal scare will get them to do their jobs correctly — by spending meetings focusing on the students and not on how board meetings should provide a venue for the wishes of local religious leaders.
(via Religion Clause)