Sunday, October 17, 2010

School Prayer rears its ugly head here in Rhode Island

Cranston High School West, here in Rhode Island, has a banner labeled "School Prayer" hanging in the gym that says:
Our Heavenly Father,
Grant us each day the desire to do our best,
To grow mentally and morally as well as physically,
To be kind and helpful to our classmates and teachers,
To be honest with ourselves as well as with others,
Help us to be good sports and smile when we lose as well as when we win,
Teach us the value of true friendship,
Help us always to conduct ourselves so as to bring credit to Cranston High School West.
Here's the problem: Cranston West is a pubic school, and the constitution specifies that church and state should be separate. So why is there a honking big Christian prayer hanging in the school gym?

Beyond the constitutional issues, there's also the Cranston School District's policy that says: "the proper setting for religious observance is the home and the place of worship."  So the prayer is illegal under federal law and local guidlines. The question becomes, then, Why is the banner still up?

The ACLU got involved in July after a parent complained. The prayer banner obviously violates the law, and good taste. This banner needs to come down.

One way to show your support for this worthy cause is to join the Facebook page started by super-awesome Cranston West student Jessica Ahlquist. She's not only fighting for the rights of her school and its students, she's fighting for the rights of all Americans here. Once the government starts telling us (or even suggesting to us) that it's a good idea to pray, and to a Christian God no less, then any  Constitutionally protected freedom from religion becomes illusory.

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