Atheists Demand That The SC School District Stop Praying At Board Meetings

A prominent atheist organization has once again demanded that a South Carolina school system stop opening official meetings with board members’ prayers.

The Freedom From Religion Foundation has requested Dorchester School District Two in Summerville to stop permitting school board members to open meetings with Christian prayers.

“We ask that the Board immediately cease imposing prayer upon students, staff, and community members in order to comply with the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment and to respect the rights of every member of the community,” wrote FFRF Staff Attorney Christopher Line in a complaint letter sent earlier this month.

“Board members are free to pray privately or to worship on their own time in their own way. However, the Board ought not to lend its power and prestige to religion or coerce attendees into participating in religious exercise.”

In a statement issued last week, FFRF Co-President Annie Laurie Gaylor stated that school officials such as the Dorchester board “should strive to be inclusive, rather than engaging in exclusionary practices.”

“The school board exists to oversee a secular public school system that must be welcoming to all students and parents, of every religion and of no religion,” stated Gaylor.

The Christian Post reached out to the school district for this report, however a spokesperson said that they do not have a comment at this time.

The FFRF had previously sent a complaint letter to Dorchester school district officials back in March 2021, when they were first alerted to the board’s prayer practice by a concerned parent.

The atheist group FFRF sued a California school district for allowing sectarian prayers at official meetings, which was upheld by a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit.

The panel concluded that the prayers were unconstitutional, as they were not within the legislative prayer tradition that allows certain types of prayer to open legislative sessions.

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