Click here for PDF Edition

2012-02-10 digital edition
TODAY in the Jewish World:

Click on logo for link:

Click on logo for link:

The Jewish Press of Tampa and the Jewish Press of Pinellas County are Independently- owned biweekly Jewish community newspapers published in cooperation with and supported by the Tampa JCC & Federation and the Jewish Federation of Pinellas & Pasco Counties, respectively. Copyright © 2009-2019 The Jewish Press Group of Tampa Bay, Inc., All Rights Reserved. 


February 10, 2012  RSS feed
World News

Text: T T T

ADL, ACLU contest school prayer bill constitutionality

By ROBERT GREEN Jewish Press

A bill pending in the Florida Senate to permit student led prayers at public schools is being attacked as unconstitutional and divisive by civil rights groups, including the Anti-Defamation League.

The bill (SB 98) would allow school boards to authorize prayers or other inspirational messages by students at high school events such as graduations, assemblies and sports events.

The U.S. Supreme Court has banned prayers and other religious activities at public schools, ruling that they violate the separation of church and state provisions in the U.S. Constitution.

“Such legislation is patently unnecessary, divisive and unconstitutional,” David Barkey of the Florida ADL said in a statement opposing the Florida bill.

“No public secondary school student should have to choose between attending a school event and being subjected to an unwanted religious activity,” Barkey added.

The ACLU said in a statement that the bill would put students under peer pressure to take part in religious activities that go against their beliefs or risk being alienated from other students.

Sen. Gary Silpin, an Orlando Democrat who introduced the bill, said he believed SB 98 was constitutional and would protect students’ freedom of religion rights.

“Granting students the ability to pray will afford students a key element in earning a well-rounded academic and spiritual education,” Silpin said in a statement.

The bill was approved by the Senate Rules Committee on Jan. 23 by a 12-2 vote, clearing it for action by the full state Senate. No date has been set for a Senate vote.

A similar bill has been introduced in the Florida House of Representatives but has not been acted on by any committee.

If SB 98 becomes law, it seems certain to be challenged in court by its opponents.

Post new comment

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.
This question is for testing whether you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.
Click ads below for larger version