ALL the News about
Mormons, Mormonism
and the LDS Church
Mormon News: All the News about Mormons, Mormonism and the LDS Church
For week ended January 30, 2000 Posted 24 Feb 2001
Most Recent Week
Front Page
Local News
Arts & Entertainment
·New Products
·New Websites
·Mormon Stock Index
Letters to Editor
Continuing Coverage of:
Boston Temple
School Prayer
Julie on MTV
Robert Elmer Kleasen
About Mormon News
News by E-Mail
Weekly Summary
Submitting News
Submitting Press Releases
Volunteer Positions
Bad Link?

News about Mormons, Mormonism,
and the LDS Church

Summarized by Kent Larsen

Lawsuit by Mormons Involving School Prayer Only Part Of Continuing War
("Government-sponsored prayer" decried by ACLU)
Houston TX Chronicle pg31 29Jan00 N1
By Jo Ann Zuniga
Group to go to high court in Santa Fe flap


God, country and Constitution
Albany NY Times-Union (AP) 16Jan00 N1
By Julia Lieblich and Richard Ostling, Associated Press

HOUSTON, TEXAS -- ACLU President Nadine Strossen spoke to a group at Texas Southern University on January 28th about the school prayer lawsuit filed by a Mormon family. Strossen told the audience that the case is about the most difficult and divisive issue that the ACLU has faced, "The emotions stirred by this issue are so unparalleled," said Strossen, a professor at the New York University Law School. "We have handled many controversial issues like affirmative action, but nothing comes close to this."

Strossen, along with attorney Anthony Griffin of Galveston, outlined the ACLU's plans in the case, which will be presented to the U.S. Supreme Court. Griffin represents the ACLU in the case in which two mothers, one Catholic and one Mormon acting for their children, are challenging the Santa Fe Independent School District's allowing student-led prayers at football games and other public events. The lawsuit started when the two families objected to what they called a "pattern of majority religious practice" that had infiltrated the schools, and was isolating members of minority religions.

The Supreme Court will decide only on the issue of whether "student-led, student-initiated prayers at football games" violate the U.S. Constitution. Griffin maintains that sometimes even allowing students to choose the prayer still tramples on individual rights, If you can use majority votes of students to take away the First Amendment right to freedom from having the government impose majority religions on people, the First Amendment doesn't mean anything,"

But the court's decision will only focus on one aspect of the whole school prayer issue, which is being fought in schools throughout the country. The Associated Press makes clear that this war is a highly emotional and divisive. In recent years, religious activists have gone on the offensive, asserting that prayer is a free speech right, instead of fighting charges that it violates the constitution's ban on "establishment of religion." And these activists have made significant headway with these arguments. Some recent Supreme Court and Appeals Court decisions have sided with the religious right, allowing prayers at graduation ceremonies and in other instances.

And many communities simply do what they want anyway, ignoring Court decisions. Adams County, Ohio displays the Ten Commandments on school property in open defiance of Supreme Court rulings. Other localities are simply ignorant of the law -- or prefer not to think about it. This even extends in some cases to permitted activities. For example, some school administrators don't permit after-school religious clubs on school property, even though they are permitted by the courts. They feel it is simply too difficult to sort out the rulings, so they decide, "When in doubt, keep it out."

For LDS Church members, the issue conflicts with LDS Church teachings to involve prayer in all aspects of life. Siding with conservatives, most LDS Church members would prefer to see prayer allowed in schools to some extent. In one recent court case from Rexburg, Idaho, which involved a majority LDS population, the school district won the right to have prayers at school graduations. However, the Mormon family it Texas (presumably LDS), found it necessary to work against school prayer because the environment at the public school had become so hostile. According to documents in the case, one of the Mormon children involved was told in class before classmates that her religion was of the devil.

While this case may not change the minds of most LDS Church members about prayer in schools, it at least points out a difference in the position of LDS Church members that don't live where the Church is in the majority.


[an error occurred while processing this directive]

Copyright 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001 Kent Larsen · Privacy Information