Summarized by Kent Larsen
Lawsuit by Mormon lead to end of football game prayers (Football Prayer Debated by School)
Minneapolis MN Star-Tribune (AP) 26Aug99 L1
By Christ Fletcher: Associated Press Writer
HOUSTON, TEXAS -- In the wake of a suit by a Mormon and a Catholic
against prayers before High School football games, a Texas teenager
has decided not to lead the prayers she had been elected to.
Stephanie Vega had been elected by fellow students at Santa Fe High
School in Houston to "solemnize" each of her school's home football
games. The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals had ruled earlier this
year that prayers before football games were unconstitutional. Santa
Fe superintendent Richard Ownby warned students that anyone that led
prayers at the football games "would be disciplined as if they had
The issue began when the Mormon and Catholic families filed suit in
1995, saying that the prayers established religion at the school. The
families are not part of the dominant Southern Baptist religion in
the area. While federal judge had generally sided with the school,
the appeals court ruled that the use of the word "invocation" implied
government support of prayer and was unconstitutional.
The school district, supported by Texas Governor George W. Bush and
seven states, has asked the U.S. Supreme Court to review the case.