Summarized by Kent Larsen
Does God play football?
The Economist, pg 27 27Nov99 N1
The Economist notes that the Santa Fe school prayer case, which the
U.S. Supreme Court said November 15th that it would hear, has stirred
passions on both sides of the school prayer debate. The case, which
started when Mormon and Catholic families objected to the domination
of the schools by Southern Baptists, pits religious conservatives
favoring prayer against civil libertarians who worry that a dominant
religion is being forced on minorities.
The school district argues that the students should have the right to
offer voluntary prayers, and that this right is protected by the free
expression doctrines in the U. S. Constitution. But Harvard law
professor Alan Dershowitz calls this a "phoney" argument, saying that
the only reason that prayers exist at Santa Fe football games is to
advocate a Christian worldview. "You can be sure that the school
would not allow a student to get up and say 'In the name of Zeus,
let's have a good game tonight."' said Dershowitz.
The Economist also notes that public opinion in Texas is generally on
the side of the school district. In a recent poll, 82% of Texans
supported the position of Texas Governor George W. Bush, who supports
the school district. But, these cases aren't decided by public
opinion, and since two liberals have joined the Court since its last
decisions on school prayer, it is more likely that the court will
simply decide that prayer is illegal in every case.