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For week ended November 28, 1999 Posted 18 Dec 1999

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Does God play football?

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.

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