As secular organizations continue to bully and threaten an increasing number of state, local and county institutions to do away with prayer by convincing them it is unconstitutional, there has been a spike in the number of school districts, city councils, and other government entities that are dropping the time-honored tradition.
Substitutions for prayer and outright omissions of the practice have been reported across the nation as atheist groups harass officials to cease and desist allowing anything to do with religion — particularly Christianity.
In Moncks Corner, South Carolina, meetings for one school board council are no longer being opened by reciting the Lord’s Prayer, but with an arbitrary moment of silence.
The drastic change in policy was implemented shortly after the Americans United for the Separation of Church and State (AUSCS) issued a warning that saying the Christian prayer before meetings was a violation of the First Amendment to the United States Constitution. This caused Board Chairman Jim Hayes to alter the longstanding practice.
According to AUSCS, the Lord’s Prayer is nothing more than proselytizing.
“[The tradition] exploits the prayer opportunity to advance the Christian faith [because it is] specifically and uniquely a Christian prayer,” the atheist group argued, according to the Post and the Courier.
AUSCS gave a number of options to Hayes, who said he must either face a long and expensive lawsuit, observe a moment of silence, remove the invocation altogether, read a non-sectarian prayer or invite various groups to prayer.
A number of objections were made by many board members regarding the secular group’s insistent demands.
“I’m not in favor of a moment of silence, or calling it what it really is — a moment of censorship,” expressed a local attorney representing District 2, Mac McQuillin, according to CBN News. “Prayer isn’t divisive. It unites us.”
More godless graduations
To the west in Arkansas, school officials were intimidated to the point of prohibiting graduating high school students to have prayer at all future graduation ceremonies.
The decision to remove prayer was made by an Arkansas school superintendent who was threatened by the Freedom from Religion Foundation (FFRF), which claimed that one citizen complained about an invocation and benediction taking place at a local high school graduation ceremony.
“I don’t know how many people were in attendance — 3,000 maybe,” superintendent Randy Barrett ventured. “I’m glad we didn’t offend the other 2,999.”
Barrett insisted that school personnel within his district were in no way forcing religion on students, emphasizing that students were the ones leading graduation prayers.
“Prayer has been student-led prayer — not from a staff member or administration, but from the students,” the superintendent assured KFSM-TV. “It`s just been part of our ceremony for as long as I`ve been here.”
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Michael F. Haverluck