Religious News and Notes for June 8 2009-from the distaff sideSomervell County Salon-Glen Rose, Rainbow, Nemo, Glass....Texas


Religious News and Notes for June 8 2009-from the distaff side

8 June 2009 at 10:00:08 PM

Remember that case in Santa Rose FL regarding improper school prayer by public school officials? The show-cause hearing has been rescheduled-apparently MIchelle Winkler and Frank Lay violated a prelimenary injunction.  From the Santa Rosa Press Gazette about the complaint.

-    In preparation for the February 20, 2009, Employee of the Year Banquet at Sykes Banquet Hall on Whiting Field (Naval Air Station), District Administrator Jud Crane, Director of Purchasing and Contract Administrator, requested that Ms. Winkler, an administrative assistant, offer a “thought for the day” at the event.

-    In light of the Court’s Order, Ms. Winkler asked Mr. Crane if she would be permitted—“off the record”—to offer a prayer. Ms. Winkler explained that she would like to offer the prayer and “will suffer whatever consequences for” it. Id. at 8. While Mr. Crane sympathized with Ms. Winkler’s position, after Mr. Crane checked with Defendant Superintendent, Mr. Crane instructed her that she would not be permitted to offer a prayer. Id. at 5-7. In response, Ms. Winkler agreed to not offer the prayer, but still present the “thought of the day” because “[they] are in a battle and there are diverse ways to fight it.”

-    On information and belief, at the Employee of the Year Banquet, when Ms. Winkler was to give her “thought of the day,” she appeared with her husband, who is not a School Board employee, and explained because she was not able to offer a prayer, her husband would offer one in her stead. On information and belief, thereafter, on Ms. Winkler’s prompting her husband offered a prayer at the school-sponsored event. School District students and faculty, the Superintendent, community members, and one or more member of the School Board were present at the Employee-of-the-Year Banquet. See Ex. 86-02 at 17. On information and belief, no one either interceded and stopped Ms. Winkler or her husband or, if this was not possible, explained immediately after the prayer to the audience (and to Ms. Winkler) that the prayer at the school event was inappropriate, violated the Court’s order, and will not be accepted within the School District.

-    In response to this flagrant violation, by memorandum dated March 10, 2009, Linda Novota, a supervisor, explained that Mr. Crane had informed Ms. Winkler that “a prayer could not be given either by an employee or a non-employee,” Ms. Winkler had no authority to have her husband offer a prayer, and that she should not do so in the future. Ex. 86- 02 at 26. On information and belief, Ms. Winkler refused to acknowledge receipt of the memorandum by signing it. On information and belief, Defendants have taken no further action and Ms. Winkler has received no meaningful discipline by Defendants for her violation of this Court’s order.

Circuit court rules that parents cannot read from the Bible to public school class.

Writing for the court, 3rd Circuit Chief Judge Anthony J. Scirica said "parents of public school kindergarten students may reasonably expect their children will not become captive audiences to an adult's reading of religious texts."

When parents participate in an elementary school's curricular activities, Scirica said, school officials have the right to require that the parents refrain from promoting specific messages in class.

"Parents, much like teachers, are typically held in high regard and viewed as authoritative by young children. By inviting participation in curricular activities, educators do not cede control over the message and content of the subject matter presented in the classroom," Scirica wrote....

But Scirica said the courts must ultimately side with school officials who strive to avoid violating the Establishment Clause.

Judge allows high school graduation to be held in a church

"A ceremony in a church does not necessarily constitute a church ceremony," Clevert said from the bench.

In his ruling, Clevert rejected the comparison between holding a secular graduation ceremony in a church with a graduation ceremony that includes a prayer, which the U.S. Supreme Court has held unconstitutional.

Except there was a big ole cross hanging behind where the grads got their diplomas.

Interesting court case in Louisianna involving a school board that opens meetings with a prayer. The question is whether the prayer advances an particular religion. The board says it does not, so I'm sure they must not end their prayers with "In Jesus name we pray".

the ACLU says the board's system for picking prayer-givers is designed to exclude non-Christians. None of the area's Jewish or Muslim religious leaders have been asked to speak at a meeting, but the board has invited Christian leaders from outside the parish to deliver invocations, the ACLU says.

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