Religion

Alabama Public School Under Fire For Religious Practices

| by Tony Tran

A city in Alabama is changing their policies following a court battle with the Freedom from Religion Foundation (FFRF).

The organization -- which seeks to ensure religion and public schools remain separate -- claimed that the school carried out numerous “constitutional violations.”

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After reaching out to the Homewood City, Alabama, school district’s attorney last year with a list of religious entanglement issues brought to its attention by a concerned parent, the group took the school to court.

The issues ranged from “instances of public prayer and unlawful church recruiting practices,” according to Alabama.com and detail events such as when the football team had a “team chaplain” who prayed before a weekly team pizza meal.

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According to the letter, local churches were allowed to set up tables with brochures and promote their religions at lunch time. FFRF also noted the school’s First Priority Club, a group which met every Wednesday morning in the school gym. While they met, students were required to congregate if they arrived at school before class. A pastor led a worship service over an amplified loudspeaker. It was also led and organized by a teacher, which is not allowed under the Federal Equal Access Act.

The complaint also noted that, “having a team chaplain, team prayers led by adults, staff participating in team prayers, and the general mixing of public school sports with religion is unconstitutional” and that, “the law prohibits schools from allowing churches to use the schools as a recruiting ground, even during lunch.”

Source: Alabama.com Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons, Christopher Sessums/Flickr