Religion

Man Threatens School With Lawsuit After Prayer Conflict

| by Tony Tran

A Florida man might soon see himself in court facing off against the Escambia County School Board due to one divisive issue: prayer.

David Suhor is "a musician, singing telegram, and self-described agnostic pagan pantheist," according to the Pensacola News Journal, and frequently appears at the school board meetings in order to disrupt proceedings with chanted prayers. The disruption is a form of protest as he wants to end the school's habit of praying before meetings, according to the newspaper.

For instance, during the board's meeting last month, the musician chanted while rabbi Joel Fleekop, who had been invited by a board member, attempted to say a brief prayer.

"The ECSB is determined to do whatever they want (lead the room in CHRISTIAN prayer), regardless of the legality of such activities," Suhor wrote on his blog. "They even disregard their own attorney's advice to the contrary. The last thing they want to do is bring a policy for public discussion or answer letters. I foresee a lawsuit."

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The Freedom From Religion Foundation has been alerted to the case, and recently sent the school board's lawyer a letter on Wednesday asking that they cease the prayers before meetings.

"Prayer at public school meetings is unnecessary, inappropriate, and as the board is discovering, divisive," the letter said. " ... The board should cease prayer at board meetings."

The school board has been weighing their options on what to do with Suhor for the time being.

"It was infuriating to me," said board member Josh Bergosh, who has gotten into heated debate with Suhor on their respective blogs. "It was extremely disrespectful. It was an attack. It was an attack on my invited guest ... We've got to find a way to rein this person in. I understand people have freedom of speech and freedom of expression, but when you cross the line and are disrupting a meeting and insulting invited guests, it must be shut down."

Source: The Pensacola News Journal Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons