South Carolina School Board To Vote On Controversial Prayer Policy

| by Tony Tran
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A South Carolina school board is discussing the controversial issue of prayer before meetings.

After four months of putting the issue aside, the School Board of Pickens county has decided to take another look at the issue of prayer.

Currently, the board members are allowed to recite a nonsectarian prayer -- one that does not mention the name of any specific deity or god -- at the beginning of every meeting. Members of the community, such as rabbis and priests, are allowed to pray before the meetings in any way they feel.

After being set aside for months in order to consult the counsel of the district's insurance company as well as the state attorney general, information has now arisen that clears up the questions about the district's position on the prayers before meetings.

The policy would allow priests and rabbis to continue praying before the meetings on a rotating basis. This is based on a U.S. Supreme Court-approved policy utilized by the town of Greece, New York, which will provide a "road map" to the school district, according to The State.

"A motion is tabled to postpone an item for future consideration, not kill it," said Trustee Andrew Saitta. "Months have passed since that information has come back to the board. The policy deserves a simple up or down vote."

Despite Saitta's wishes, the board voted 3-2 for the issue to be discussed at next month's meeting on March 23.

As it stands, the policy was enacted after the district received a letter from the Freedom From Religion Foundation, which criticized the board for previously allowing students to deliver prayers before meetings and called it "a serious constitutional violation."

This comes at the heels of a man suing a Florida school district after he was told he was not allowed to disrupt a school board meeting invocation with chanted prayer, despite a rabbi being allowed to say his blessings before the meeting.  

Source: The State / Photo Credit: Flickr, via The State