Florida legislators could discuss prayer at high school games
The issue came up this week, as lawmakers were discussing proposals that would change the way the state high school association operates. In December, two Christian football teams were barred from praying over the stadium’s PA system, a policy that bothered Republican Sen. Jeff Brandes.Brandes said he is checking with senate lawyers to see if changes to state law would allow schools to pray over a facility’s loudspeakers. The Florida High School Athletic Association pointed to a U.S. Supreme Court decision in 2000 that said prayer at games is a violation of the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment.
According to the Miami Herald, Brandes is consulting with attorneys to see whether the state is correctly interpreting the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling.
From the article:
The executive director for the FHSAA explained to senators that the organization could not grant permission for the Christian schools to broadcast prayer, because the game was an FHSAA-sanctioned event at a public facility and because the FHSAA gets its governing authority through Florida law, which would make it a “state actor” in the public prayer.
“We told both schools, they could pray before the game, they could pray at halftime, they could pray after the game — whatever they wanted to do with their teams,” he said. “And they did. But you can’t get on the loud speaker at a public entity — the Citrus Bowl in Orlando — at an event that is sponsored by the FHSAA, a state actor, and lead the entire group in prayer.”
The issue of prayer at games has also been a hot topic in Oklahoma and Georgia.
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