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Legislators debate issue of prayer at Oklahoma football games

Oklahoma legislators have vowed to fight a policy by the state activities association that bars student-led prayer over the public address system at high school football games.

OSSAAOklahoma Secondary School Activities Association Executive Director Ed Sheakley told CNHI News Service that the organization is adhering to a Supreme Court ruling. The Supreme Court determined in 2000 — Santa Fe Independent School District v. Doe — that student-led prayer at football games is a violation of the Establishment Clause in the First Amendment.

The OSSAA recently tried to clarify the wording of its existing policy, and that prompted a response from lawmakers. Rep. Bobby Cleveland (R-Slaughterville) told CNHI News Service that 20 to 25 legislators are willing to join him in fighting the policy.

From the article:

“All we’re saying, as representatives, is if the school has been having prayer over the P.A. system at their games all season long, they should be allowed to continue,” Cleveland said. “If you do it correctly, then you can do it over the P.A. system, the courts have allowed that. For example, you could have a student chosen by the student body come up and make an announcement before the game and that could include a brief prayer. The courts have supported that.”

Sheakley didn’t agree.

“They need to go and read the decision,” Sheakley said in response to Cleveland’s assertion.

Students are allowed to pray privately before games. There is no penalty if a school is found to be in violation of the policy, but Sheakley said that school would be reminded of the rules that are in place.

Click here to read the complete article.

 


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