Texas valedictorian will be allowed to pray
Mon, 06 Jun 2011 17:33:48 GMT —
(AP) -- A federal appeals court has lifted a ban on public prayer at a Texas high school graduation.
The ruling Friday reverses the decision of a lower court that sided with an agnostic family who sued the school district.
The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in favor of the Medina Valley Independent School District. The ruling allows students at the high school to say the words "amen" and invite the audience to pray during Saturday's graduation ceremony.
The lawsuit was filed on behalf of Christa and Danny Schultz, whose son is graduating. The family's suit was being backed by the Washington-based Americans United for Separation of Church and State.
The Schultzes claim traditions at graduation, including the invocation and benediction, excluded their beliefs and violated their constitutional rights.
KHQA's sister station KVII in Amarillo Texas posted Gov. Rick Perry's statement in response to the ruling. "This reprehensible action taken by a federal judge underscores the increasingly inappropriate federal encroachment into the lives of Americans by unconstitutionally banning prayer at a Texas high school graduation. The First Amendment prohibits governments from interfering with Americans' rights to freely express their religious beliefs, and accordingly the U.S. Supreme Court has maintained that Congress may convene every day with a prayer. I fully support Attorney General Abbott's efforts to defend the right to pray, and Texas will continue to stand behind all those who wish to pray in our state."
The state of Illinois allows for a moment of silence in schools, while the right to pray in public is going to Missouri voters next year. Click here to read more.
(The Associated Press contributed to this story.)