Tag: prayer

June 5, 2015
logo for the University of Toledo sports teams

Last week I posted about a letter the Freedom From Religion Foundation sent to the President of the University of Toledo complaining about the head football coach Matt Campbell being seen, in a video, leading a prayer before a game in 2012. The Toledo Blade published an editorial, on May 29th, supporting Coach Campbell and I had a letter to the editor published responding to their wrong conclusion.

The Blade editorial seemed to say the only thing wrong was that the prayers were made public when the University posted the video on YouTube.

May 27, 2015
screencap of Coach Matt Campbell leading prayer at University of Toledo 2012
Coach Matt Campbell leads prayer before a game at the University of Toledo in 2012

Last week, the Freedom from Religion Foundation (FFRF) sent a letter to the University of Toledo to advise them that their head football coach Matt Campbell violated the 1st amendment by leading his team in prayer before a game in 2012. Coaches, just like any other teacher, should NOT be leading prayers at a public school since the students don’t have a real choice to participate and the coach is making a big assumption that all the players believe the same way he does.

April 24, 2015
crowd Protesting Indiana's bad religious freedom bill
Crowd protesting Indiana’s bad religious freedom bill March 2015

We are on the cusp of probably seeing same-sex marriage bans joining school mandated prayer in the dust bin of history. The road from DC is looking like an end to religious privilege. The war has instead moved to the state houses around the country where the right-wing is doing all it can to deny basic human dignity and worth by forcing Christianity on the residents of their states.

In a Salon article, Evan McMurry, from AlterNet, detailed at least four areas the right-wing religious conservatives are flexing what muscles they have left:

August 11, 2013
photo of people praying before a meeting
Praying before a meeting

Town of Greece v. Galloway is a US Supreme Court case to heard in the fall that might set the boundaries for prayers before town council meetings so they aren’t a violation of the separation of church and state. One interesting thing to come out of the pre-hearing filings is that the Obama administration is supporting the prayers. I really never knew why it was so important for an elected body to pray before working since prayers don’t make elected officials do a better job nor do the prayers improve living in a certain town or county. As one church state group put it, a town council meeting ‘isn’t a church service and it shouldn’t seem like one.’

We found out this week that President Obama’s administration weighed in on the case in an amicus brief and took the side of the town council.

January 7, 2013
image of a little girl praying

The new year begins much like the old year ended with unnecessary calls for “returning” religious prayer to the public schools. Indiana State Senator Dennis Kruse (R) introduced a bill, on the first day of a new legislative session, to force children in public schools to pray at the start of each day. Not only would such a law violate the 1st amendment, it simply isn’t needed. Prayer wasn’t removed from schools, only forced recitation is prohibited.

June 13, 2012
image of Michael B. Coleman - Mayor of Columbus Ohio
Michael B. Coleman – Mayor of Columbus Ohio

The mayor of Columbus, Ohio, Michael B. Coleman has been sponsoring and hosting an Interfaith Prayer Luncheon for the past 13 years and using city resources to sell tickets and promote it. Last week he got a letter from the Freedom of Religion Foundation letting him know that the luncheon violated the law. He decided to not to get a legal opinion from the city legal department but in his speech at the event he doubled down on violating the law.