A Republican US governor from Mississippi called for the re-introduction of non-denominational school prayer.
In an article for online newspaper Huffington Post, Gregory Krist reported that Phil Bryant, Mississippi governor and a Methodist, advocated non-denominational school prayer in front of an audience of teenagers.
He told 300 students, ‘I don’t think it hurt us at all. I think it built our character, and it is what we should continue to do’.
Mr Bryant is reported as having told reporters that school prayer, even non-denominational prayer, would ‘let people know there is a God and children should know that he does care about them, particularly within their classroom’.
However, such a move can only be changed by an act of the federal government and, possibly, the Supreme Court.
The comments came at a politically sensitive time for the Bible Belt. According to the Huffington Post, the Freedom From Religion Foundation has filed a lawsuit against School District Five of Lexington and Richland counties over a district policy that sets benediction and invocation practices for school events.
Meanwhile, a Virginia public high school has signed a settlement to allow it to display a page from a history textbook depicting the Ten Commandments.
Originally, Narrow High School in Giles County had a frame of the Ten Commandments on view, prompting a lawsuit last September from the American Civil Liberties Union of Virginia, who argued that the display violated the separation of church and state.
According to the settlement, the school will instead display the history textbook’s image of the Ten Commandments along with the title ‘Roots of Democracy’.
The decision to display the textbook page came when the school board voted five-nil in favour of replacing the Commandments, which had hung for a year and a half.