A South Carolina judge ruled partly in favor of the practice of Christian prayers during high school graduation ceremonies.
U.S. District Judge Bruce Howe Hendricks ruled on Monday in favor of a complaint against the prayers, but the federal judge also did not ban the prayers at graduation, according to Christian News Network.
Under the ruling, Hendricks said that school-sponsored prayer is unconstitutional but “spontaneous” student prayer is allowed.
The case came after an anonymous couple reached out to the American Humanist Association in 2013. The couple complained that the Mountain View Elementary School held its graduation at a chapel at a Christian university and that prayer was presented at the graduation.
The AHA wrote to the Greenville School District and asked that it change the location for upcoming events and stop prayers at school ceremonies. The district refused and AHA filed a lawsuit.
A district court judge dismissed the location aspect of the case, and the prayer issue was taken to a federal judge.
“It’s a sad day when the courts allow students to be subjected to Christian prayers during what should be a secular graduation ceremony,” executive director of AHA Roy Speckhardt said in a statement. “These prayers exclude kids and families of minority faiths and no faith.”
Said the Greenville County School District: “We remain confident of our position in maintaining an educational environment, including an awards program, in which individuals are treated with equal dignity and respect regardless of religion or faith,” it said in a statement.
Publication date: May 21, 2015