Agape Press reports on an ACLU lawsuit against Doniphan Elementary School in Missouri for opening mandatory school assemblies with Christian prayers. This is a really, really easy case where the school is absolutely certain to lose, but Liberty Counsel, a religious right legal group, has taken the case anyway. And listen to what their director has to say:
Liberty Counsel, which is based in Orlando, Florida, has offered to represent the Doniphan School District free of charge in the case. Mat Staver, founder and chairman of Liberty Counsel, says it is unfortunate, but there is a difference between when the Constitution says and what today’s courts are saying about school prayer.
“Under the current interpretation by the courts, right or wrong, the ultimate result would be if you have a mandatory prayer in the public school classroom, then that would be ruled unconstitutional,” Staver explains. “If the students, however, had an opportunity for a moment of silence, that is permissible; or if they wanted to voluntarily pray or have a moment of silence among themselves, certainly that is permissible as well.”
In this particular case and under the current interpretation, says the Liberty Counsel founder, such prayers likely would be ruled unconstitutional.
Staver appears to be saying that he thinks mandatory prayer should be constitutional. What of the rights of non-Christians not to be forced to take part or listen to religious exercises in a place the government requires them to be? I guess they don’t matter. This case is absolutely a no-brainer. The school’s policy has no secular purpose at all and only has the effect of advancing the Christian faith, at the expense of the rights of non-Christians. And it shows that groups like Liberty Counsel aren’t just trying to protect religious liberty (there is none at stake here), they really are interested in forcing non-Christians to take part in their religious exercises.