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Legal Guidelines For Prayer In School

Prayer in School is NOT illegal. In fact it is illegal for anyone to try and stop you!

I have spoken to dozens of educators in the last 2 months regarding the issue of prayer in school. The misconception is that prayer in school is illegal. This is a falsehood perpetrated on the Body of Christ. Most Christian teachers and parents feel hopeless. They want to have their children pray in school but have been intimidated by the falsehood that adults cannot participate with their children, in prayer, on school grounds. The truth is that it is illegal to try and stop you and your children from participating in organized prayer and worship—as long as a few simple guidelines are followed. For example; as a general rule, employees of the school district cannot initiate or participate in the activity. No problem—parents or any other adults can certainly organize the daily prayer groups. In order to simplify the process, we suggest that you do this during non-instructional time, i.e. before school, after school or at lunch time. The case law is cited below but it boils down to one simple fact: God has made it easy to worship at school. We don’t have to make new laws or fight the legal system, all we have to do is show up! We don’t have to form committees or make new laws—all we have to do is simply love God enough to worship Him at home, at school, at work—anywhere He is and He is everywhere. All He has ever wanted is a personal relationship with us, as individuals--it is impossible to have a relationship with someone without talking (and listening) to them.

As many of you know, I am running for the Montana State Legislature, House District 79. office of Governor of the State of Montana. I am his running mate on the Independent ticket. I am determined to do many things in leadership for this state—at the forefront of our campaign is to do everything possible to encourage our fellow citizens to turn back to God through our Lord Jesus, prayer is a crucial component..

Please do your part. You do not have to wait until November—you can begin now by simply taking an extra 15 minutes per day to pray, at school, with your children either before school, at lunch time, or after school. God has promissed that if we do that, if we set aside our denominational differences He will clog the liberal news media with reports of miracles--signs and wonders--on a scale, nationwide, that cannot be denied but that this cleansing fire is from Him--a fire of His Dunamis Holy Spirit power will sweep through our nation--if we fail to do this one small thing, on a daily basis, then the alternative is unimaginable (Acts 2:12-21; Joel 2:28; 2 Chronicles 7:14).

Love in Christ,

In His Service,

Mark Diaz.

Telephone: 406-298-0924

Email: godisforus@yahoo.com

Website: www.godisforus.ning.com

Prayer In School - Federal Legal Guidelines:


http://www.allaboutpopularissues.org/prayer-in-school-2.htm

Excerpts from: Guidance on Constitutionally Protected Prayer in Public Elementary & Secondary Schools (copyright, Jay Sekulow, www.ACLJ.org, February 7, 2003)

Prayer in School - Accommodation of Prayer During Instructional Time:
It has long been established that schools have the discretion to dismiss students to off-premises religious instruction, provided that schools do not encourage or discourage participation in such instruction or penalize students for attending or not attending. Similarly, schools may excuse students from class to remove a significant burden on their religious exercise, where doing so would not impose material burdens on other students. For example, it would be lawful for schools to excuse Muslim students briefly from class to enable them to fulfill their religious obligations to pray during Ramadan.

Where school officials have a practice of excusing students from class on the basis of parents' requests for accommodation of nonreligious needs, religiously motivated requests for excusal may not be accorded less favorable treatment. In addition, in some circumstances, based on federal or state constitutional law or pursuant to state statutes, schools may be required to make accommodations that relieve substantial burdens on students' religious exercise. Schools officials are therefore encouraged to consult with their attorneys regarding such obligations.

Prayer in School - Religious Expression and Prayer in Class Assignments:
Students may express their beliefs about religion in homework, artwork, and other written and oral assignments free from discrimination based on the religious content of their submissions. Such home and classroom work should be judged by ordinary academic standards of substance and relevance and against other legitimate pedagogical concerns identified by the school. Thus, if a teacher's assignment involves writing a poem, the work of a student who submits a poem in the form of a prayer (for example, a psalm) should be judged on the basis of academic standards (such as literary quality) and neither penalized nor rewarded on account of its religious content.

Prayer in School - Student Assemblies and Extracurricular Events:
Student speakers at student assemblies and extracurricular activities such as sporting events may not be selected on a basis that either favors or disfavors religious speech. Where student speakers are selected on the basis of genuinely neutral, evenhanded criteria and retain primary control over the content of their expression, that expression is not attributable to the school and therefore may not be restricted because of its religious (or anti-religious) content. By contrast, where school officials determine or substantially control the content of what is expressed, such speech is attributable to the school and may not include prayer or other specifically religious (or anti-religious) content. To avoid any mistaken perception that a school endorses student speech that is not in fact attributable to the school, school officials may make appropriate, neutral disclaimers to clarify that such speech (whether religious or nonreligious) is the speaker's and not the school's.

Prayer in School - Graduation Ceremonies:
School officials may not mandate or organize prayer at graduation or select speakers for such events in a manner that favors religious speech such as prayer. Where students or other private graduation speakers are selected on the basis of genuinely neutral, evenhanded criteria and retain control over the content of their expression, however, that expression is not attributable to the school and therefore may not be restricted because of its religious (or anti-religious) content. To avoid any mistaken perception that a school endorses student or other private speech that is not in fact attributable to the school, school officials may make appropriate, neutral disclaimers to clarify that such speech (whether religious or nonreligious) is the speaker’s and not the school’s.

Prayer in School – Baccalaureate Ceremonies:
School officials may not mandate or organize religious ceremonies. However, if a school makes its facilities and related services available to other private groups, it must make its facilities and services available on the same terms to organizers of privately sponsored religious baccalaureate ceremonies. In addition, a school may disclaim official endorsement of events sponsored by private groups, provided it does so in a manner that neither favors nor disfavors groups that meet to engage in prayer or religious speech.

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