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Some clergy urge Scott to veto prayer bill

by John Kennedy | March 20th, 2012

Two ministers and a rabbi, backed by Florida groups which promote divisions between church and state, urged Gov. Rick Scott on Tuesday to veto legislation that would allow student-led prayer at school events.

Scott has indicated he supports the measure (SB 98), which allows school districts to enact policies allowing “inspirational messages” at school assemblies from kindergarten through high school. But Rev. Harold Brockus of Pinellas County, Rev. Harry Parrott of Clay County, and Rabbi Merrill Shapiro of Flagler County, said the legislation is misguided and violates religious liberty.

The clergy also represtent area chapters of Americans United for Separation of Church and State.

“This most basic liberty is built on a foundation of the freedom to exercise one’s religion and the freedom from government interference with religion,” the clergy wrote Scott.  “Without one part of the foundation, religious freedom will falter.  And thus, religious practice and teaching must remain the province of our homes, families, and houses of worship rather than imposed by majority will upon our public-school students.”

The bill would allow school boards to adopt policies giving students authority to deliver “an inspirational message” during the student portion of any assembly. Administrators, teachers, coaches and other school personnel would be prohibited from reviewing the message or editing it.

Florida law currently allows students to have a short period — no more than two minutes — at the start of each school day for silent prayer or meditation, and it allows volunteer prayer groups to meet at schools.

The legislation was approved by the House and Senate, with most Democrats opposing it. Critics warned courts would likely find the measure unconstitutional, and force school districts into costly legal battles if they chose to enact a policy authorizing inspirational messages.

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5 Responses to “Some clergy urge Scott to veto prayer bill”

  1. ALLEN WEST MUST GO Says:

    So much for freedom of religion.

    So much for the Constitution.

    In Florida, by edict of the State, you are either a Christian or an “Other”.

    REJECT ALL REPUBLICANS IN NOVEMBER.

    V-O-T-E!

  2. ALLEN WEST MUST GO Says:

    CALL THE TYRANT:

    (850) 488-7146

    TELL HIM WE WILL NOT ACCEPT THIS FASCISM IN THE STATE OF FLORIDA.

  3. History repeats itself Says:

    Funny how the Pilgrims fled England so many years ago because of state sanctioned religious persecution, and now the country they fled to is slowly turning into what England was back then.

  4. maoriii Says:

    How much for the Little Boy Governor? How much is “APPROPRIATE”?

  5. maoriii Says:

    How much for the Little Boy Governor? How much is “APPROPRIATE”?

    It is the cynic that knows the PRICE of everything yet the VALUE of nothing.

    It is the Republicans the sow the seeds of fear, pestilence and death on our community.

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