The American Humanist Association has lost its legal case in an attempt to stop a Texas school board from opening their meetings with prayer.
Since 1997, the Birdville Independent School Board has invited students, usually from elementary and middle schools, to open their meetings with prayer. Mat Staver of the Liberty Counsel reports the Fifth U.S. Circuit Court of appeals voted unanimously in favor of the school.
"[In] this particular situation ... the school board ... allowed students to lead prayer and even invite the audience to participate in that prayer," the attorney shares, "and often [students] used the name 'Jesus' as part of the prayers."
Staver points out that the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that prayers at the legislative level and at the local level don't violate the Constitution.
"The board members often stand [and] bow their heads, and the participants in the audience sometimes participate in that prayer – but that is not an establishment of religion," he explains. "No one is being coerced or forced and no one is being required to believe any certain way. This is clearly constitutional and this is the correct decision."
The American Humanists issued a press release indicating that it will file a petition to seek an en banc hearing in the case.