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A little over 3 years ago, a group of students at an Alabama high school recited the Lord’s Prayer together in the lunchroom, which prompted a suit by the parents of another student. In response, Judge Ira Dement, on October 29, 1997, termed the action "religiously based harassment" and issued a broad ruling that banned all forms of prayer in Alabama schools, including those which are voluntary and student-led. He also prohibited groups like the Gideons from distributing Bibles in schools, and even specifically barred prayer in times of national emergencies, such as wars or natural disasters. He then ordered federal monitors to stalk hallways and classrooms in search of any students or teachers who cared to pray on school grounds. The prayer police had arrived.

Fortunately for the future of religious freedom in this country, the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals overturned Judge DeMent’s ruling last October.

(From a sermon by Alison Bucklin, The Gift of Persecution, 6/8/2011)

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