Board prayer replaced with moment of silence (February 25, 2022)

FFRF was alerted that the Lebanon Community School Corporation Board in Indiana was beginning its meetings with a prayer. The agenda, found on the corporation’s website, showed that the Oct. 19, 2021, meeting listed the Pledge of Allegiance as the first item of business with no mention of prayer.

A video of the Oct. 19, 2021, meeting confirmed (even though any mention was missing from the agenda) that “as is our custom, we begin our time with a word of prayer.”

In a letter from FFRF Legal Fellow Karen Heineman to the school board president, it was emphasized that prayer alienates nonreligious Americans, who make up the fastest growing segment of the U.S. population by religious identification. Thirty-five percent of Americans are non-Christians, including more than one in four Americans who now identify as religiously unaffiliated.

“After consultation with its counsel, the board has decided to open the meeting with a moment of silence instead of a prayer,” the school district’s law firm wrote back. “That practice has been followed since receipt of your letter.”

Freedom From Religion Foundation