FFRF muffles athletic prayer at Kentucky high school (March 20, 2012)

The Freedom From Religion Foundation has prevented a local minister from delivering another pregame prayer over the loudspeaker at Madisonville-North Hopkins High School in Madisonville, Ky.

A minister delivered an invocation over the public address system at the Region 2 Boys Basketball finals on March 6. A local complainant informed FFRF that the minister issued a Christian prayer, even after FFRF warned the school about illegal school prayer last fall. FFRF Co-Presidents Dan Barker and Annie Laurie Gaylor sent out a statewide memorandum to all Kentucky superintendents prior to the 2011 athletic season. Senior Staff Attorney Rebecca Markert followed up with Superintendent James Stevens in a March 12 letter: “As was made clear last fall, it is illegal for a public school to organize, sponsor, and lead prayers at public high school athletic events.”

An attorney for the school district responded to Markert on March 20: “We have conducted an investigation into this matter and we are aware of the federal law which has been established on this issue. We appreciate your reiterating it to us and we have taken steps to ensure compliance with federal law on this issue. Superintendent James Lee Stevens will address this issue with all Principals and District level Administrators at the monthly administrators’ meetings and will ensure compliance with federal law on this issue.” 

Freedom From Religion Foundation