Nebraska court upholds dismissal of Lord's Prayer lawsuit

Posted: Friday, August 29, 2003

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) A federal appeals court has thrown out a lawsuit against a Nebraska public school district and a school board member who led students in reciting the Lord's Prayer at the 2000 high school graduation.

The 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals agreed with a lower federal judge who dismissed an American Civil Liberties Union suit that contended the Norfolk school district violated church-state separation.

The earlier ruling found no evidence that school officials knew what board member Jim Scheer would say beforehand and said his remarks were private, not made in his capacity as a school official.

School board members traditionally speak if they have a child graduating, and Scheer's son was in the class.

Dissenting Judge Morris Arnold said Scheer used his office in a transparent effort to thwart the Constitution. ''This was a religious act, pure and simple, at a state-sponsored event,'' he said.

Scheer's prayer came after the school board decided to end the tradition of student-led prayer at graduation because a complaint had been filed.

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