'Pray-in' serves as protest against ACLU

Posted: Friday, October 24, 2003

LORANGER, La. (AP) A ''pray in'' before the latest Loranger High School football game drew enough people to surround the football field in what amounted to a protest against the American Civil Liberties Union.

LHS is a target in the third ACLU-related lawsuit over religion filed against the school board in the last nine years.

The latest complaint was filed in federal court Tuesday in New Orleans on behalf of a Loranger resident identified only as John Doe and minor sons James and Jack Doe, who are LHS students.

The complaint alleges the school board endorses prayers or religion at LHS football games, during the school day and at board meetings, in violation of school policy and the Constitution.

Loranger United Methodist Church sold shirts Friday saying, ''Yes, I'll pray,'' School Board member Sandra Bailey-Simmons said. Community leaders and other church leaders also participated in the event last Friday.

Louisiana ACLU director Joe Cook said he watched the ''pray-in'' on television.

''The message that was sent that night was 'only Christians are welcome here at this event,''' Cook said. ''It also sends a very bad message to students that the majority can trump the rights of those in the minority or those who believe in the separation of church and state.''

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