Tyronza City Council hears from EPC superintendent regarding prayer decision

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Superintendent Michael Pierce addressed the Tyronza City Council, and several Tyronza residents, this week regarding EPC school district's recent decision to end prayer over loudspeaker before football games.

He showed the council copies of a letter he received from Freedom From Religion Foundation attorney Patrick Elliot, which urges the district to end prayer over the loudspeaker.

The reason given in the letter for this was that "religious messages delivered and displayed at football games constitute an unconstitutional government endorsement of religion...religious messages offered at school-sponsored events would lead anyone participating on the team or in attendance to believe that the District is endorsing religion. They show preference for religion over non-religion and for Christianity over all other religions. This alienates the 15 percent of Americans who are non-religious."

Superintendent Pierce told the council he contacted the school board attorney who told him the law was clear on the matter and strongly recommended discontinuing the practice.

A school board member present at the meeting said the decision had not been an easy one, that the board hated to do it and felt backed into a legal corner.

Superintendent Pierce said this would only affect prayer over loudspeaker during football games at EPC. "There are no other policies regulating school prayer," he said.

"We're unhappy about it," Mayor Marion Bearden said. "It's time for Christians to take a stand. Communities are going to have to stand up and make a difference.

In other business, the council:

*approved the Planning and Zoning Committee members.

*approved selling equipment the city does not use in a public auction. This includes a mosquito spray rig, a street sweeper, a Rhino finishing mower, and a 1996 Dodge truck.

*passed an ordinance adopting the 2013 budget.

Mayor Bearden announced there will be a public meeting at 6:30 p.m., Tuesday, Jan. 15, at city hall regarding the senior citizen building under construction. She said the USDA will be at the meeting and encouraged people to attend.

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  • 15% of Americans who are not religious,let's see 100% minus 15% = 85% Americans who are. I believe if the EPC school board let the community vote you would have prayer over the loud speaker. Majority rules I believe,and let the freedom from religion foundation take it from there.

    -- Posted by larryrckmn on Sun, Jan 13, 2013, at 8:07 AM
  • larryrckmn, you're wrong. Majority doesn't rule in this regard, the Constitution does. You need to get educated about that. At least the simple math you did was correct though. You need to research the Establishment Clause. It covers the whole story for you and why prayer as such cannot happen in school. Without the Establishment Clause can you have Free Exercize Clause. Your premise allows for Free Exercize without Establishment, which, in reverse, would undermine your choice in religious practice. You wouldn't want that now, would you?

    -- Posted by Whachutalkinabout on Mon, Jan 14, 2013, at 2:58 PM
  • The Constitution is clear on this matter. If you want a government that sponsors religion, please move to Iran. The endless hypocrisy of conservative christians never ceases to amaze me.

    -- Posted by Michael H on Mon, Jan 14, 2013, at 3:39 PM
  • Some of the people watching the football games are Muslims, Hindu, and Mormons. Does the school offer prayer for these people over the loudspeaker at football games?

    -- Posted by alanwil2 on Mon, Jan 14, 2013, at 4:05 PM
  • The real shame here is that it took a letter and legal advice to change something so obviously bias. It should never have to come down to threats of litigation for the right thing to be done, period.

    -- Posted by LisaH on Mon, Jan 14, 2013, at 4:24 PM
  • larryrckmn on Sun, Jan 13... "15% of Americans who are not religious,let's see 100% minus 15% = 85% Americans who are. Majority rules I believe."

    Well, actually in this country, our Constitution protects the minority from the majority, so your "belief" that majority rules is false. But even if it were true, your argument still fails because, only 33% of the 7.2 billion inhabitants of our little planet are Christians. 67% fully reject Jesus as their savior.

    So your argument fails on both counts.

    BTW, I have always wondered why, after 2000 years of effort, only 33% profess to be Christian. One would think that with 2000 years to practice, Jesus could have done a little better than that. Even the sorry Houston Astros had a better win-loss record last year with 34%. And they only had six weeks to practice, not 2000 years. Let's admit it Larry. Jesus is definitely an underachiever.

    -- Posted by CharlieS on Mon, Jan 14, 2013, at 4:59 PM
  • I believe your analysis of Jesus may be a little far fetching,and your 33% I'm not sure where you got that from.And the protection of the minority from the majority,just BS. I never mentioned Jesus in my post you brought that up not me.I believe muslems Hindu and Mormons have the right to pray at games if they so desire. You don't object to that, now do you.

    -- Posted by larryrckmn on Thu, Jan 17, 2013, at 7:23 AM
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