Judge William Hand: Alabama Can't Enforce New Voluntary Prayer Law

U.S. District Judge William Brevard Hand rules that Alabama cannot enforce a new voluntary prayer law until a trial can be held to determine if it is constitutional or not.

Under this law, teachers in public schools "may pray, may lead willing students in prayer, or may lead the willing students" in a suggested prayer written by Fob James III, son of Alabama governor Fob James.

The suggested prayer says:

"Almighty God, You alone are our God. We acknowledge You as the Creator and Supreme Judge of the world.

May Your Justice, Your Truth and Your Peace abound this day in the hearts of our countrymen, in the counsels of our government, in the sanctity of our homes and in the classrooms of our schools.

In the name of Our Lord, Amen.

Judge Hand writes in his decision:

"This court makes it absolutely clear that by this injunction it holds only that the state of Alabama must remain neutral in respect to establishing religions. ...

The state of Alabama may not coerce or encourage participation in religious activities."

The law was challenged by Ishmael Jaffree, an agnostic attorney from Mobile, Alabama. He tells reporters: I would hope that the defendants realize the law is against them and that they would not try to pursue it any further."

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