Journal Express, Knoxville, IA

Community News Network

July 26, 2013

Atheist group demands Ala. schools cancel 'prayer caravan'

CULLMAN, Ala. — An atheist rights group is demanding that the superintendent of a northern Alabama school district cancel a "prayer caravan" set for early August, or face a potential lawsuit claiming the system is forcing religion on students.

The Wisconsin-based Freedom From Religion Foundation sent a letter to Cullman County School Superintendent Billy Coleman this week. It asks that Coleman, who was a Christian pastor before becoming superintendent three years ago, cancel the Aug. 10 event, which would hold a 15-20 minute prayer session at each Cullman County campus before the start of the school year.

The group called the event an "especially egregious violation" of the separation of church and state, and claims the system is breaking the law by endorsing a religious event.

"It was organized in his power as superintendent, and was posted on the official school web site, so there's no doubt it was school-sponsored," FFRF attorney Andrew Seidel said. "The fact that it's happening on a Saturday, or that it's being called voluntary, is irrelevant. The fact is he organized it as superintendent, and he has to cancel it as superintendent."

Despite the threat, Coleman said the day of prayer will go on as planned. Coleman contends the prayer caravan is an unsponsored, voluntary event, comparable to the frequent prayers at the flagpole held at campuses nationwide.

"We're not going to cancel it," Coleman said. "We're not praying for our schools to make a point. We're praying for our schools because we want to thank God for the blessings he gives us, and pray for our students and communities."

The prayer caravan was started by Coleman when he took office, and it's now in its third year.

"I've always been outspoken about my faith and I'm not ashamed of that, but we'd never try to cram anything down anybody's throat,” Coleman said. “I believe the best thing we, as Christians, can do is just live our faith everyday."

The foundation specifically criticized the school system for using the district website and social media accounts to promote the event. Those posts have since been taken down.

Coleman said he was drafting a letter to the foundation to explain that the prayer caravan is not an official school system event.

1
Text Only
Community News Network
  • Smartphone kill switches are coming

    Smartphones need kill switches. It's a relatively easy solution to the pricey (and irritating) problem of smartphone theft. But who would have thought that the big carriers would team up with Apple, Google, Microsoft, Nokia, Samsung and lots of other manufacturers to voluntarily begin adding the technology by July 2015? The cooperative spirit! It makes so much sense!

    April 18, 2014

  • Why do wolves howl?

    Of all the myths that dog the wolf, none is more widely accepted than the idea that wolves howl at the moon. Images of wolves with their heads upturned, singing at the night sky, are as unquestioned as a goldfish's three-second memory or a dog's color-blindness (both also myths).

    April 18, 2014

  • Biggest student loan profits come from grad students

    This week, the Congressional Budget Office projected that the federal government would earn roughly $127 billion from student lending during the next 10 years.

    April 18, 2014

  • quake.jpg Pennsylvania won’t take action following Ohio ruling on quakes, fracking

    Pennsylvania officials plan no action despite new Ohio rules on drilling that affect a seismically active area near the state line.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • VIDEO: Boston bomb scare defendant appears in court

    The man accused of carrying a backpack containing a rice cooker near the Boston Marathon finish line on the anniversary of the bombings was arraigned Wednesday. He's being held on $100,000 bail.

    April 17, 2014

  • Consumer spending on health care jumps as Affordable Care Act takes hold

    Nancy Beigel has known since September that she would need hernia surgery. She couldn't afford it on her $11,000 yearly income until she became eligible for Medicaid in January through President Barack Obama's signature health care law.

    April 17, 2014

  • The case for separate beds

    The other night I slept on a twin bed in the guest room of the house I share with my husband and our two kids.
    It was the best night's sleep I've had in years.

    April 17, 2014

  • Raw oysters spike U.S. rise in bacterial infections, CDC reports

    Raw oysters, so good with hot sauce, increasingly can carry something even more unsettling to the stomach: A bacteria linked to vomiting, diarrhea and pain.

    April 17, 2014

  • To sleep well, you may need to adjust what you eat and when

    Sleep.  Oh, to sleep.  A good night's sleep is often a struggle for more than half of American adults.  And for occasional insomnia, there are good reasons to avoid using medications, whether over-the-counter or prescription.

    April 16, 2014

  • Doctors to rate cost effectiveness of expensive cancer drugs

    The world's largest organization of cancer doctors plans to rate the cost effectiveness of expensive oncology drugs, and will urge physicians to use the ratings to discuss the costs with their patients.

    April 16, 2014

Features
AP Video
Raw: Fire Destroys 3 N.J. Beachfront Homes Raw: Space X Launches to Space Station Man Charged in Kansas City Highway Shootings Obama Awards Navy Football Trophy Ceremony at MIT Remembers One of Boston's Finest Raw: Students Hurt in Colo. School Bus Crash Raw: Church Tries for Record With Chalk Jesus Police Arrest Suspect in Highway Shootings Drought Concerns May Hurt Lake Tourism Vermont Goat Meat Gives Refugees Taste of Home Calif. Investigators Re-construct Fatal Bus Cras Appellate Court Hears Okla. Gay Marriage Case Horseless Carriage Introduced at NY Auto Show Chelsea Clinton Is Pregnant Beau Biden Plans 2016 Run for Del. Governor Flamingo Frenzy Ahead of Zoo Construction Obama: 8 Million Healthcare Signups Obama Hopeful on Ukraine, Will Watch Russians U.S. Sending Nonlethal Aid to Ukraine Military Holder: Americans Stand With KC Mourners
Facebook
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Poll

Which service of the Knoxville Chamber of Commerce do you believe is most beneficial for its membership?

Events
Legislative lobbying
Promotional material publication
Educational programs for the community
Other
     View Results