SPRINGFIELD, IL (IRN) - An Illinois lawmaker says what we need is prayer – or at least religious symbolism – in schools.
The lawmaker is State Rep. La Shawn Ford (D-Chicago), who came out of the blue with it when he was speaking with a group of ministers.
“I also urge the ministers here to fight to get prayer back in schools. That’s a mission that we need to do. We need to make sure that we get prayer back in schools in some form or fashion,” he said.
If there’s not prayer in school, Ford says schools should be free to establish shrines of religious symbols, so students would have a place to go “when they feel weak.”
Official prayer was banned in public schools by two U.S. Supreme Court decisions – the Engel ruling in 1962, which banned school-sponsored prayer in public schools, and the Abington decision in 1963, which similarly banned Bible readings and other religious observances.
Courts have consistently held, however, that individual students have a right to pray in school, but the prayers can’t be promoted, sponsored or led by the Board of Education.
None of the ministers gathered expressed support for Ford’s idea. One of them said it’s “not a priority.”