Florida conservative Christian group objects to school prayer bill
The Florida Family Policy Council, one of the most influential anti-gay rights and anti-abortion groups in the state, is joining the chorus of opposition to a school prayer bill quickly making its way through the Florida Legislature.
The bill, which would allow K-12 students to pray during all school events, has already been denounced by groups such as the ACLU of Florida and the Anti-Defamation League. Those groups have warned that the bill is unconstitutional and would insert the state into even more costly litigation. More recently, however, the Liberty Counsel — a conservative Christian legal group — has also said it would urge House members to defeat the bill.
Matthew Staver, the founder of the Liberty Counsel, told the Palm Beach Post last week, that he is ”an advocate of student speech, but this bill will run into constitutional problems and I don’t think it’s right to make school districts litigate this issue again — and they will have to.”
The Anti-Defamation League announced today that yet another religious advocacy group, which also traditionally does not ”share the same views with ADL on issues of religion in the public schools,” is opposed to the school prayer bill “because it is likely unconstitutional.”
The league said in a statement that:
According to Florida Family Policy Council’s February 17th Insider’s Report:
“…Mat Staver of Liberty Counsel who is also Dean of the Law School at Liberty University and one of the leading Religious Liberty experts in the country has recently come forth and publicly opposed the bill and asked the legislature to defeat it. Our own President and General Counsel John Stemberger has many of the same concerns. Both these lawyers believe the bill has major constitutional problems and is likely to get struck down under the current case law and only after many years and legal expenses has been invested trying to defend it.”
“When advocacy groups as divergent as ADL, ACLU, Florida Family Policy Council and Liberty Counsel all agree that the bill is unconstitutional – the legislation must be inherently flawed,” the Anti-Defamation League’s David Barkey said in a statement today. ”Therefore we urge the Judiciary Committee to oppose this unwise measure and save taxpayers the completely unnecessary litigation expenses that will undoubtedly be incurred should CS–SB 98 become law.”
The bill has already passed in the Senate. The bill’s Senate sponsor, state. Sen. Gary Siplin, D-Orlando, is currently working to get the bill through the House.
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