Thursday, February 09, 2017

Court Upholds Denial of Football Stadium Loudspeakers For Prayer

In Cambridge Christian School, Inc. v. Florida High School Athletic Association, Inc., (MD FL, Feb. 3, 2017), a Florida federal magistrate judge recommended dismissing a suit brought by a Christian high school complaining that it was denied permission to use the stadium loudspeaker system to deliver a prayer at the Championship Game in which its football team was playing.  The opinion finds that mere denial of loudspeaker access did not amount to a free exercise violation, saying in part:
Nowhere ... is there a single allegation that Cambridge Christian or any of its members were deprived of their right to pray at the Championship Game. On the contrary, both Cambridge Christian’s team and the opposing team were permitted to pray together at the most centrally focused and public area of the Stadium—the 50-yard line.... There are no allegations that Cambridge Christian was prohibited from passing out flyers with pre-printed prayers or that the cheerleaders were prohibited from holding up large signs spelling out prayers for those in the stands to say in concert with the team.
The opinion also rejected free speech and Establishment Clause claims. WUSF reports on the decision.