Vermont Public Radio reports that Franklin resident Marilyn Hackett had asked the town for years to stop inviting a local pastor to offer a Christian prayer at the start of the meeting. She sued the town and its moderator to stop the practice after last year's meeting.
Franklin officials decided to suspend the tradition at their town meeting on Tuesday following advice from their lawyer.
Since the town votes from the floor and residents have to attend to be heard, the Vermont Chapter of the ACLU says residents are being compelled to attend religious worship.
A judge has not yet ruled on the case.
AP Story reported by NewsMax, March 11, 2012
The First Amendment reads "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press,or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances." The term "separation of church and state" does not appear in The Constitution and would not appear until a 1947 Supreme Court decision, see Everson vs. Board of Education. So how did we get to today's situation in which organizations like the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) are able to raise a challenge every time a prayer is said before a a football game?
I blame activist judges serving without review on liberal activist courts bent on 'protecting' anyone and everyone from being offended by religious speech. Thus the amendment designed to guarantee 'freedom of speech' is being used to restrict religious speech or more accurately biblical speech. Atheists and agnostics have hijacked the issue and used organizations like the ACLU to bully, through lawsuits and threats of litigation, school districts, small towns, and other public entities unable to affort the costs of defending such litigious assaults.
All one has to do is read the writings of the founders generated during the ratification process and the arguments offered while The Constitution was being drafted to clearly understand what their basic concerns were. Their explicit intention was to craft a government that did not create, establish, or impose a religion on anyone OR interfere with the way they practiced their religion.
Judicial activists have twisted that concept until the government now BANS what WAS protected speech. As a result, we cannot pray at ball games, graduations, assemblies, etc. because to do so might IMPLY a governmental preference for one belief system over another.
As a principal, I kept a Bible open on my desk at all times in protest of this state of affairs. We are just now seeing anti-ACLU organizations willing and financially able to challenge the ACLU on behalf of school districts and small towns. I hope it is not 'too little, too late'.