Judge tells RI school to take down prayer banner

According to U.S. District Court Judge Ronald Lagueux, a prayer banner hanging at Cranston West High School had to be removed immediately. According to the Justice’s decision, “The purpose of the prayer banner was clearly religious in nature,” and that “no amount of debate can make the school prayer anything other than a prayer, and a Christian one at that.”
Jessice Ahlquist, a Cranston West student brought suit against the city over the banner saying it made her feel excluded and ostracized because she is an atheist. In the decision the Judge held that the banner amounted to a government endorsement of religion. “The Government must not appear to take sides on issues of religious beliefs,” and held that the views propounded at a school committee meeting conducted in March as well as Mayor Fung’s announcement at a mandatory assembly on Diversity Day that the banner should remain up violated this principle.
Cranston School Committeeman Frank Lombardi, who voted to keep the banner up, told the Matt Allen Show he is disappointed with the decision and he did not feel like the banner was religious in nature. “I really believe the purpose of this banner was more traditional in nature, more secular in nature, it wasn’t to promote any sort of religion or anything like that.”
Source: WPRO630

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