Lord's Prayer Case Dismissed

Dec 28, 2002 02:58 PM EST

LINCOLN, Nebraska - The lawsuit filed against a school board member who led students in the Lord's Prayer at their graduation ceremony has been dismissed by the U.S. District Judge. The suit, filed by the American Civil Liberties Union, accused Jim Scheer of the Norfolk Public School District of violating the constitutional separation of church and state. However, Judge Laurie Smith Camp dismissed the case, rejecting the allegations.

Jeff Downing, who represented Scheer and the school commented, "I'm glad to see the court recognize that the Constitution doesn't require the public square to be swept clean of religion and that people at public ceremonies should feel tremendous freedom to make religious comments...or comments that are in keeping with their faith."

Judge Camp ruled that Scheer acted as a parent when he recited the prayer. "In reaching this conclusion, the court does not approve [of] Scheer's conduct," the judge wrote. "Scheer took advantage of his dual role as a board member and parent of a graduating senior."

Scheer led the Prayer not long after the school board decided to end student-led prayers at graduation on behalf of complaints filed with the school district. Though the school removed the prayer on the schedule, Scheer was allowed to lead the students in prayer.

The ACLU plans to appeal Judge Camp's ruling.

By Paulina C.