Mississippi Requires Public Schools to Develop Policies on Prayer
Gov. Phil Bryant of Mississippi has long wanted children to pray at public schools. This week, with his grandmother’s worn Bible on his desk, he signed a bill that gets him closer to that goal.
The new law requires public schools to develop policies that will allow students to pray over school intercoms, at assemblies and at sporting events.
While not allowing school-sanctioned prayer, the law permits students to offer public prayers with a disclaimer by the school administration. “You might put on the program that this is not a state-sanctioned prayer if a prayer does break out at a football game or graduation,” Mr. Bryant said.
Although the state is not in the business of establishing religion, he said, “we are about making sure that we protect the religious freedoms of all students and adults whenever we can.”
For groups trying to keep prayer and public education separated, the law was the latest legislative action aimed at moving the two closer together without violating the Constitution.
“A bunch of states this year are pushing corrosive religious legislation of all kinds,” said Joe Conn, a spokesman for Americans United for Separation of Church and State.