For as long as there has been a school board in Antrim Township, Pennsylvania, members have begun their meetings by reciting the Lord’s Prayer. This action attracted the attention of several atheists, who have threatened legal action against the board. At their last meeting, the board refrained from saying the prayer, so without missing a beat, the crowd recited it on its own.
As reported by The Herald-Mail, two members of atheist groups in Pennsylvania contacted the Greencastle-Antrim School Board and told them to stop reciting the Lord’s Prayer at the school board meetings.
“Stop the sectarian prayers going on here,” said Carl Silverman of Pennsylvania Non-Believers of York (Pa.)
He said the prayers were in violation of a Supreme Court ruling.
Silverman said the Supreme Court ruled against naming Jesus, Father or Lord in the prayer at a governmental meeting.
“You have to be inclusive. The right thing to do would be to have a moment of silence that would be respectful of all your citizens,” Silverman said.
Ernest Perce V, the Pennsylvania state director for American Atheists, condemned the township supervisors for violating the constitution by beginning its meeting with prayer.
The story quotes a number of town residents who support the school board, with one saying, “We are a God-fearing township and community.”
The school board chairman, Fred Young III, said, “The courts have ruled that we are allowed to pray at our meeting. As long as I am chairman, I have no intention of stopping.”
However, continued pressure from the atheist groups has taken its toll. At the most recent school board meeting on Thursday night, as reported by The Herald-Mail in a follow-up story, the board announced that it would not say the Lord’s Prayer, but rather hold a moment of silence instead.
Without missing a beat, the overflow crowd that filled the Greencastle-Antrim Middle School library broke the silence by reciting the Lord’s Prayer in unison.
As a chorus of voices began to blend into the well-known prayer, several of the board members became visibly upset as they refrained from participating.
Some board members wiped tears from their eyes, while others mouthed the words to the prayer without speaking it aloud.
The school board’s break from tradition was in response to a second visit from members of Pennsylvania atheist groups who told the school board to stop praying at its meetings or face legal action.
Citizens of the township are clearly outraged, and they have a right to be.
If the school board wants to start its meetings with a prayer, and the citizens of that town agree, then LET THEM PRAY! These atheists need to get a life and leave people alone!