Law: Uproar Over Silence

The court again stirs the school-prayer debate

Ishmael Jaffree had had enough. Throughout the 1981-82 school year, three of his children had been confronted with vocal prayer sessions at their grade schools in Mobile. Jaffree, an agnostic and a lawyer, had objected to the prayers, but got nowhere. Finally he sued, and won rulings that suspended not only spoken prayers but also a state law authorizing a daily moment of silence "for meditation or voluntary prayer." Jaffree's victory on the first issue was not surprising. Spoken prayers, okayed by the Alabama legislature in 1982, were in open defiance of the U.S. Supreme Court, which has insisted since 1962...

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