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ICC Note: Georgia’s Rabun County School District has agreed to cease praying at graduation ceremonies in the face of threats from the American Humanist Association (AHA). The AHA issued a letter of complaint regarding the matter in addition to a complaint about a sign depicting the name of Jesus. AHA threatened that they would pursue a lawsuit unless the Georgia school district met their demands.

By Heather Clark

09/18/2015 United States (Christian News Network) – A school district in Georgia has agreed to discontinue its practice of presenting prayers at graduation ceremonies and has removed a sign bearing the name of Jesus following a complaint from a humanist organization.

The American Humanist Association (AHA) sent a letter earlier this month to the Rabun County School District after it said that it had been contacted by a parent–whose name has not been disclosed–over the prayers and sign.

“The parent reports that Principal Lisa Patterson has led the student body of Rabun Primary in a Christian-specific prayer at several annual graduation ceremonies. The parent also reports that administrator-initiated prayers were delivered at the second grade graduation ceremonies at Rabun County Elementary School,” the letter stated.

“In addition, there is a sign displaying ‘Jesus’ on the grounds of the Rabun County Board of Education’s offices,” it said.

AHA says that the parent was upset that the prayers included words such as “Lord,” “God” and “in Jesus’ name” because his child had been raised to be a non-theist.

“The graduation prayers and the Jesus sign are clear violations of the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment,” the organization asserted. “As such, we hereby demand that the school district promptly remove the Jesus sign from school property and provide us with written assurances that: (1) prayers will no longer be delivered at school-sponsored events, including graduation ceremonies, and (2) that public school property will not be used to endorse Christianity.”


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