The American Civil Liberties Union has decided not to make a last-minute appeal to the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals in a bid to stop graduation prayer in Alpine School District.
Instead, the ACLU will file a lengthy "friend-of-the-court" brief with the U.S. Supreme Court supporting the "no prayer" position in the Rhode Island school prayer case."The Supreme Court needs to hear about a school district where for 79 years student have been forced to participate in the religious practices of the predominant religion and local officials justify it on the grounds of `tradition,' " said Michele Parish, director of the Utah affiliate of the ACLU.
The ACLU concluded that even though U.S. District Judge J. Thomas Greene's refusal to prohibit prayer in Alpine was not a disappointment, his mandate that the prayers be non-denominational was a step in the right direction.
The ACLU, along with teachers and students who sought the injunction, "feel that after 79 years of `traditional' Mormon prayers in the Alpine School District, a change to the `non-denominational, non-proselytizing, voluntary prayer' anticipated by Judge Greene would be a small step away from the religious coercion practiced in the name of tradition for so many decades," Parish said in a press release sent to all media Friday afternoon.
The ACLU said it would closely monitor graduation ceremonies at Utah high schools and may amend its complaint to include other high schools when the stay on the case is lifted. U.S. District Judge J. Thomas imposed a stay on the suit pending a U.S. Supreme Court decision on the Rhode Island case.