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Resolution on Prayer at Public School Sporting Events

WHEREAS the Rabbinical Assembly has consistently sought to uphold the separation of religion and state in the United States; and

WHEREAS prayers recited over public address systems at public school sporting events such as football games have been prohibited by law, most recently by the US Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals in the case of Doe vs. Santa Fe Independent School District: and

WHEREAS nothing prevents students and athletes form engaging in private, voluntary prayers for their respective groups either before, during or after their games; and

WHEREAS on November 2, 1999 the US House of Representatives passed a Sense of the House Resolution (H.R. 199) expressing the "sense of the Congress that prayers and invocations at public school sporting events contribute to the moral foundation of our nation;" and

WHEREAS the US Supreme Court is reviewing the decision of Doe vs. Santa Fe Independent School District, which could result in a reversal of the Fifth Circuit Court's conclusions.

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the Rabbinical Assembly offer strenuous objection to Congress' endorsement of prayers at public school sporting events; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Rabbinical Assembly urge its members to contact members of Congress to voice such objection; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Rabbinical Assembly continue to advocate the moral and constitutional obligation to prevent the imposition of religious beliefs and practices within the public sphere.

Passed by the Rabbinical Assembly Plenum, March, 2000