Religious Meets Litigious

by E Wayne Ross on November 24, 2009

Inside Higher Ed: Religious Meets Litigious

A group that advocates separation of church and state has filed a lawsuit against South Orange Community College District, in California, for opening many of its official events with Christian prayer.

The suit by Americans United for Separation of Church and State challenges prayer at Saddleback College, one of two institutions in the district. It states that, “for years, the trustees, the chancellor, and the president of Saddleback College have routinely held official prayer at numerous events for college students and faculty, including scholarship ceremonies, graduations, and the Chancellor’s Opening Sessions.” These public prayers, the suit further argues, “are insulting to [the] deeply held religious beliefs of some students”; it also states that these prayers make other students “feel like outsiders because they do not belong to the … preferred faith” of the community college.