OU Renounces School Prayer Legislation

Posted on May 21, 1996 In Press Releases

As the Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America, we are concerned with the deterioration in our nation of moral and family values. Our religious experience places great faith in the ability of our religious principles to inspire just and moral community. Nevertheless, we cannot support recent calls to adopt resolutions allowing for organized school prayer, and other forms of government – sponsored religious expression.

The Orthodox Union is opposed to the Florida legislation, HB1041, which contains a prayer amendment for public schools.

The Orthodox Union opposes any attempt to institute prayer in the public schools. The religion clauses of the Bill of Rights have created a critical role for government. That role is and should be to promote religious tolerance and foster respect for religion. Government should not intervene in decisions such as the time and place and nature of prayer in the public school. These types of decisions will lead to the imposition of one religion over another and undercut the unquestioned purpose of the First Amendment religion clauses, to protect religious minorities and religious diversities and beliefs.

The Orthodox Union urges Governor Lawton Chiles to veto HB1041. It would be impossible to ensure that prayers would remain non-sectarian in the large network of public schools and inevitably, however inadvertently, the imposition of one religion over another would result.

For additional information, please e-mail ipa@ou.org or call the IPA office at (212) 613-8128.

The OU’s IPA is anxious to work with you in the interest of making a difference for Klal Yisrael, so please be in touch and let us know how we can help you run a successful campaign. You can contact the Institute for Public Affairs at (212) 613-8128 or by e-mail at ipa@ou.org