Nevada school board to end meeting prayer after complaint

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LAS VEGAS (AP) — A Nevada school board will no longer begin its meetings with prayer after receiving a complaint that it is a violation of the constitutional separation between religion and government, board members said.

The Wisconsin-based Freedom from Religion Foundation contacted the Clark County School District Board in December with a letter listing a number of legal decisions and calling the practice “coercive, embarrassing, and intimidating for non-religious citizens to be required to make a public showing of their non-belief."

The Freedom from Religion Foundation received a letter from the district dated Jan. 10 indicating the prayers would stop, said members of the group, which protects the constitutional principle of the separation of church and state.

“It should be a parent decision on what happens in our school system," said Antonio Bowen, a trustee candidate and youth pastor who is questioning the immediacy of the change.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Nevada released a statement to KTNV-TV agreeing with the decision.

“We believe strongly in the separation of church and state and appreciate the decision of the CCSD Board of Trustees. Prayers at public meetings can alienate atheists, the non-religious, and those with different religious traditions," executive director Tod Story said.

Trustees declined to comment Tuesday.

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