By John Ostapkovich
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Today is the 50th anniversary of one of the Supreme Court decisions that effectively banned school-run prayer and Bible reading in public schools.
You might not know it, but there was a big local connection.
Atheist Madalyn Murray O’Hair got a lot of press, but her case against starting the day with a dose of religion in Maryland was combined in the Supreme Court with Abington School District v Schempp.
Schempp is Ellery Schemp.
She was a high school student back in the ’50’s who brought a Quran to school, to read during public recitation of the Lord’s Prayer and Bible verses, then the law in Pennsylvania.
That set off a legal tussle which changed the landscape.
Sara Rose is a lawyer with the of the ACLU.
She says, “I think it’s pretty clear that schools cannot have the practice of praying each morning before school starts, school districts cannot lead students in prayer in public schools.”
There have been failed attempts to re-instate prayer, but the issue remains a potent one especially among conservative proponents.