NEW ORLEANS — Attorneys with the Alliance Defense Fund filed their response in federal court Friday to what is at least the sixth lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union against the Tangipahoa Parish School Board regarding religious expression issues. The latest lawsuit is a direct challenge to the board’s practice of opening public meetings with prayer.
"A prayer shouldn’t be banned just because someone may be offended by it," said ADF Senior Legal Counsel Mike Johnson. "Just because the ACLU claims it is offended by public invocations does not mean the invocations must be silenced. Through their campaign of fear, intimidation, and disinformation, the ACLU and its allies continue their threats against hometown governments that they consider to be easy prey."
On Feb. 29, the ACLU filed a new lawsuit against the Tangipahoa Parish School Board for opening its meetings with prayer, after the school board adopted a model invocations policy prepared by ADF attorneys. Last July, the full panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit dismissed a previous lawsuit brought by the ACLU, stating that the ACLU’s "offended observer" claim lacked standing.
"The Constitution protects public officials who choose to invoke divine guidance and blessings upon their work," said Johnson. "Public officials throughout the country need to be encouraged and reminded that they can and should resist the increasingly radical demands of secularist groups, such as the ACLU."
ADF is a legal alliance defending the right to hear and speak the Truth through strategy, training, funding, and litigation.