by Walter M. Weber, ACLJ
The constitutional rights to free speech and to the free exercise of religion won an important victory in the federal court of appeals in the case of Cambridge Christian Schools v. Florida High School Athletic Association.
The American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ) filed an amicus brief in the case, on behalf of itself and the ACLJ’s Committee to Stop Censorship of Christian School Prayer, supporting the Christian school plaintiff.
The dispute arose from a high school championship football game in 2015. Both teams in the final game were Christian schools, and the teams wanted to open the game with a prayer carried over the loudspeaker system.
The Cambridge Christian School contended that it had already been permitted to pray over the public address system at previous playoff games and at a past championship game. But as we stated in our amicus brief the Florida HS Athletic Association (FHSAA), which was running the tournament, had “what might be characterized as the constitutional equivalent of a severe allergic reaction” to the proposed religious speech. Invoking the “separation of church and state,” the FHSAA nixed the use of the PA system for the prayer.
Cambridge Christian sued, alleging a violation of its First Amendment rights to free speech and the free exercise of religion. A federal trial court dismissed the suit, and Cambridge Christian appealed. The ACLJ weighed in with the previously mentioned amicus brief
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