Judge denies motion to block prayer at Greenville Co. schools - CBS 5 - KPHO

Judge denies motion to block prayer at Greenville Co. schools

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The prayer EmmaKate wrote and recited at her school's graduation ceremony. (June 12, 2013/FOX Carolina) The prayer EmmaKate wrote and recited at her school's graduation ceremony. (June 12, 2013/FOX Carolina)
TAYLORS, SC (FOX Carolina) -

A federal judge ruled Tuesday that Greenville County Schools can continue to allow student-led prayer and can continue to hold school events in places of worship, at least for now.

The ruling comes as part of a lawsuit against the district by the Washington D.C. based group American Humanist Association.

The AHA said they received an anonymous complaint after the May graduation ceremony for Mountain View Elementary School. AHA said the parent that complained did not like that the ceremony was held at a chapel on the campus of North Greenville University and that prayers were said.

NGU president Dr. Jimmy Epting said the graduations have been held at the university for years because they can accommodate the large crowds that usually show up. Epting said it had never been an issue until this year.

The AHA asked the district to change the location of future graduations and to remove prayer from the program. When the district refused to back down, AHA filed suit.

In court Tuesday, the AHA asked the judge to block prayer and events being held at places of worship while the lawsuit ran its course. The judge denied the motion.

After the judge's ruling the school district released a statement saying they were pleased with the decision. The AHA also released a statement saying, "the religious practices" were "clearly violative of the constitutional mandate of separation of church and state."

A start date for the trial has yet to be scheduled.

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