June 26, 2008

Prayer at Mealtime

From Religion Clause blog comes this story:

Today's Baltimore Sun reports that the ACLU of Maryland is renewing pressure on the U.S. Naval Academy to end its long-standing practice of having one of its chaplains lead prayer before midshipmen eat their noon meal. Students stand at parade rest, and are asked (but not required) to bow their heads during the prayer. After receiving complaints from nine students, the ACLU wrote the Academy last month, saying in part: "The government should not be in the business of compelling religious observance, particularly in military academies, where students can feel coerced by senior students and officials and risk the loss of leadership opportunities for following their conscience." In a statement yesterday, Cmdr. Ed Austin said the Academy does not intend to change its practice, and is coordinating a response to the ACLU with the Department of the Navy.