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Thursday, July 18, 2024 | Back issues
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Atheist Challenges Illinois’ Mandatory Moment Of School Prayer

CHICAGO - An atheist and his teen-age daughter say that an Illinois law requiring a moment of silence at the beginning of the school day is unconstitutional.

Radio talk show host Robert Sherman and his 14-year-old daughter, Dawn, say the law violates the First Amendment. They seek a restraining order. The federal lawsuit names Gov. Rod Blagojevich and Township High School District 214 as defendants; the state Senate and House overrode Blagojevich's veto and passed the law earlier this month. "What we object to is Christians passing a law that requires the public school teacher to stop teaching during instructional time, paid for by the taxpayers, so that Christians can pray," Robert Sherman said. In 1989, Robert Sherman challenged a state law requiring students to recite the Pledge of Allegiance. He has also sought the removal of religious symbols from city seals and challenged Boy Scout meetings held in public schools. In 1998, he was convicted of beating his teen-age son and was sentenced to prison for failing to complete court-ordered counseling.

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