Greencastle-Antrim school directors react to atheist demand

Staff Writer
Echo Pilot

The Echo Pilot e-mailed the seven Greencastle-Antrim School Board members asking for their reaction to the demand of Carl Silverman, PA Nonbelievers, and Ernest Perce V, American Atheists, who told them to stop praying at public meetings. They claimed the practice was unconstitutional.

E-mails were sent Sunday, Aug. 19. As of Tuesday afternoon three members had responded.

"At this time the school district is taking their comments under advisement and will review the situation with our solicitor," said president Eric Holtzman.

Melinda Cordell said she would support changes to the tradition of prayer if there was no other choice, but wanted to fight it as far as possible. She preferred to find an alternative rather than doing away with it altogether.

Mike Still saw the real possibility that things could change. "I believe their request is justified. Regardless of religious affiliation or beliefs, I believe saying the Lord’s Prayer aloud, while our meetings are in session, does gray the line between the separation of church and state. If the law is in fact perceived the way they explained it, we have a duty as school directors to follow it. I believe prayer for many is a powerful tool, a tool that can be utilized any time or anywhere, whether verbalized or in silence."