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Florida HS Games May Offer Public Pregame Prayer

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Football-crazed Florida is one step closer to allowing prayer over public address systems before high school championship football games.

In a proposed addendum to a current education bill – HB 7103 – the Florida High School Athletic Association would be required to make changes that would lead to schools being offered up to 30 seconds for pre-game prayers over public address systems.

“The FHSAA may not prohibit prayer or otherwise control, monitor, or review the content of the opening remarks, if any,” the proposal states. “Prior to the opening remarks, the public-address announcer shall announce that the content of any opening remarks by a participating school is not endorsed by and does not reflect the views and opinions of the FHSAA.”

The proposal arose following a 2016 state championship game between two Christian schools.

Prior to that game, the FHSAA denied a request to use the public address system for pregame prayer at an Orlando stadium.

One of the schools involved – Cambridge Christian School in Tampa – filed a lawsuit against the FHSAA, charging that its First Amendment rights had been infringed upon.

The long-running case was dismissed by a U.S. District judge, then overturned in a U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

It is now pending back in the lower court.

The new Florida House bill is sponsored by Jennifer Sullivan, R-Mount Dora.

Both the House and Senate would have to agree before the bill could become law.

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