Smart Talk is a daily, live, interactive program featuring conversations with newsmakers and experts in a variety of fields and exploring a wide range of issues and ideas, including the economy, politics, health care, education, culture, and the environment. Smart Talk airs live every week day at 9 a.m. on WITF’s 89.5 and 93.3.
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Host: Scott LaMar
Radio Smart Talk for Tuesday, June 11:
"No state law or school board may require that passages from the Bible be read or that the Lord's Prayer be recited in the public schools . . . even if individual students may be excused from attending or participating."
That was the ruling from the U.S. Supreme Court on June 17, 1963 in the case School District of Abington Township vs Schempp. In the 50 years since, many simply describe it as the case that removed prayer from public schools. That description wouldn't tell the whole story though.
Before the ruling, each school day in Pennsylvania began with a reading from the Bible and the Lord's Prayer.
In November, 1956, 16-year-old Ellery Schempp silently read the Quran during the morning devotional at Abington High School near Philadelphia. It wasn't because Schempp was a Muslim -- he was doing it out of protest. When the teenager refused to participate, he was sent to the principal's office.
Schempp eventually filed the suit that challenged school-sponsored school prayer.
Ellery Schempp will be a guest on Tuesday's Radio Smart Talk -- 50 years after the Supreme Court ruling that changed history.
Also appearing on the program will be Lauri Lebo, a volunteer board member with the Pennsylvania American Civil Liberties Union. Lebo authored the book, The Devil in Dover after covering the Kitzmiller vs. Dover Area School District intelligent design case for the York Daily Record in 2004 and 2005.
Ellery Schempp and Lauri Lebo
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