News & Blog

Mississippi governor signs school prayer bill

Last Thursday, Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant signed HB 638, a bill requiring public schools to develop policies allowing students to pray over school intercoms, at assemblies, and at sporting events.

“This is an overt act of hostility against minority religious beliefs and atheists, disguised as religious freedom,” said David Silverman, President of American Atheists. “This is not religious freedom; it’s open and proud bigotry, and the people of Mississippi should be ashamed of their legislature and governor.”

American Atheists’ founder Madalyn Murray O’Hair started her fight for the separation of church and state with a lawsuit about the issue of prayer in public schools. She started American Atheists soon after in 1963. It remains American Atheists’ position that students, faculty, and staff should not be forced to listen to prayer.

While students and faculty have always had the right to pray privately, requiring schools to develop these policies is a clear attempt to force prayer into public environments where students are required to be present.

American Atheists advocates for the complete separation of religion and government, and prayer over intercoms and at assemblies and sporting events is an indisputable and barefaced violation of separation of religion and government.

Read the bill in full here: