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Miami Parents Appeal to U.S. Supreme Court on Florida Bible Ruling

Four parents of Miami schoolchildren–two Jews, one Unitarian, and one agnostic–appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court today against a ruling by the Supreme Court of Florida which upholds a state law requiring daily Bible reading in the public schools.

The appeal also seeks reversal of the Florida court’s ruling which sustains recitation of the Lord’s Prayer in classrooms, permits the conduct of religious programs as part of graduation exercises, allows a religious census among public school pupils, and sets up religious tests as a qualification for the employment of teachers.

The U.S. Supreme Court outlawed Bible reading and recitation of the Lord’s Prayer in public schools in rulings handed down last June, in cases involving such practices in Pennsylvania and in Maryland. An appeal presented to the high tribunal then against the Florida Supreme Court ruling resulted only in a high court decision that the Florida beach reconsider the entire issue in the light of the decisions affecting Pennsylvania and Maryland.

However, last month, the Florida Supreme Court ruled again in favor of the state statutes, permitting Bible reading and other religious practices. The appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court today was filed on behalf of the four Miami parents by Leo Plefier, general counsel of the American Jewish Congress.