their farming community of Woodbine, Iowa, Christine Skarin and her
twins struck a sour note with a lot of people.
To fight Woodbine High School’s traditional graduation song
entitled, “The Lord’s Prayer,” the Skarins took to the courts on April
In a predominantly Christian town, the Skarins are already
different from the rest of the community. Theyaare atheists. The controversy
began when Donovan and Ruby, Christine Skarin’s twins, were required
to sing “The Lord’s Prayer” in the school choir at graduation.
29, 2002, the Skarins with the help of the Iowa Civil Liberties Union
got a federal judge to issue a restraining order preventing the choir
from even practicing the song until the case was settled because the
Skarin’s felt they’re being forced to pray.
U.S. courts do allow religion in school classes when it involves culture
according to school officials and Francis Manion from the American
Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ), who was not directly involved in
said, “The fact that it’s a piece of music makes a big difference. Cultural things that are religious can be taught
in schools as cultural things: music,
High School became the center of attention on May 19, 2002, concerning
whether the song would be played at the graduation.
It was not in the ceremony in the end.
the lawsuit, school officials, graduates and the community abided
by a federal judge’s decision to ban the song.
and participants were warned not to disrupt the ceremony by school
officials. A letter asking everyone to respect the decision
of the federal court and refrain from speaking or singing, “The Lord’s
Prayer” was also included in the program.
officials deliberately erased parts of a tape in which the school
board allegedly talked about Woodbine being a Christian community
as a reason to sing the song said U.S. District Judge Charles Wolle
in his ruling over “The Lord’s Prayer.”
the litigious tune the Skarins had struck isn’t a melody so much as
a plain racket said Betty Bennett, a parent of a choir member, “It’s
ticking a lot of people off frankly.”
Clayton, “Temptation overted: no
‘Lord’s Prayer’ at Woodbine.” Omaha
World Herald, May 20, 2002; Steve Brown, “Parent Sues School over
Graduation Tune,” FoxNews.com, May 12, 2002.)
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