By Hemant Mehta
The man in the center of the picture below isn’t a pastor. He’s Superintendent Rick McDaniel of the McKinney Independent School District in Texas, and he was leading a prayer inside Prestonwood Baptist Church during a mandatory beginning-of-the-year convocation for staffers.
When the Freedom From Religion Foundation wrote to the District to warn them about the violation of church/state separation, they were told the church was the only place in town that could hold all 3,000 staffers. That didn’t resolve the fact that the superintendent was leading the staff in prayer behind a podium with a cross on it… but FFRF was told the event would likely move to a secular convention center that would be opening up very soon.
It wasn’t just the staff-only event. Graduations were also held at this church for years. If they kept doing that, the District could have been hit with a lawsuit because it was clear Christianity was a part of all of these gatherings.
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