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Author Topic: Atheist arrested for protesting prayer at school board meeting  (Read 2019 times)


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Atheist arrested for protesting prayer at school board meeting Feb 23, 2011
John Kieffer, president of Atheists of Florida, was arrested yesterday at the start of the Polk County School Board meeting. Kieffer and other atheists had been protesting the school board's practice of holding prayers before their meetings. To avoid a lawsuit, the school board opted to continue with the prayers, but have them before the gavel fell, thus making them technically not part of the meeting.

Kieffer and EllenBeth Wachs, legal coordinator for Atheists of Florida, allegedly spoke and snapped photos during the prayer. After it ended, they were chastised by board member Frank O'Reilly for disrupting it. At that point, it is reported that Kieffer shouted, "Prayer has no place in government! Prayer has no place in government!"

Jeremy Maready and Merissa Green reported for Newschief.com, "After board Chairman Kay Fields told Kieffer to leave, he said he wasn't violating any laws because the meeting hadn't officially started. 'It has now,' Fields said, and she slammed down her gavel."

Kieffer spent the night in jail on charges of resisting an officer without force, disorderly conduct and possession of drugs without a prescription (for one pill he had on his person without proof of prescription attached to it).

After the meeting, school board members and the audience discussed the incident. The call was made for Christian citizens to stand up for their rights and support the school board. The board is set to reconsider allowing prayers during the actual meeting and facing whatever lawsuits comes their way.

"Some say God is living there [in space]. I was looking around very attentively, but I did not see anyone there. I did not detect either angels or gods....I don't believe in God. I believe in man - his strength, his possibilities, his reason."
Gherman Titov, Soviet cosmonaut, in The Seattle Daily Ti