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My Turn: Many disapprove of decision on praying mom

In soliciting the opinion of nearly 16,000 Live Free or Die Alliance community members, we found that a fairly strong majority, 68 percent of about 50 respondents, disagreed with this summer’s decision by the Concord School District to ban Lizarda Urena from publicly praying on the front steps of Concord High School this fall.

While as editor of the LFDA, I must remain vigorously bipartisan and refrain from taking any position regarding public policy, I believe the Concord’s School District’s decision highlights the critical need for our organization. While it may at first seem trivial to some, every time a law – or in this case a decision by a school district – is passed without the knowledge or involvement of an informed citizenry, our collective freedom suffers.

Founded in 2008, the LFDA provides a contemporary, interactive forum whereby New Hampshire citizens may learn and talk about issues that affect their communities and our state. Essentially, the LFDA is a streamlined version of an old-fashioned town hall in which civil debates can take place through social media, online, and face-to-face platforms regarding important issues of the day.

In polling our members, who represent a true cross-section of the state’s citizenry, many expressed a strong disapproval of the Concord School District’s decision. Disapproval ran the gamut from rhetoric that questioned, “Who was she hurting?” to impassioned pleas that expressed serious concerns regarding Urena’s First Amendment right to exercise free speech.

While I do not claim our member poll is necessarily scientific, I believe the LFDA shows that many residents disapprove of this decision. In light of the most recent development in which Urena has now been allowed to pray silently on the Concord High School campus, the question is what will happen should other school districts elect to institute similar bans or restrictions. This is not the last we have heard of the Urena case or the questions that have arisen when such decisions are made that run counter to the majority’s opinion.

To learn more about this issue and how the LFDA serves New Hampshire residents in providing objective information about state issues, promoting the civil exchange of opinions in online and face-to-face forums, and connecting citizens with elected officials,

(Rob Levey is editor of the Live Free or Die Alliance.)

Legacy Comments12

If I remember correctly the Nuns used to have us pray for the children in Africa. We never went to Africa to do it. She doesn't have to go the school to do it either. I think God can figure it out. It's just here way of getting attention.


So basically Tillie you believe that LFDA has no vested interest in their own towns or state? That's a new tactic. So folks who disagree with you now are folks that stick their noses into everyone else's business? I suppose I should have seen this coming. the President is having some of his choices lately being questioned even by the media that adore him. So it must be time to distill that by bringing back name calling and demonizing those that disagree with you.

This whole issue goes back and forth. First we hear that the woman was given permission, then we hear that an Atheist Group started yelling about it, then we hear she is not allowed to be there anymore. Next she gets a lawyer, and all of a sudden she is back. My guess is that the school found out that they most likely would get sued and lose.

Guess again. The school is not a public forum; the right to free speech or exercise of religion does not apply there (except in some circumstances to students and teachers). The likelihood of success of a suit to allow her to practice her religion at the school would be zero. On the other hand, the school probably is concerned about legal liability -- being sued -- for ALLOWING the woman to pray there. I would say the school remains in increasing legal jeopardy by permitting her to pray “silently”: from the photos she appears to be still expressing her prayers in sign language (if you will -- hand signals and other body language). There is a strong case that violates the Establishment Clause.

Because this is a governmental building, as long as she has a legal right to be there, she has a right to express her views, with religion being one of those protected rights. She isn't trying to convert anyone to any particular religion or thumping people with her bible. She comes, does what she feels is necessary, plays by the rules, and leaves. Unless you are an attorney or judge, I don't think you are qualified to say whether a suit has zero chance of anything... win or lose. The establishment clause prohibits the establishment of a state religion, which means... the government can't tell you what or how to worship, if at all.

According to your rules I am qualified to offer that opinion, and I stand behind it: you are incorrect. But what even gives her any legal right to be there?

Well, you would know the legalities of the situation to some extent but you are not a Constitutional expert or lawyer.

Sez who? (By the way, your separation of “Constitutional expert” from “lawyer” is not lost on me, I presume because you are among those who believe expertise in Constitution law is somehow independent of legal expertise(?). So you must LOVE our current Supreme Court...)

Sounds to me like the Bearcat issue. A few people with nothing else to do looking around for an issue to make trouble over.

Sooo.... you're writing this letter on behalf of 34 people. Got it. And only 50 out of 16,000 members bothered to respond to your survey. Sounds like the vast majority of your membership (99.69%) think this is a non-issue. I wonder how they feel about you representing them in this way?

What makes these people not the same as a town hall meeting is a town hall meeting is for residents who have a vested interest in their own town. These people stick their" collective" noses into everyone else's business. Sound socialist or maybe even communist to me. Heavens forbid.

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