PACE, FL - And it came to pass that two school administrators in Florida stood accused of contempt and faced prison time for saying grace at a school luncheon.
On January 28, before the dedication of a new fieldhouse at Pace High School to be used for prayer luncheons, etc., principal Lincoln Christian asked athletic director Jesús Benjamin to say grace, giving him a little wink, according to court documents; Benjamin winked back, then honored the request and said the prayer at the school-sponsored event.
The two stand accused of violating a decree proclaimed throughout Pace High School, that all employees of the Santa Rosa County school district shall not endorse religion.
The charges carry a maximum penalty of up to six months prison time and six hours of public stoning, depending on sentencing guidelines.
The American Civil Liberties Union indicated students have the right to freedom from school administrators imposing religious beliefs on them, but insisted it never suggested officials should be publicly stoned for violating the decree.
Liberty Counsel, the conservative legal group whose attorneys are representing Christian and Benjamin, said in a written statement that attendees and organizers of the event were consenting adults, which should make everything okay, but the director of the Religious Freedom Project for the ACLU of Florida said, "We're just trying to make sure that school employees comply with the court order."
The judge involved with the... with the... Oh. Sorry about that - I just flashed back to that whole Monica Lewinsky/impeachment thing for some reason.
Anyway, the judge involved with the case initiated the criminal contempt charges after hearing about the incident in a motion; the ACLU is not involved in the criminal proceedings.
This almost certainly guarantees Rush Limbaugh will be telling people within hours that Benjamin is on trial for praying, not for violating a court order, and that the ACLU is behind it all.
Attorneys defending Christian and Benjamin will be paid many pieces of paper money emblazoned with the words "In God We Trust" to defend the two for their blessing.