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Guielines On School Prayer Issued

Schools that don't allow students to pray outside the classroom or teachers to hold religious meetings among themselves could face the loss of federal money, the Education Department said Friday. The guidelines reflect the Bush administration's push to ensure that schools give teachers and students as much freedom to pray as court rulings have allowed.

The department makes clear that teachers may not pray with students or attempt to shape their religious views.

With all the (often justified) concern about Bush's blurring of the line between church and state, it's nice to see a reasonable and balanced policy come out of the administration. It's a good reminder that the president is a person with a set of often unpalatable views and the power to enforce them, not a nutcase hell-bent on becoming an American ayatollah. But it's a measure of my own skepticism that my first thought was to figure out where the catch in this policy is, and to wonder how it could be abused if school prayer became a politically important issue (and in fact the reasonableness of the policy may reflect its low profile in today's political landscape, as church-state concerns are focussed on the faith-based charities issue).


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