Court Allows Student Prayers

A federal appellate court says a recent Supreme Court ruling on school prayer does not prevent Alabama students from praying in school in student-initiated settings.

"So long as the prayer is genuinely student-initiated, and not the product of any school policy which actively or surreptitiously encourages it, the speech is private and it is protected," the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in mid-October.

The Supreme Court asked the appellate court to reconsider its ruling in a DeKalb County, Alabama, case after the high court deemed unconstitutional a Santa Fe, Texas, school policy allowing student prayers before football games. The appellate court ruled that permitting student prayers in the Alabama case does not conflict with the Santa Fe decision, upholding its previous ruling.

Sex-Trafficking Bill Passes U.S. House


The House has approved a bill that will provide $95 million to fight international sex trafficking, raising the penalties for those who are found guilty.

The House approved the Trafficking and Violence Victims Protection Act and reauthorized the $3.3 billion Violence Against Women Act in a 371–1 vote.

The bill provides funding to prosecute international sex trafficking and imposes possible life sentences on people convicted of sex trafficking within the United States. The fate of the bill is uncertain because it passed in the closing weeks of this year's Congressional session.

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