By Elena Garcia
Christian Post Reporter
Tue, Jul. 22 2008 03:07 PM EDT
Members of a church in Colorado are trying to collect enough signatures for a ballot initiative that asks schools to give students five minutes a day to pray or meditate.
Bishop Kevin Foreman and members of the Final Harvest Christian Center in Aurora received approval from the state to circulate the petition last week – nearly two years since it was originally submitted.
The petition is asking for five minutes at the start of each school day to allow students to invoke silent prayers privately or in groups, or have time for personal meditation or quiet reflection.
The church is now trying to collect more than 76,000 signatures to qualify the prayer initiative for the November ballot. Final Harvest Deacon Tiffinay Dawson said they are aiming toward 120,000 signatures to secure the requisite, according to The Denver Post.
In a statement e-mailed to 9NEWS on Saturday, the church affirmed that the effort is about serving the students and not about forcing prayer into schools.
The proposal is “simply aimed at giving students an opportunity for personal meditation at the beginning of their day and if that included prayer, then they’d be allowed to do so,” the statement reads.
“As Christians, we practice love for all people and make no attempt to discriminate against others. To reiterate, it was never our intention to force Christian beliefs and practices on students, faculty or the public.”
The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in 1962 and 1963 that schools were prohibited from leading prayers, but allowed time for silent prayer or meditation.
If Colorado voters pass the moment of silence initiative, the state would join thirteen others that have a similar law: Alabama, Georgia, Illinois, Massachusetts, Maryland, Nebraska, Ohio, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia and West Virginia.
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