A Rhode Island school district has decided that if it comes down to a fight - they are willing to fight the American Civil Liberties Union over a prayer banner hanging inside a public school.
Listen to this report from Fox News Radio's Todd Starnes:
The Cranston School Committee voted 4-3 Monday to keep the banner at Cranston High School West even if it means a costly legal battle. The banner had been hanging in the high school for decades but last year, the Rhode Island chapter of the ACLU received a single complaint.
The ACLU asked the district to remove the banner because it violated the First Amendment - and vowed to sue if it was not taken down.
However, thousands of local residents rallied to the support the banner. More than 4,000 signed a petition asking the district to keep the prayer. And last night dozens spoke out in favor of fighting the ACLU.
"I say we fight the good fight," Peter Paolella told the Providence Journal. "America needs a hero. Let's be the hero."
Several suggested the ACLU had declared war on their community.
"People have died for that flag," one resident told the school committee. "People have died for the right for us to have a banner up that says, 'Almighty God.'"
The banner reads:
Our Heavenly Father, Grant us each day the desire to do our best, To grow mentally and morally as well as physically, To be kind and helpful to our classmates and teachers, To be honest with ourselves as well as with others, Help us to be good sports and smile when we lose as well as when we win, Teach us the value of true friendship, Help us always to conduct ourselves so as to bring credit to Cranston High School West. Amen
However, some residents spoke out against the prayer banner - citing its religious nature.
"There's no right to keep this prayer up," Daniel Ciora said. "You can take it down. You won't be sued."
Jessica Ahlquist, a student at the school, said the prayer is a form of discrimination.
"In America, we have the right to believe or not to believe," she told the Providence Journal. "This prayer endorses religion. It endorses a specific religion."
For "a majority to say that you can take away a minority right, it's wrong," Ahlquist told the newspaper. "It's also un-American."
The banner was created in 1960 by David Bradley, then a 14-year old student. He said the banner is secular and not a prayer.
"I don't think there's anything wrong with 'Our Heavenly Father,'" Bradley told WPRI-TV. "It's just too easy to offend people in America these days. People should just suck it up and understand that this is a diverse country."