The Florida High School Athletic Association (FHSAA) filed a motion asking a federal court to dismiss a lawsuit against alleging anti-Christian bias.
In 2015, the FHSAA denied Cambridge Christian High School (CCS) the opportunity to publicly pray before the championship game, which necessitated the lawsuit, says CCS.
“FHSAA uses the loudspeaker to call for moments of silence, deliver ethical messages, promote sportsmanship, and honor persons and events,” the school continued. “But it will not allow these same themes to be expressed under a religious banner.”
Because a new state law prevents it from acting with the same bias in the future, FHSAA argues the case should be dismissed, reported Fox 13 Tampa. The lawsuit is currently before the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals in Jacksonville.
The new law allows two minutes of “remarks” at FHSAA sanctioned events, which can include a prayer.
“[HB 225] was specifically tailored to eliminate the purported injury CCS asserts here, and it would plainly do so if CCS were to make it back to an FHSAA championship game,” FHSAA told the court in its motion to dismiss.
However, CCS still believes there are important constitutional issues at stake.
“FHSAA’s justification for the prayer ban is that it is required by the Establishment Clause, which, of course, overrides a state statute,” said the school’s brief.
“Unless and until FHSAA revokes its (erroneous) position on the requirements of the Establishment Clause – something it has refused to do throughout the seven years of this litigation – the new statute does not moot CCS’s need for an injunction,” it concluded.
The fight for religious freedom is one of many flash points that caused Florida lawmakers and Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis to pass a series of reform measures for the FHSAA.
DeSantis took issue with how the FHSAA handled the pandemic, diversity, equity and inclusion appointments, as well as with the public dispute between CCS and the FHSAA, said News 4 Jacksonville.