June 27 Court Date: Please Pray for Cambridge Christian School & First Liberty

June 23, 2023
Cambridge Oral Argument | First Liberty Institute

by Jorge Gomez • 4 min read

First Liberty will be in federal appeals court on June 27 arguing our Prayer Out of Bounds? case. We are representing Cambridge Christian School.

In 2015, Cambridge Christian competed against Jacksonville’s University Christian School in a state championship football game. The game was played at the Citrus Bowl, now known as Orlando’s Camping World Stadium. Consistent with their religious traditions, the two schools sought to lead a brief, pregame prayer over the stadium loudspeaker.

The Florida High School Athletic Association, however, prohibited them from doing so, stating that the prayer would be an impermissible “endorsement” of religion by the state, because it would take place on government property.

This is the same venue where evangelist Billy Graham preached and shared the Gospel message with thousands in attendance in 1969 and 1983. In a twist of irony, two Christian schools played a championship game at this stadium in 2012 and were allowed to pray over the loudspeakers.

We’ll be making the case that the prayer ban is unconstitutional. We’ll remind the judges what the U.S. Supreme Court said in our landmark victory for Coach Kennedy: Government cannot “ferret out and suppress religious observances even as it allows comparable secular speech. The Constitution neither mandates nor tolerates that kind of discrimination.” This made it clear that coaches, teachers, students and employees in our schools are free to live out and express their faith.

What’s more, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit—the same court where we’ll be arguing on Monday—said in Chandler v. Siegelman (2000) that the First Amendment “does not require the elimination of private speech endorsing religion in public places,” nor does it “permit the state to confine religious speech to whispers or banish it to broom closets.”

We’re only a few short days away from oral argument. Please keep praying for our clients.

This has been a long and difficult legal battle for Cambridge Christian. They’ve been fighting in court for several years and getting to this critical point hasn’t been easy. Now, it’s up to us to give them the spiritual support they need as the case is being argued.

This argument is a huge opportunity to ensure the religious freedom of students in the future. If state officials can discriminate against two Christian schools and prevent them from praying in public, it won’t be long before they selectively choose other speech to censor. The outcome of this case could have a national impact and protect countless Americans.

With oral argument right around the corner, we appreciate your prayers and encouragement. Your ongoing support is critical to make sure we can keep defending and providing top-notch representation to everyday American heroes like Cambridge Christian—free of charge.

Right now, there’s a prime opportunity for YOU to help First Liberty bring on more victories. At the end of June, we will wrap up our Fiscal Year—and we need your help to reach our yearly goal. If you give to First Liberty any time between today and June 30th, your donation will have a multiplied impact thanks to a generous $350,000 Challenge Grant!

You’re the one keeping us on the frontlines, fighting for what matters most. Can we count on your support?

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