Ellery Schempp will speak on the 50-year anniversary of U.S. Supreme Court landmark decision, for which he was the  young plaintiff, that struck down mandatory prayer in public schools.

September 19, 2013

Schempp will recall his Unitarian family's landmark struggle to end public schools' requiring students to read from the Bible. on  Tuesday, October 1 at 7:00 p.m. at the Unitarian Church of Des Moines, 1800 Bell Ave. in Des Moines. There is no charge.

Ellery Schemp
In 1956, Schempp was a high school student in Pennsylvania, which had a state law mandating school Bible readings before class each morning. Schempp's school required each student to read 10 Bible passages and the Lord's Prayer each day during homeroom. To protest, Ellery instead, read from his personal copy of the Koran. He was sent to the principal's office as punishment.

With the help of the American Civil Liberties Union, Schempp and his Unitarian Universalist family sued the Abington School District, arguing his religious freedom was being violated. In 1963, the U.S. Supreme Court decided in the Schempp's favor with the landmark case Abington School District v. Schempp, which set a new precedent in the separation of religion and state in public schools.

Iowa Senator Matt McCoy will introduce Schempp. The event is sponsored by The American Civil Liberties Union of Iowa.

For more information, contact Alan Koslow at alankoslow@gmail.com or call him at 515-491-7313.