The US Naval Academy practice of conducting a noon-meal prayer is making its near-annual trek through the media. This time, Talbot Manvel, an “adjunct instructor” at Annapolis, wrote an article in the Baltimore Sun saying the USNA puts “tradition ahead of the Constitution.”
So how is the academy defying the Constitution? It has established a religious practice: prayer at its mandatory noon meal for its midshipmen (students). They are marched into the mess hall, called to attention to listen to announcements, and then to prayer by a chaplain before sitting to eat. They are not permitted to leave, and thus they are forced to listen.
(Manvel becomes the latest Naval Academy instructor to publicly malign his employer.) Manvel’s article is rife with error. He cites Mellen v. Bunting, in which the 4th District Court held mealtime prayers at VMI were unConstitutional — a ruling the Supreme Court declined to review. However, he ignores the ruling’s own qualifier: Read more