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Court Lifts Ban On Prayer At Texas High School Graduation

"Public prayer will be allowed at a Texas high school graduation after a federal appeals court on Friday reversed a ban won by an agnostic family that claimed ceremony traditions such as invocations are unconstitutional," the AP writes.

On Tuesday, U.S. District Judge Fred Biery barred students from asking the audience to join in prayer or bow their heads, a move Governor Rick Perry called " reprehensible" today. The San Antonio Express-News reports the original ruling unleashed furor, including threats to the school and the judge:

All week, the furor over the issue had attracted activists and political players who criticized the decision and supported valedictorian , who wants to pray during her commencement speech.

The AGAPE Movement, a Christian group based in Wichita Falls, announced Friday it would make buses available to transport people to the school in Castroville for a "peaceful disagreement" with this week's ruling by Chief U.S. District Judge of San Antonio.

"This is a complete victory for religious freedom and for Angela," said , president/CEO of the , a conservative non-profit that advocates for churches caught up in legal tangles and which represented Hildenbrand. "We are thrilled that she will be able to give her prayer without censorship in her valedictorian speech tomorrow night."

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Eyder Peralta
Eyder Peralta is NPR's East Africa correspondent based in Nairobi, Kenya.