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Judge Allows Preacher to Speak at Schools

Associated Press, USA
Nov. 18, 2003 • Tuesday November 18, 2003

MARION, Ill. – A federal judge has allowed a Texas evangelist to address public school students in this southern Illinois town.

U.S. District Judge James Foreman issued an order Monday allowing Texas-based evangelist Ronnie Hill to speak at local schools, said Robert Marsh, who fought the assemblies in court.

However, the judge’s order blocked Hill’s followers from distributing invitations to the church revival where Hill is speaking.

The first of Hill’s anti-drug, secular speeches was held Monday morning at a Marion elementary school. Other assemblies were planned Tuesday at local junior and senior high schools.

School district officials and their lawyers did not return repeated telephone messages left Monday by The Associated Press.

In Marion, a town of about 15,000 about 15 miles from Carbondale, public schools regularly pass out flyers with students’ homework advertising Christian youth groups, and high school students sometimes pray around the school’s flag pole.

Marsh said he has filed a motion for a permanent injunction that would ban religious figures from addressing Marion students and limit students from distributing religious material in school.

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