Pray

In a small town south of Houston, they say school prayer is a matter of religious freedom. But even in Santa Fe, freedom for one student can be tyranny for another.

At the same time, it's clear that the same forces of flux so visible in places like Galveston, La Marque and Texas City, are what has energized Santa Fe's leaders to defend their traditional religious practices in the first place. It may be that in December, Judge Kent will say those efforts make a pattern of "endorsing one religious belief over another." Then again, Kent may decide that the dose of religion in Santa Fe schools is just enough to foster morality.

Meanwhile, Santa Fe's residents argue about majority and minority rights as if they were texts written in two different languages. The stake, both sides believe, is nothing less than their children's spirits. And at the Busy Bee, Haydee Moranto, starting her last year of school, ponders a question that's occurred to her in the advanced English class she's taking. The class is studying the Bible in the context of Western literature, and comparing the different translations.

"One Bible says Job is 'perfect' and the other says he is 'honest,'" Haydee says perplexedly. "Which of them is right? One of them has got to be, you know.

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