September 2021 Church & State Magazine | AU Bulletin

South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem (R) told attendees of a conservative gathering in Iowa in July that she is working on “putting back” prayer in schools.

Noem made the comment while addressing the Family Leadership Summit in Des Moines.

“I don’t recognize the country I had the opportunity to grow up in,” Noem said. “I just don’t. When I grew up, people were proud to have a job. They weren’t confused on the difference between boys and girls. We prayed in schools, which by the way, in South Dakota, I’m putting prayer back in our school.”

A South Dakota television station, KOTA in Rapid City, contacted Noem’s office to ask her to provide more information about how she was returning prayer to schools. All her office would say is, “Stay tuned.”

The South Dakota Supreme Court struck down mandatory recitation of the Lord’s Prayer in the state’s public schools in 1929. The U.S. Supreme Court invalidated school-sponsored prayer and Bible reading in public schools in 1962 and ’63. Voluntary, non-disruptive prayer remains legal.

Noem is widely believed to be laying the groundwork for a presidential run in 2024.