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Letter: School prayer

This issue of group public prayer in schools is important because freedom of religion is in the First Amendment of the American Constitution. However, many people disagree about how to uphold it. Former House-speaker Newt Gingrich proposed an amendment to the Constitution that would allow voluntary public prayer in public schools. President Clinton caved in almost immediately, backing the bill to appeal to conservative Republicans.

My position is that public (group) praying shouldn’t be allowed in public schools because it puts students and teachers in a position where they would express their religious beliefs in a public setting, which violates their rights. Public prayer in schools contradicts the First Amendment because it forces students and teachers to express their religious views (or lack of) in a public setting. “The Constitutional Amendment on School Prayer or Moment of Silence” by the ACLU says “if adopted the amendment would allow public officials, including teachers, to dictate how, when, and where school children and others should pray.” However, there are some people who disagree. People say that not allowing public prayer in schools causes an increase in violence and bad behavior because a large part of most religions is teaching morals. “Morals can only be built on the basis that a moral source —God — exists,” says Creation Today. I don’t believe that this is true or that prayer is necessary in a “good” society. As the Constitutional Rights Foundation says, “There are many possible factors to the increase in school violence, most possible gang violence activity around schools ...” I believe that religion is something that should be kept to one’s self or groups of like-minded that get together on their own, like church, and should most definitely be kept out of extensions of the government like public schools.

ERIN E. SNELL

Warwick

Erin, please read the Constitution. You do not seem to understand it. How many states after the Constitution was signed had a state religion? Did they have to give it up after it was signed. Or does the Constitution refer to the federal government having a sponsored religion? Thus protecting states rights. Hint! when the king of England wanted to get divorced the church would not grant it just because he was not happy and wanted to marry someone else. So the King of England decided to become the head of the Church of England. He eliminated anyone that said he could not do that, he purged anyone that opposed him and made everyone join the Cof E. This is the basis of that amendment. It has nothing to do with prayer, it only means the federal government cannot force you into a religion or pick one. There has always been prayer in any government function. The house and senate have always had prayer. That being the case if the Constitution was against that why was every function including swearing in of the president and all offices on the bible allowed. It makes me wonder if anyone has read it or the federalist papers.

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