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THE

$2 . 50

AMERICAN ATHEIST

A Journal of Atheis t News and Thought

(Vol. 24, No.8) August, 198 2

MORAL

MA ORITY

RandeC£ Thomas

1980

AMERICAN ATHE I S T S

i s a n o n - pr o fit , n o n - p o li t i ca l , e du c a ti o n al o r g a ni za ti o n ,

s t a t e a nd c hur c h . Co nstituti o n o f th e

f r ee dom o f thou g ht a n d i nquir y c on ce r ni n g

r e li g iou s b e li e fs , c r eeds, d og m as, t e n e t s , ri tu a l s a nd prac t i c es;

t o co ll ect a nd di ss e m ina t e i nform a tion , d ata a n d l it e r at u re on al l rel i gion s and p r omot e a mor e tho r ou g h und e rst a nding of t h e m , th eir o r i g in s a n d h i sto r i e s ;

d ed i c a t e d to t he co mpl e te a nd a bsolu te sep a r a tio n

th a t the " Fi rst A m endme n t "

be tw ee n s tat e and c hurch .

of

W

e acc e pt

th e e x pl a n a t ion

o f T h omas Jef f e rson

t o th e

Uni ted St a t es wa s m ea nt to c r eat e a " wa ll o f s e parati o n "

to s tim u l a t e and pr o mote

Am er i c an Ath e i sts a r e o r ga ni z ed

t o e n c our a g e t h e dev e l opm e nt a n d p ubl i c ac ce pt a n ce

a nd i n terdep e nd e nce

o f a hu man

of a l l p eo pl e and t h e co r responding

eth i ca l syst e m , st r essing the mutu a l

responsib i l i t y of eac h

sy mp a th y , und e r s t a n d in g

indi v idu a l in relation t o socie t y ;

 

to

d evelop and pr o p ag at e

a c u lt u r e i n w h ic h ma n is t h e cent r a l fi g u r e w h o

a l on e must b e the source

of

s

tr e ngth , pro gres s a nd ideals f o r t h e wel l - be i ng and h ap pin ess o f hu ma ni t y;

 
 

t

o pr o m o t e

t h e s tud y

a n d o f all prob l ems

aff ec t i ng the mainten a n c e,

perpet u a tion a n d enri ch m e nt

o f th e arts a nd s c i e n ces of hu m a n ( a nd o t her) lif e ;

 
 

t

o e n gage

i n s u ch s o c i a l , edu ca t i o n al ,

lega l a nd c u l tu r a l a ct i vit y a s w il l b e usefu l and benefi c i a l

t o

m e mb er s o f Am e ri can A t h e i s ts a nd t o soc i ety as a who l e .

Ath e i s m m a y b e d e f in e d a s th e m e n t a l a ttitu de w hi c h unr ese r ved l y ac ce p ts th e su pr emacy of r e ason a nd

a im s at e st a blishin g a li festyle a n d et h ical o u t l ook v er ifi ab l e by e xperien c e a nd the scient i fic m et h o d,

ind e p e nd e nt of a ll a r b i t r a r y

a ssump t i o n s o f a ut h o r i t y a n d c r ee d s.

M a t e ri a lism d ecl a r es t h a t th e cos m os is devo id o f imm a n e nt c o n sci o u s pu rp ose;

th a t it is gover n ed by its own

inh e r e nt , immut a bl e a n d imp e rson a l

finding his r e sour ces w ithin him se lf - c a n

dignity a nd his int e ll ectu a l int e grit y . It t ea c h e s t h a t w e mu s t pri ze o ur

it . It hold s th a t m an i s ca p ab l e

a nd m u s t c r ea t e hi s ow n

l aws ; th a t th ere i s no

sup e rna t u r a l in t e rfere n ce in hum a n l i f e; that man ---

dest i ny. M a t e ri a li s m r esto r e s to man h i s

lif e o n ea r t h

a nd s triv e a lw a ys t o im prove

" f aith" is in

o f c r ea t i n g a so c ia l s ys t e m b ased o n reason an d ju s ti ce. M a t e ri a li s m ' s

man and m a n ' s a bilit y

e ss e nc e lif e a ss e rting.

ide as th a t in s pir e m a n t o bold c r ea ti ve wo rk s. M a t e r ia li s m hold s t h at hu ma nk i nd ' s

outr e ach to mor e fulfilling cultur a l d ev el o pm e nt is , f o r all pr ac tic a l purpos e s , unlimit e d .

to tr a n s form th e wo rld c ultur e

It co n s id e r s th e st r ugg l e fo r pr og r ess

b y hi s o wn e ffort s . This i s a co mmitm e nt

w hi c h i s in ve r y

n o bl e

as a m or al o b l i ga tion and impo s sibl e w ith out

p o t e n t i al f or good and for a n

••••••••••• *••••••• *.*.** •••••••••••••••••• *.** •••• *••*.** ••••••• ***

AMERICAN ATHEISTS

P.O . BOX 2117

AUSTIN, T X 7 8768-2117

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THIS ISSUE

(Vol . 24, No.8) August, 1982

ARTICLES

History of Litigation o f Prayer in Public Schools by Dr . Madalyn Mur r ay O'Hair

4

Education in Psychological Perspective by D r . J.R . Kantor

12

The Agnostic ' s D i lemma by Norwood Russell Hanson

19

Pope Wojtyla in Fatima, Portugal by Jean Yves Riviere

21

 

REG . ULAR FEATURES

Editorial : The Prayer Gambit by Jon Garth Murray

2

 

NEWS AND EVENTS

Noted Atheist Visits United States

Centerfold A

Pictorial Review

Centerfold B·C

Address by Erkki Hartikainen

Centerfold 0

Dial an Atheist Listing

26

End of the E.R . A .

28

 

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AM ERIC A N A T HE IST

MORAL

MAJORITY

•••

--

ON THE COVER

Superstition

is incomplete

without a

powerfu l talisman capable of "warding off evil . " Throughout al l of recorded

histo r y t h e swast i ka

"svastika") has been used by various

occu l t ideologies

India the Jainists (hindu sect) imagined

that the four arms of the swastika repre -

sented

b i rth " , i.e. (1) The animal or p l ant

(2)in hell, (3) on earth ,

world . " It has been used a l ternately

sun sign (with arm extensions pointing clockwise) or a moon sign (arm exten-

sions in a counterclockw i se

usage is recorded in early Greece, Meso- potamia, South, Central and North A - merican Indian cultures and by the Cypri- ans . It appeared in early christ i an and Byzantine art and was known as the

gammadian cross because of i ts similari- ty to the Greek letter gamma. All in all , I suppose you might say that wherever ignorance and superstition is to be found, there also you will find some

u s a ge of the swa s tika symbol or a similar

trinket that is thought po w ers."

(from the Sanskrit

In

as such an object .

the four possible

places of "re -

world ,

(4) in the "spirit

as a

mode). Its

to have "magical

Unfortun a tely

for past

users

of the

highly regarded swastika, its symbolic

si g nifi c anc e has m o re recently received a

disturbing b l emish. The German Nazi

reg i me adopted the Hakenkr e u z (sw a sti-

ka), or "hooked - cruc i fi x, "

symbol . Du e to the nature of wartime

Germany's v e ry conservative religi o sity

a

hakenkr e uz seems appropri a te . Previ- ous users had a l so be e n ultracon s er va - tiv e in their cultur a l and social practices .

No ma t ter how you slice it , ultraconser -

vativ i sm

cism. What m o re perfect example of totalitarian rule could be drawn than that of an absolute ruler of al l mankind - the god concept . What a pe r fect dictator -

t ru l y the " way of the cross"!

as i t s national

of the

nd nationalism,

th e select i on

is the road to totalitarian

fas -

G . Thole n

EDITORIAL

JON GARTH MURRA Y

THE PRAYER GAMBIT

O n Ma y 6th of th is yea r

ose G a rd e n

o ut s id e

Presi d ent

a nd pr aye r m eeti n g i n th e

R eag an

h el d a

1 2 0

com b in a ti o n pr e ss c onf eren ce

R

relig ious a nd co ns e r va ti v e p o liti ca l l ea d e r s in a tt e nd a nce ,

a mong t h em J e rr y F a lwe l l . At t h at co n fere n ce he a n -

t he Whi te H ouse

w i th a bout

by s i mply being small in number ca nn o t influence C ongress

o

any grievance o r civil right a bridgment throu g h the C ourts .

Th ere i n t h ey h ave a f oru m , at least by o r ig i nal d esign , that

d oes no t d e p en d upon their numbers

r t h e E xec u t i ve

a nd are therefore

l e ft to seek re dr ess

for

or pol i tical musc l e t o

n

o un ce d hi s b ack i ng of a c on stit uti o n a l

a m en dm e n t t o

p ut

g

e t a fair

h ea rin g . I f th a t forum i s c l ose d down or restricted

"

v o lun ta ry"

pr aye r back in th e publi c s c h o ol s.

in

ce rtain a r eas, t o what s h o uld min o r i tie s t u rn ? Vi o le n ce ?

In this i ss u e y ou wi ll find a n a rti c l e c on ce rn e d

w i th

th e

A

g

o o d m o d er n e xa mple is o ur o wn b l ac k c ommun i t y p rior

history of th e fi g h t for r e ligi o us cere moni e s

in th e public

t

o th e p a s sa g e of some o f the civ il rights a c ts.

schools

in th e United

St a t e s.

That a rti c l e

If th e s e f e w co ns e r va tive c on g r e s s m e n

su cc eed , will we

a

c cur ate

a nd was part of a l e g a l do c um e nt .

is f a ctu a lly Pl ea s e re a d it

t

h e n

h ave , in e ffect , a two - p a rt form of go ve rnme nt ?

Th e

c

a r e fully

a s it c ontains

inform a tion

to eve ry

a

nsw e r i s a s h o cking

y e s . A go v e rnme nt

of l e gisl a tive a n d

Atheist . In a dditi o n s om e co mm e n ta r y

import a nt i s n e e d e d .

exec utive

fiat with a c irc um ve nt e d

judic i a r y wi ll me a n

I

n his s peec h

R eag an said , am o n g oth er things , th a t " I

h

Fi

r eligion f r om

with the

thin k ing o f m a n y " li be r al " sepa r a ti on - of-state -a nd - c h u r c h

gr ou p s today. Am e r ic a n A the i s t s i s th e only group w illing to

s ta nd for free d om fro m r elig i on a s a n e cess ary

f r ee d om of r elig i on. Th e r e i s not muc h that w e can d o now , howeve r , about a n administr a tiv e int e rpr e tation of the First

c oro ll ary to

pr

gove r nment tyranny . " T his li n e is s y nonymous

( th e to

av e n ever be li eved that t h e o ft - qu oted

r st

Am e ndm e n t

otect

t o t h e C o nsti tuti o n )

a m en d me n t was s up po s e d

u s f r om religi o n , i t was to p r otec t

Am e ndm e n t as ru nni ng o nl y i n one direction. Th at leani n g

has been standard W hite H ouse procedure

E isenhowe r . W e d id n o t c o r r ect t h is i n terp r etatio n

w e ha ve to l ive wi th i t no w .

t least since

a

the n , so

Th a t fact is i mp orta n t bu t n ot so important as t h e rea l

it

u p to th e pr e ss i n t h e Rose G a r den w h en h e sa i d,

" Obvi o usly , th e purp ose of th e c onstit u ti o n a l a m en dm e nt i s

Court and t o put it (th e issu e of

t o c ir c umv e n t

pr a y e r in publi c sc hools) out of th e ir r eac h . " This propos e d

a

m o tive b e hind R eag a n ' s endor sem e n t .

F

a l we ll summ e d

th e Supreme

m e ndm e nt

is noth i ng but a wolf in s h ee p' s

c l ot hing.

F o r s o m e years now , in both t h e C a r ter an d R eag a n

dmini s tr a ti ons ,

a

C o ngr e ss

c

mor e in th e l a tt e r ,

va ri o u s

m em ber s

o f

h ave b een p us h i n g th e n ot i on of C o n gre ssi o n a l

Court j uri sdi ct i o n

in som e key ar eas .

u r b ing of Sup rem e

simp ly m a j o rity , o r should I say " m o r a l m a jori t y ",

r u le. In

1

943 , a f ter a se rie s o f fede r al cases i n volv in g schools ,

t h e

Su p r eme

of

pol i tic a l c on t ro v ersy ,

majorit i e s

pr

l i b e rty, a nd pr operty ,

of worship a nd a ss e mbly, a nd oth e r fundamen t al rights ma y

not b e submitted

e l e ctions ."

th

l ose ou r c i v il r i gh t s a s well.

The issues arou nd whi c h to rally the muzzl i ng of th e

c ourts h ave not bee n c hos e n lig h t l y . T his goes d o u bl e for

t

of n o

as l e g a l

One ' s right to l if e ,

the re ac h of

was to withd raw certain subje c ts

Cou r t s aid , " T he v ery pur pos e

o f a B i l l of Rights

f r om the v icissitud e s

them

to place them be y ond

a nd officials , a n d to estab l ish

to b e applied b y the c ourts.

i n ciples

to f r e e sp eec h, a fre e p ress , f r eedom

to vote; th ey d e pend on th e outcome

We nee d to maintain a high C ourt that re t ain s

w e

in your

i s p o sition at a ll cos t s . If w e l o s e o ur f orum of dissen t ,

h e pr a y er i ss u e. Ca n yo u name a representative

sta t e leg i s l atu re w ho wo ul d dar e go on record as vo ting

aga in st "vo lu ntar y

o

wo uld b e u se d b y thei r o ppon e nt i n th e n ex t elec tion a nd

w o ul d cost th em th e ir se at, i n a l most a n y dist r i ct, e s p. so m e

of t h e rura l ones . F e d e r a l l egis l ators a r e , o n t h e ot he r hand,

a littl e l ess v uln e r ab l e t o d e m a g og i c pr essur e th an s om e one

wh o i s elec t e d by a sma ll di s t r ict i ns tead o f a n enti re state . I f

t

pr ayer" in pu b lic sc h oo l s? I ca n 't t hink o f

p art o f th eir v oting r ec ord

n e i n T exas .

T ha t p a rticula r

h e R e aga n

prayer a m e ndment i s to be stopp e d , it must be

Th ose a r eas ha ve b een s el e c t e d f ar mo r e for their em o tio n al

stoppe d in t h e F ederal C ongress.

An ame nd ment

to the

a

p peal to the vo t e r s at lar g e t h an fo r their fa c e v alue. They

Constitu tion

r equires two - third s

of both H ouses

of Con -

ar e bus in g (t o achi eve r acia l b a l ance i n t h e schoo l s),

abortio n / r ig h t - to-I i fe,

ERA , an d a id to parochial schools . I n

g r ess pl u s th e rati ficati o n of t he legi s l atu res

the F ederal Congre ss lets t h e prayer amen d ment

of 38 states.

If

loos e on

each of t h ese a r eas attem p ts

h ave been mad e in eit h er th e

t h e states,

i t will be ra t ifie d faster than a n y amen dment

in

H

o u se o r t h e S e n ate t o p a ss l eg i slation to l i m it in so m e way

the history

o f t h is c oun try .

I t wil l not be d efeate d

as was

t h e j ur i sd iction of the S u pr eme

Court or F ed e ral Courts in

E.

R . A . Wh y do I s ay th i s? W hy am I so pessimistic ?

One

g

e n eral, co n cer ni ng r ev i ew, esp. a pp ellate review, of t h ese

example w ill s u ffice. Th e H u n tsvill e T imes recen tly

p ub -

m at t ers.

I n effect, so m e co n gressm e n

have be e n aski n g

lished an arti c l e done by t he Washington Po s t News S e rvic e

their co ll eag u es

t o vote f or a b r each in the t r i - parti for m of

on L o uisi ana p a r i sh sc h ools that ig n ore t h e 1 963 d ec i sion on

e ck s -and - b a lan ces

ch

t

ion .

go vern m ent

s et u p by o u r C o n stitu -

Our f oundin g father s e s t a bli s h e d

a J u d i c i a l

b ran c h

o f

ove r t h e L eg isl a tiv e

Bran c h (th e C o ngr e ss) and the Exe c uti v e Br a nch prin c ipal -

governm e nt

t o h ave r ev iew p ow er s

ly

demonstrat e d to us , that a minority group, suc h as Atheists ,

a s a saf e gu a rd f or minorities .

Th ey kn ew , a s history has

P

a g e 2

August , 1982

re

stu d e n t s , teache r s ,

op in io n a nd h ere is wh at so m e o f t h e m s a i d :

lig io u s ce re m on i es

in public schools. a nd a d ministrato r s

In t hat we r e a ske d

article t h eir

1) Moth e r o f a s tud e n t

-

A s fo r the S u preme

C o u r t

" T o h e c k w ith them. I ' m not g o in g t o l e t any o ne t e ll m e wh e n my c hild c an pray . If w e' r e b r eak ing t he law , so

b e it. "

Th e America n Ath e i s t

2) A school

Supreme

p

- t o what the people in this community

w a nt . The cou r ts ha v e gon e too fa r . They'v e reached

Washingt o n

3) A school

- Court says it, doesn ' t mean it's the law. The "

closer than

the

board member

"

Just because

"We ' re

e ople are the law of the land

board pres i dent

t h e point where they ' re trying to regulate everything about our lives."

4 ) A s c hool board member

" I' d rather be right Court . "

-

with g o d t han the Supreme

5) An ll - year

(pray e r) ; it helps us on our

old female student

tests. "

-

"I like it

Then the Huntsville (Alabama) Times r eported again

on July 1st that the

"family lobby " with his wife and son for t he bill, was ready

to lead

willing public school students in any prayer or a sug-

gested offering ' of written by the governor's

to back up the

sentiments of the teachers', students', and administra- tors' remarks above, was overturned by the Fifth Federal

Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans standing by the

to sign into law a bill allowing "willing teachers

governor in that state , after forming a

son . '

" In

Louisiana an official legislative attempt

Court ruling . In fact, since 1963 , there

have been forty major challenges to the Supreme Court

1963 Supreme

6) A 17 ' year old male s e nior - " It (morning prayer)

ruling in both Federal

and State courts .

All have been

gi v es you a chance to get your thoughts

together .

unsuccessful.

You do n' t have to pray. I f you'r e an Atheist , you

Since every Federal legislative attempt

to curb Su -

can s i t and t hink . "

7

go v erned

p

br eak i ng

t

no t v i o l a tin g a nybody ' s

g o ing to do next ? Take god's name off our coins? "

) A fifth grade

a y the p e nalty .

h e maj o rity .

- by rul e s and laws. If you break them , you

says I'm

the rules , but I'm working f o r the good of

teacher

"We are a nation

Court

The Supreme

I ' m willing to pay the penalty . We ' re

right here. What are we

a re embodied

mis co n c epti o ns

preme Cour t i n Murray v . Curlett . The Court ruling did no t o utl a w vo luntary p riva te prayer by indi v iduals . Nor

c o uld it ha ve unde r o ur Constitution.

la w ed "re ligious c eremonies ,"

" p ray er" wa s a n integral part of a religious ceremony ;

you h av e a re ligiou s c er e mony ,

T

pray er" i n pu b lic s chool s is not necessary .

n ow, at this moment ,

hall , be t ween classes, before they begin a test and so

T

in schoo ls , whether the pray e r was voluntary or compul-

sory . Numb e r

C o urt s pok e t o organi z ed o r group prayer

In these a nsw e rs

all of the standard

of the Su o

of th e June

1963 decision

The Court out -

going on to say that a

if

it must contain prayer.

for "voluntary S t ud e nts can

h us , R e a gan 's

he S u preme

proposed

amendment

pray over their lunch t r ay , in the

speaks

in an

on.

A th eist child ju s t sit a nd

and peer

o f f- hand way to t he

Can a n

think? No, of co urse n ot . The e mot i on al

pressure

the c l a ss d oes o r a s th e

disobe die nc e " is n ot a pr a ctical alte r n a tiv e for a stude n t .

An y studen t who fail e d to particip a te would be th e " dirt y

litt l e A t h ei s t " a nd woul d i mmedi a t e l y b e ost racize d . F ew

young sters h av e the stamin a

an d c om ple te ost r a c is m a t the same tim e .

6 ab o v e

notion of vol un tee r is m .

is s o gre a t on a scho o l ch il d t o d o as the r e s t of

teach er dir ec ts o r leads that "c i v il

to co pe with t heir studies

Number

7 spe a ks

di re ctly t o " majority

rule ." Only a

ew d a ys ag o I happ e n e d

f

u po n J e r ry Fal w ell spe a king

f r o m his

hann e ls . stopp e d

c

pulpi t in Virginia o n o ne of our l o cal cable

He w as t a lki n g ab o ut t o li st e n f o r a mo me n t .

in scho o l so I

who lead th e ir c l a ss in

pray e r I cannot quote him f r om

mem or y now ex a c t ly , but i n g e n e r a l he said t hat he knew

o f m a n y pu b l ic s cho o l tea c her s

p

w i th th e

kno w l ed ge of a dmini st rat o r s and somet im e s n o t . H e

urg e d t h ose t ea che rs to c ont i n ue that practic e . He

qu i pp e d s o m e thin g

of paus e he

s

do, p u t the m i n j ai l?" T hen a f t er a mom e nt

ver y c lose t o "w h at are they go i ng to

ray e r e ach and ever y s c h oo l da y , some ti me s

aid , "W ouldn ' t

that be a wo nd er f ul

thing t o go to jail

fo r ?" - a dire c t encouragement

the law in fav or of their religiou s convictions .

for teachers to v iolate

Austin Texas

preme Court jurisdiction on school prayer, or any of the

o

state or local legislative

Court on the issue have failed, a Constitutional Amend- ment a t tempt is the only thing left . So far only two

members of Congress

hand , that of preserving our checks-and-balances

tem of gov e rnment . Those two we r e Sen. Edward

Kennedy of Massachusetts and Sen . Lowell Weicker of Connecticut , the l a tter leading a Senate filibuster on the busing issue .

jurisdiction in

ther emotional

issues I have cited, has failed , and since

attempts

have realized

to circumvent

the

the true issue at

sys-

If Congress chooses to curb High Court

one are a , they can one by one do th e same in other areas until many minority causes that have been so dearly won

the drain . Without a protest forum, what are

we to do as Atheists? The prospects are bleak indeed. Congress can make exceptions to Supreme Court jurisdiction constitutionality , unfortunately . I view this as the one of two major flaws in an other w ise magnificent document . Article I II, Section 2, Pa r agraph 2 of the

will go down

Constitution tioned , ("

t

sha l l have appellate jurisdiction,

" [ P aragraph

states,

" I n all other

cases

before men-

to a ll cases, in law and equity, aris i ng under

1]) the Supreme Court both as to la w and fact ,

and under such regul a tions as the

his cons titution

with such excep t i o ns ,

C ong re ss shall make ."

Congress has not chosen to t a ke full advantag e of this

c

combinati o n of rightwing religious and political fig u res i n

p o wer no w , the situation could change rapidly . Preserv-

in g a forum

issu e is o f f a r more importance than daily sch o ol praye r itself . The v e hicle of school prayer is, however , th e most

of dissen t for Atheists is now in doubt . That

With a

h e cks-and-balances

loophole in prior sessions.

e ffectiv e means of getting

wou l d have a true " O n e Nation Under God . "

the j o b done by those who

Can we stop o ur Const i tution

from being split up . I

after Wo r ld

War II o ur country plunged into a course of action

designed to reach this ultima t e end of a complete

"

sa

o f the

don ' t th i nk so , not a t this p oint. Immed i ately

majo r ity" rule of t heo cr ac y .

p ro g ress of theocracy

No one w as a round then to

y no. No suff i c ient obs t acle has been placed in th e p a th

in some 30 y e ars n o w,

mostly bec a use the " l i beral" co mmunity refused to

r

d

ec ogn i ze ire c tio n.

th e gra v ity

of small s t e ps

in a theo cr a tic

No w th a t we are i n the lar g e - step stage it i s too

late t o wake up. Every o ne w ho eve r said :

A) " 'In God We Trust' o n t he money doesn ' t hurt

August , 1982

(Con t' d on page 26)

Page 3

History of Litigation of Prayer in Public Schools

In 1979, American

Atheists

were involved

in litigation to challenge

a law then put into effect

by the State

of

Massachusetts which would haue returned prayer to the public schools of that state . At that time, Madalyn o ' Hair wrote the brief for the case , a part of which was a suruey of the history of litigation to remoue prayer in the public schools of our

nation .

Since this perennial issue has again reared its irrational head in the United States Congress by the submission thereto of

the President of the United States,

Court in Boston, Massachusetts , is just the information you need, dear reader, as you argue the issues with those around

brief filed in U . S. District

a proposed Constitutional Amendment by

it is felt that this

you.

The practice of bible reading and prayer recitation in the public schools has caused more litigation than perhaps any other issue in the last one hundred and twenty years,

public spectacles were attempting to "have glory of men ,"

jesus christ admonished against such activity. Specifically , in respect to prayer, he warned:

beginning with the first case in Maine

in 1854, Donahue u.

Matt. 6;

Richards 38 Me . 376 and continuing to the present day .

5. And when thou prayest,

thou sha l t not be as the

There has been state level litigation in forty apellate courts,

hypocrites

are : for they love to pray standing

in the

during the 19th century and up to 1962 and 1963 when three

synagogues

(ed: the only "church"

he

knew) and in the

cases were heard by the

Following these, litigation has moved into the federal court system with cases from 1964 to current date heard in Federal District Courts in Illinois, Massachusetts, New

United States Supreme Court .

corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men .

Verily I say

6 . But thou , when thou prayest , enter into

when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy father which i s

unto you , they have their reward.

thy closet, and

York , New Jersey , Florida , Michigan , Delaware, Idaho ,

in secret;

and thy f a ther

which se e th

in secret

shall

Pennsylvania, Arkansas and Florida . In every session of the

reward thee openly.

 

United States Congress for the last 27 years, the exercises

7

. But when ye pray , use not vain repetitions ,

as the

of bible reading / prayer

been the subject of discussion , resolution and attempted

legislation. The difficulties have arisen almost exclusively because of sectarian rivalries for domination of the children in the public school systems of the United States.

recitation in the public schools has

There are five classic positions

being taken

by the

combatants in this continuing fray . They are those of :

(1) the christian

purists,

primarily the seventh

day

adventists and certain protestant evangelical denomina -

heathen

their much speaking.

8 . Be not ye therefore like unto t hem: for you r f ather

knoweth what things ye have need of , before ye ask him .

9 . After this manner therefore

art in heaven, hallowed be thy name .

pra y ye : Our father whi c h

do: for they think that they shall be heard f rom

10 . Thy kingdom come . Thy will be done in earth , as it is

in heaven. 11. Give us this day our daily bread.

12 . And forgive us our debts , as we forgive our debtors .

tions;

13

. And

lead us not into temptation ,

but deliver us fr o m

(2) the roman catholics, the mormons and certain conservative and fundamentalist denominations;

evil: For thine is the kingdom , glory, for ever . Amen .

and t he power, and th e

(3) the jews,

The seventh day adventists, certain evangelical and other

(4) the mainline protestant faiths ; and

literalists take

this at face value and object

to pra y er

in

(5) Atheists. (This includes agnostics, humanists, ethical

public schools,

or

to public

prayer anywhere . Some of th e

culturists, most unitarian-universalists, realists, rationalists,

litigants have been of this literalist opinion . Other objections

objectivists, freethinkers, secularists, iconoclasts, and "no choice.") In most recent years, since the Second World War

are based on the source as well as the content of the prayer . In respect to the source - prayers are based in d i ffe ring theological premises springing from different books whic h

period, the latter group , in increasing numbers is exerting

are " holy"

to the different sects . Most often , therefore ,

th e

its civil libertarian

public, tax - supported school system. They see the job of public education as being wholly secular , with the preroga - tive for any religious education reserved as the private right

of the parent (in his home or in his church).

and

present stances are based on several theological interprcta- tions . The most obvious is that given by the alleged author of christianity - jesus christ . In the very famous and much revered sermon on the mount, Matt. 6:1·18, jesus christ gave a lecture on the evils of hypocrisy. Three actions were considered to be of this nature: public alms giving, public prayer and public fasting. With apparent concern that those who engaged in such

rights to freedom from religion in the

Briefly , with some oversimplification ,

the historic

argument in the public a rena (the courts of the Unit e d States) has been around the use of one or another v ersion of the bible , depending upon which is most sacred to a given sectarian group .

In most litigation in this area of concern , prayer recitat i on

has been inextricably

than 90 % of the litigation from 1854 to circa 1960 dealt w ith roman catholic objection to the predominant use of the pro t estant bible and prayer in the public schools . A short descriptive history of the basis of the difficulty is necessary .

bound up with b i b l e reading .

Mo r e

The roman catholics use the Rheims-Douav

version of

the bible . This is based on the latin, vulgate bible compiled by Eusebius Hieronymous ("St. Jerome") A . D. c : 340-420

A . D . , the new testament being translated in 1582 in Rheims,

t h e old testament

onl y auth o rized bible in English for the roman catholic and

r e ligions until the 20th century . This

t he eastern orthodox

in 1609-1610 in Douae . This has been the

rattan stick, 3 feet in length and 3 / 8 inch thick , in an exercise which took 30 minutes before he submitted . When his

father caused h i s teacher

the

to be a r rested

for assault ,

bibl e c o n tains more " books " than does the protestant

king

co u rt d i scharged

the teacher - with comments t hat if Tom

J a m es , o r a uthoriz e d

vers i on . The latter was prepared

b y

Wall could legally refuse to read the b i ble, he could legally

54 sc h ola r s appo i nted by ki ng James I of England to

t he bible into English , t h e work on wh ich was

t r a ns late

accompli shed

in 161 l . The " lord ' s p r ayer "

in the Rheims-

D o u ay ve rs io n i s lo n ger than t hat in the k i ng James v e rsion .

T

not a c c e pt t he king James version as being accurate and v i ce vers a .

The jews , st i l l waiting on their messiah , do not accept any port i o n of the new testamen t . Th e situation, therefor e, prevails t hat:

is canonical to

both jew and christian , however , of the christians, the

ro m a n catholics and the eastern orthodox have one

a uth o rized version of the old testament and the protestants

an o th e r . (2 ) Th e new t estament

again w ith the Rheims-Douay and the king James versions

carr yi ng d i fferent burdens of authenticity , with the Rheims-

D o u ay c o ntaining w hat i s d e signated as "intertestamental"

o r "apocry phal " books not found in the k i ng James version .

religions do

h e rom an cat holic and th e eastern

orthodox

(

1 ) The Hebre w

bible , or old testament,

i s canonical in christianity only,

O u t of this original disagreem e nt

as to correct transla-

tions a nd in terpre t at io ns

S t a tes to r equi r e bible re ad i ng , with i ts accompanying

t rad i ti ona l prayer recitation , in the public schools . That law

w as pass e d in Mas sachuse t ts

p rotes t ant fl a v or of M ass ac hu set ts schools . The Know -

N o t hin g Par ty, w hich was ba sicall y a n anti-catholic po litical

fo

S enate ; all bu t 2 of the 37 8 members o f the House o f

and all

state officer s . This law, for compulsory bible r e ading of the

ki n g Jam es

until t h e 2 0th century . D ur ing and fol l owing t he fright of the

Russian R evo lution . be gin n ing in 1913 - unti l 196 3, similar

sta t utory

(A l abam a , A rk ansas ,

Kentuc k y, M aine , Miss issi pp i, N e w Jersey, Pennsylvania

an d Te n ne s s ee). The r o man c a tholics, increasing i n the

in

protestant saturated s c hool s, part icipatin g in t h e reading of t h e kin g James ( p r ot e stan t) bi bl e a nd say ing t he pr o tes t ant versi o n o f the lord ' s p r a ye r , w h i ch dif fe r e d f r om t hat o f th e

Do uay v e rsion . The r oman ca t holi cs, p a rents and priests , encour a ged t hei r children to refuse to participate i n the religious

exe rci se of b i ble readi n g a nd p r ay e r recitation .

did jus t that and was expelled

c ou r s e, Br i dget Donahue

f r o m scho o l . When the father filed a suit to compel

rei nstatement ,

insult to in j ury the Supreme Court of Maine held that the

bible for school use,

school in designating

To add

In Maine , o f

popul ation through i m migrati o n , f oun d their childr en

Representa t iv e s)

came the first law in the United

in 1855 in order to retain

the

o f the

one in th e United States

in twelve other

states

r ce, cap t ur e d

th e st a t e legisl a tur e (every member

in 1855 an d e l e c te d

the governo r

vers i on , was th e o nl y

p rovis io ns

w e r e pa ssed

De law ar e , F l or ida , Georgia, Idaho,

the priest was tarred and feathered.

the k i ng J ames

did not violate Br i dget ' s rights and the designation

w arr ant j ud ic ia l i nterfer e nce. Donahu e v . Richards, s up r a .

did n ot

T o m W a ll , age 11 , had a more diffi c ult time in Massachu -

se t ts . T h e re,

weekly . Inspired by (2 / 3rds of the school)

refused to r ead the bible . He was beaten on his hands wi t h a

his priest , he and 60 other students

da i ly and recite t h e ten c o mmandments

he was f or c ed t o rea d th e king James b i bl e

refuse to listen to it also , which would make

the bible " and its use in the schools . Commonwealth v .

for a " war upon

Cooke , 7 Am . L . Reg . 417

e x pelled from school. An actual bible war did

(1859). Over 100 children were

break out in C i ncinnati. There ,

bible reading had been i n the public school system since

the efforts of roman catholic bishop John

1829 . Through

Purcell , the ordinary

came to be modified, in 1842 , so that roman catholic

children could be excused . In 1852 when the school system codified regulations he gained the right for the roman catholic children to read from the Douay bible. But , by 1869, with the costs of parochial schools heavy upon the parents

of the 15,000 students

effort to have the children accepted in the public schools . In

o r der

15 to prohibit bible reading entirely. Concerned protestant parents immediately brought suit and the case was a highly

publicized and bitter one . Board of Education of the City of

Cincinnati v . Minor , 23 Ohio St . 211 (1872). There , the State Supreme Court upheld the board ' s authority to exclude the bible from school. In November, 1843, bishop Francis Kenrick , of Philadel - phia, petitioned the school board to permit roman catholic

c hildren to use the Douay version

wa s quick and violent . Roman ca t holics were everywhere attacked . Homes were destroyed by f i re , mob rioting broke

out on the streets , two roman catholic churches in the Philadelphia suburb of Kensington , St . Michael ' s and St. Augustine's were reduced to ashes. A convent was de - stroyed. Residents were shot down in the streets.

ruling of king James

bible r eading

who attended them, there was an

to effectuate this , the Board of Education voted 22 to

of the bible . The reaction

When news of t he rioting

reached New York , bishop

John Hughes armed hi s parishioners, who then stationed

t hemselves around the roman catholic churches. Only the

in t ervention of th e militia , the mayors and the governors quelled the destruction .

I n the following cases, despite roman catholic pleas , the

courts sust ained the validity of reading the protestant king

James

accompany that bible reading and the cases i n wh ic h prayer was invol v ed are indica t ed : Donahue v. Richa r ds , supra

(1854) , Spiller v . Inhabitants of Woburn , 94 Mass. 127

(1866) - i n c luded prayer issue ; Moore v . Monroe , 64 Iowa 367 (1884) - in c luded prayer issue ; Billard v. Board of Education of Topeka , 69 Kans. 53 (1904) - included prayer

issue ; Hackett v. Brook s ville Graded School D i strict, 120

Ky. 608 (1905) - included prayer issue ; Church v . Bullock ,

version of the bible . Prayer was usually prescribed to

104 Tex . 1 (1906) -

Cit y of Rome , 152 Ga. App . 762 (1921) - included prayer

i ncluded prayer issue ; Wilkerson v .

issue ; People v . Stanley , 81 Colo . 276 (1927) ; Kaplan v .

Independent School District , 17 1 Minn . 142 (192 7 ) ; State e x

reI . F i nge r v . Weedman , 55 S . D . 343 (1929) -

prayer issue ; Doremus v . Board o f Education , 5 N . J . 435

(1950).

Those of an oppos i ng view , finding b i ble reading or pr a yer to be objectionable included : State e x reI Weiss v . Dis t ric t

Board, 76 Wise . 177 (1890); State ex reI Freeman v . Scheve,

6 5 Nebr . 853 (1902); People ex reI Ring v. Board of

included

Education,

245 Ill . 334 (1910) -

included prayer issue ;

whether those laws operate directly to coerce non-

Heraldv. Parish Board , 136La. 1034 (1915); andClithero v.

observing

individuals

or not. This is not to say, of

Showalter, 159 Wash. 519 (1930).

course, that laws officially prescribing

a particular

Two of these cases were appealed to the United States

form of religious worship do not involve coercion

of

Supreme Court , Clithero v. Showalter, supra , (1930), in

such individuals .

When

the power ,

prestige

and

which the court refused to direct the State Superintendent

financial support of government

is placed behind a

of Schools to institute bible reading. The U . S. Supreme Court found that there was no substantial federal question 284 US 573 (1930). Also, in Doremus v. Board of Education , supra, (1950) the issue was held to be moot since the right

before the

devolved on the student who had graduated appeal had been filed 342 US 429 (1952).

The most cogent state holding was that of People ex rei v.

Board of Education ,

roman catholic parents pointed out that the catholic church

of the bible to be an

"believes the king James

supra, in Illinois, in 1910 . There, the

version

particular religious belief , the indirect coercive pres -

sure upon religious minorities

to the

prevailing officially approved religion is plain . " Engel v.

to conform

Vitale 370 US 421 ; 82 S . Ct . 1261 ; 8 L . Ed . 2d

601 ;

The decision

separate opinion and Justice Stewart dissenting .

which the

religious community while, two Atheists

Schempp in Pennsylvania , to liberate his son, Robert , from

would earnestly

was 6-1 with Justice

Douglas

writing

a

This was going to prove

to be a decision

try to upset.

Mean-

Ed

filed cases in two different states,

incorrect and incomplete translation and that it disapproves

bible

reading and Bill Murray

in Maryland to free himself

of it being read as a devotional exercise;

that during the

from

both bible reading and

prayer recitation, in public

reading from the bible and the reciting of the (king James,

ed.) lord's prayer the pupils are required seats, fold their hands and bow their heads; The court was sympathetic .

to rise in their "

schools. Ed Schempp was terrified that his and his family's

Atheism might be discovered and therefore pretended to be "Unitarian." The Murrays were more honest and openly

litigated as Atheists.

The cases

were heard

together ,

"Christianity is a religion. The catholic church

and the

Abington School District v. Schempp and Murray v . Curlett

various protestant

churches

are sects

of that

religion .

374 U . S. 203 (1963). In an 8-1 decision,

written by Just ic e

These two versions of the scriptures are

religion of the respective sects . Protestants will not accept

the Douay bible as representing the inspired word of god Conversely , catholics will not accept the king James

version

. people , the court has no right , and the majority has no right, to force that view upon the minority , however small . It is

precisely for the protection of the minority that constitu- tionallimitations exist . Majorities need no such protection, - they can take care of themselves." From 1854 to 1952 all cases in respect to bible reading , prayer recitation in the public schools had been brought by roman catholics seeking redress from protestant domi- nated public schools .

the bases of the

Whatever

may be the view of the majority of the

It was in this atmosphere

of a hundred

years of bitter

Clark , bible reading from any version, along with recitation

In each c a s e

provisions had been made for the excuse of dissent i ng students , i.e. the exercises were allegedly voluntary . How- ever , they were found to be clearly of a religious nature

which was sufficient to make them an a thema as a part of the

by law to

attend the public schools . It is instructive that Justice Clark

curricular activities of students

of prayer, was found to be unconstitutional .

who are required

relied in part upon an unpublished

Superior Court of Cincinnati) level as a dissent) almost 100 years before in the bitterly fought case of Minor u , Board of Education of Cincinnati, to which reference has been made . supra .

opinion written (at the

Immediately

after this decision ,

the politicians

of the

nation felt that there was political hay to be made in ignoring

contention that the New York State Board of Regents, in

pressing national issues by distracting

the voters

to the

1951, composed a "non-denominational prayer" which it

issue of "prayers."

Frank J . Baker , a congressman

from

recommended to the schools of that state. This was not a

mandatory

schools utilized the prayer . Aided by the American

Liberties Union , a group of New Hyde Park parents decided to challenge it . They lost at all levels in the New York state courts. 10 N. Y. 2d 174; affirming 11 App. Div . 2d 340;

10 % of the

Civil

provision

and in fact only about

New York took the initiative in this scheme,

some "amendment" to th e Constitution of the United States, if necessary. By April, 1964, 150 such Amendments to the Constitution had been offered to the House of Representatives alone. The hue and cry was so great that

the Committee

pressing for

on the Judiciary

held hearings

for 18 days

affirming 18 Mise . 2d 659, and appealed to the United States

during April, May and June of that year . The testimony

i s

Supreme Court . There, on June 25, 1962 , the court held the

contained in a 2,774 page , three volume , report

titled

on The

prayer to be unconstitutional:

. School Prayers, Hearings Before The Committee

"Neither the fact that the prayer may be denomina-

tionally neutral nor the fact that its observance on the

can serve to free it

from the limitations of the Establishment Clause, as it might from the Free Exercise Clause, of the First Amendment, both of which are operative against the States by virtue of the Fourteenth Amendment . Although these two clauses may in certain instances

part of the students is voluntary

overlap,

they forbid

two quite different

kinds

of

governmental encroachment upon any showing

of

direct governmental compulsion and is violated by the enactment of laws which establish an official religion

Page 6

August, 1982

Eighty-Eighth Con -

gress, Second Session, on Proposed Amendments to the Constitution Relating to Prayers and Bible Reading in the

Public Schools, April 22 , 23,23,29 , 30; May 1,6 , 7,8 , 13 , 14 , -

15 , 20 , 27 , 28;

Judiciary, House of Representatives,

June 3, 1964 , Serial

#9 (U . S _ Government

Printing Office , 1964). Out of this came a House Joint

Resolution 693, proposing an Amendment to the Constitu- tion which would permit prayer in school. Popularly called "The Becker Amendment" this piece of legislation was never brought out of the Judiciary Committee .

However, not caring to wait on the (dubious) success

of

federal legislation or a Constitutional

fight, advocates

of

religion in school quickly brought several cases. In Massa-

The American Atheist

chuse t ts ,

dered th e cont i nuat i on of b i ble reading and prayer i n public

s chools . T he At t or ney Gene ra l of Massachuse t ts moved

the School Commi tt ee

of North Brookfield or -

dis t ri ct and i n Attorne y General v.

S c h oo l C o mm it te e of N o r t h Brookfield , 199 N . E . 2d 553 ,

a

ga i n st

t h at scho ol

the Su p re m e Jud i cial C our t o f M a ssa c husetts

sin gle -j udge de c i si on enjoining t he comm i ttee . In Dela w are ,

w h e r e t h e Sta t e B oa rd o f Educat i on adamantl y c ontinued

b i b le read i ng a n d pr aye r r e cita t ion ,

C ou r t hel d that t he

verses was unco n stit u t i on al

lord ' s p ra ye r

S

es ta bli s hment

Fir

recit al, Johns v . All e n 231 F . Supp . 852 (1964). In this case

th e complaining parents w e re protestant,

king James

a three-judge D i strict

affi r m e d a

stat e s t a t ute req u ir i ng reading of bible

a nd the practice of reciting the

by a directive

of the

an

i n unison as r e quired

ecre tar y

of th e St a te Bo a rd of Education constituted

of r eligion b y s t a t e officers in violation of the

ev en t ho u gh

no statute

compelled

the bible was the

s t Am e ndment,

and the prayer was the lord's prayer from the

se r mon on the mount in the p r otestant king James version .

Lat e r

in the

year ,

a three - judge

federal court

was

e mp a n e led

a f fi li at e d w ith various church denominations

Idaho . Th e petition wa s to de c lare i nvalid an Idaho statute

i n Moscow,

to hear the complaint of parents who were

pr o vid i ng for compulsory daily reading of the bible in public

sch o ols . The dec i sio n was unanimous

u nc on st itutional

that the statute was '

as violati ve of the establishment clause of

the Firs t Amendment , Adams v . Engelking , 232 F . Supp .

666 , ( 1964 ) .

dur i ng the Lunch pe r iod , i t should be silent prayer

that " If any reading is to be done , let i t be a selectio n f r o m

one of ou r h i sto r ical documents. " He op i ned tha t t hese wr i t i ngs should indicate the i mpact of rel i g i on on t he

for use wh i ch i llus -

t r ated (1) the essent i all y r elig i ous character of t he country , (2) the belief in a supreme being , (3 ) the belief tha t the rights

of man a r e not the c r eati o n of gove r nment, and ( 4 ) Un i ted

States Supreme Courts'

based his decision on "t he god - given rights of each parent to

determine

after having blatantly outlined the exercises himself . Fur- ther , the court did not grant the injunction , saying " I am

setting forth this pol i cy during the pendency of this s uit, and

I expect it will be follo w ed . If it is not followed , I will then consider the granting of an injunction." Reed v . Van Hoven,

237 F . Supp . 48 (1965).

na t ion ' s

," and

leaders , and gave examples

opinions approving of rel i gion . He

for his child "

the course o f relig i ous education

The situation was different in New York . There in 1965 a

suit was filed by fifteen parents of varying religious fa i ths , parents of twenty-one children in the New York schools in

grades from kindergarten

Whitestone Public School had, after the decision in Engel v . Vitale, supra, ordered prayer to be stopped . The parents

demanded

exercises were unconstitutional

were allegedly " student-initiated . "

2d 999 (1965).

to the sixth. A principal at th e

held that the

its return .

The District Court

.

even though the prayers

Stein v. Oshinsky , 348 F .

By this time , it was 1966 and now Senator Everett

 

T hi s suit was followed in the next year by parents

in

D i rksen , R-Ill ., on March 22nd i ntroduced

a Joint Resolu-

Mi

c h i gan w ho r equ e sted the enjoining of religious exercises

tion No . 148 in the U . S. Senate for a " P r ayer Amendment. "

in

one schoo l dis t ric t. Th e re , the Board of Education

had

This was defeated , 49 for the proposal ,

37 against ,

14 not

promul gat e d a ru le p l acing upon each teacher the burden of

acco mm o da t in g

read i n g by dev i s in g "r e a sonabl e rules and r egulations control l ing s uch e x ercis e." The single D i strict Court judge

suggeste d a "su bst itut e

c ould

be c o nduct e d and complet e d o u t s i de the ho u r s of the

i ndi v idual requests for prayer and / or b i ble

po li c y " s o that su c h exercises

vo t ing . In th i s att empt Senator Dirksen was backed by the

r om a n catholic church, the American Legion, and the national association of evangelicals .

The ne x t challenge ,

in Illinois, was made by an Atheist,

L yle DeSpain , w ho instituted action to enjoin a praye r sa i d

in a publ i c school k i ndergarten .

The District Court

dis -

regu l ar sc ho ol da y. How ev er ,

th e s c h o ol b u s i ng policy w a s

m

i ssed it for failure to state a cause of action , but on appeal

such t h at chi l dr e n ar r i ve d a nd l e f t s ch oo l ju s t in time for the

th

e United State s Cou r t of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit

sc h ool pro g r a m t o be g i n. T o ac co m mo date

of the j ud ge , " th e b e ll a nd b e g i n n ing o f school timing" was

chang e d ,

bel

objecte d to these pract ices claiming that t hey rais ed

pro bl em s of excusal and seg r e ga tion .

the suggestion

h ome ro o m s w ere m a de a va i l a ble for pray e r a nd

l s we r e rung for pray er to beg i n a nd end . The Pl a intiffs

The judge , hearing a

held that the enforced jingle, " We thank you for the flowe r s so s w eet; we thank you for the food we eat; we thank you for

t

tute d a p r aye r a nd

scho o l s tudents c ame within the proscripti on of the First Ame nd m e n t . To have this prayer accepted the school had

that i t s c ompuls ory recitat i on by public

he birds that sing ; we t hank you for everything,"

consti-

reques t for tempora ry

inju n cti o n o f t h i s situation .

again

omitte d the wo r d " Amen ," a n d had substitut e d the word

c

h a nged his proferre d

rule s, in a striking example

of the

"

you " for th e word " god " throughout

the jingle . I t claimed

jud i c i ary comming l ing

st a te and church,

as he d ictated

that the sec u lar purpose of the prayer was in t each in g

p

r a y e r

policy to t he minu t e .

H e held : ( 1) that studen t s

k

i ndergarten children soc i al manne r s, good citizensh i p and

d

e s ir ing

to pray must meet in a room other

than their

gratitude . The Court f o und all of this merely adjunctive

a n d

reg u la r home room and suggested s wapping home rooms, if

neces s ary,

r eading ex ercise

sched u led class day or a t least five minutes after the comple ti on of the r e gular sch oo l c l a ss day ; (3) that no bell

s hould b e

o f a n y pos s ible element s o f coe rc ion .

who part i c i pated " mus t be s e parated f r om the of f icial

act i vi ty of t h e sc ho ol, as, of course ,

its e lf . " H i mself seeing the p r obl em, h e then furth e r directed

tha t aft e r the completion of t hese e x ercises,

comm i ngling of the en t ire student body on t he way to cla ss.

The judg e , curiously, suggest e d

(2) that th ey mus t complete t heir praye r / bible

at least fiv e minu t e s before the regular l y

rung ; and (4 ) that th e enti r e exercise must be free

He insisted that tho s e

mus t be the p r ogram

there must be a

that " If prayer is t o be sa i d

s upp l emental to the basic and primary purpose which was

the relig i ous act of p r a i s i ng and thanking t he deity . DeSpain

v . DeKalb County Communit y School District 428 , 348 F2d

836 (196 7 ) Cert denied , 390 US 906, 19 L . Ed . 2d 873 , 88 S .

C t . 815. With th re e federal court rulings against pr a yer , above ,

the matter remained until 1970 . At t ha t t ime se v eral more

su i ts wh i ch had been working their wa y up legal ladde rs

came to conclusions . I n New

Jersey a group of religious

pa r ents in N e tcong determined themselves to have "volun-

tar y free exercise

The

Boa r d of Education enac t ed a resolution

prayers, in Septemb er,

of reli gion" in the public school s .

to inst itute

1969. A copy of the re s olut i on and

Austin Texas

August , 1982

Page 7

plan for its imp l e m entation

Ge n eral

unconstitutional .

t h e school board to rescind th e resolution . Upon the

board ' s refusa l , the Attorney

instituted suit . T elegrams and let t ers were sent to the court

w

a s s e nt

to the Attorney

of New Jersey

w ho f o und it to be in h ere n t l y

o f Edu c ation ask e d

The Commissio n e r

General and the State Board

distribute

a

questi on ,

supported public sch oo l sys tem to a id religious practice s . "

Noting , " The re a ding o f ve rse s f r o m th e bible and re ci t a ti on

of t h e lord ' s pr ay e r

gideon

bib l e s

and e ng a ge

in ot h er

religiou s

c tiv ity. The Distri c t

a u til i zation

Court h e l d t h at " This i s , b e yond

of th e t ax-e stab l ished

and

a ll t ax -

is a ce r e m o n y

o f relig i ous ch a r ac t er

which t h e co u rt stated " clearly an d depressingly

set forth

of certain

which c annot b e gainsaid , " Th e c ourt po i nted out th a t th e

the temper of the comm u nity and the ea g erness

e

x er c ises

were done with the a ppro va l

of school offic i al s

' citizens' to create divis i on , diversion , and prejudice "

with

and obviously sup e r v ised

b y t eac h e rs

in the resp ective

c h arges against the Co m missioner

" A nti - god ," " A nti-c h rist , " or " Commun i st . "

forma l opening o f

sc h oo l ,

Co n gressio n al

which prayers were d escribed as " remarks. " A period of

me di tatio n was t h en p r ovi d ed f or

rea d ing. T he e x ercis e was h e l d t o be u n c onsti tuti o n a l .

S u pre me

Board of

Ed u catio n u . B o ard o f E d u c at io n of N etco n g, (1970), 27 0

A 2d 4 1 2 ; 47 N J 17 2; 262 A2d 2 1 ; 108 NJ. S u per

a bib l e

of Ed ucation as being

Th e pract i ce

wo uld read f rom the

was to me et in t h e sc h oo l gym prior to

where a student

v olunteer

Recor d t h e prayers of the c h aplains

t h ere ,

of Ne w Jerse y

be f ore conc l usion of t h e

h e

T

a ff ir m ed. St ate

561

.

a s im i l ar sch oo l co m mittee

h a d a d o p ted

i n L ey d en,

Mass. for perm it ti n g

C o u r t

However ,

si m ilar reso l ut i on

classrooms .

Th u s , " the pra c tice

was " patently w ove n

into the working s c heme

presented " substantial elemen ts of inherent pressure b y th e

h e r e , th a t

a

s t udents

t h at the s u per i nten d ent

t

fu

Goodwin

Su pp . 4 1 7 , ( 1 973).

394 F .

of th e s c hool . " The arrangemen t

o f re ligion. " Although ,

schoo l syste m i n t h e interest

ga i n, i t was pressed

that t h e prayer was voluntary,

c ould and did effe ctu a t e

i t a l on e, the court foun d

of sc h oo l s and the principa l perm it -

ed or condoned

lly aware

the practice and that t h e sc h oo l bo a rd w as

to be uncons t itu t i on a l .

o f it. It was f ound

u . C r o s s Co un ty

Sc h oo l D i strict N o.7,

T h e S tate o f New Hamps h ire

had a sked federal judg es i f a

prop o sed bi ll auth oriz i ng re c itat i on of prayers and rea ding

rea d in g or prayer i n t he Leyden pub l ic sch oo l s . T h ese were

from

the ho l y bible would b e vio l ative of the First Am e nd -

a

l so " vo lunt ary " e~ercises , wit h no prescribed form and

ment

if co n ducted by teac h ers i n public schools. In Opinion

vol un tary par t icipation

that the reso l ution

ance , on a w h o ll y voluntary basis , o f what ha d formerly

been required by statute whi c h had o nc e before been held

to be unconstitutional .

Comm . of N Brookfield , supra , th e c ourt now found the

practice unconstitutional

ment decisions , supra . Comr. of E du c ation u . School Comm . of Leyden (1971) 267 NE2d 226 ; 358 Mass. 7 76 ;

c e rt . denied 92 S . Ct . 85 ; 404 U . S . 849 ; 30 L . Ed.2d 88 .

Court o f

by teac h ers

only . T he court fo u nd

was a sincere effort to permit continu -

Citing A t torn ey

G e n . u . School

under applicabl e First Amend -

the United States

Another case h a d reached

Appeals , Th i rd Cir cu it , in the same year . There a jew

cha l lenged an adopted motion o f t h e Ga ll atin Area Schoo l

District to "install b ib l e read i ng and some nondenomina - tiona l mass prayer in th e s c h oo l district . " T h e D i strict Cour t

de cl ared t h e prac t ice un const it u t i ona l an d en j oined its

co n ti nu ance .

any state i n it i a t ed program constitutes a vio l atio n . Ma n go l d

u

(1971); 438 F . 2d 1194 . It had to be a consi d erab l e

T h e Third Circ ui t affir m ed , pointing o u t t h at

Ga l latin Area S c hoo l

District,

c . A . P a .,

. The A l bert

b l ow to t h e f o rce s f i ghting f o r

prayer i n sc h ool to h ave ev e n the F e d e ral court in Alabama rule that the A l abama Statutes requ i ring daily r e ading of t h e

bible in publi c s c hoo l s , as well as the pra c ti c e o f co n ducting bib l e reading in the publi c scho o ls v iolated the First

Am e ndment . Alabama

D . C . , Ala . ( 19 7 1) , 331

Faring bad l y in federa l courts , t h os e desiring prayers and bible reading in pub l ic schools turned t o th e United States Congress again in 1971 . This time , Chalm e r s P . Wyl ie, Representative from Ohio , proposed another prayer a - me ndment . A campaign was begun to obtain enou gh

signatures to get t h e bi l l out o f t h e Judi cia r y Commi t tee and

o n to t h e floor of the Ho u se,

N ove m ber

be m us tered . Meanw h ile , the Cross Co u ntry Schoo l Distr i ct in Arkan -

sas contin u ed to o p e n s c hoo l exerc i ses wit h readi n g of bi b l e

verses and reci tat i on

Ciuil Liberti es Union u. Walla c e ,

F . Supp . 996 .

but at the time of the vote required cou l d not

as we ll a s t o

8th vo t e the two-t h irds

of the lord's prayer,

P age 8

August , 19 82

of th e Justi c es , (196 7 ) 228 A . 2d 161 , 108 NH . 9 7 , t h ey had

s

Civil Liberties

c hildr e n i n Ro c h e ster

m

stat e ment would pra ye r is a pr a yer

ca m e to this c ountry in t h e ir s e ar c h f or f r ee dom . Y o u are

of ou r Pilg rim f a th e rs, recited wh en t h ey

th at this

that afte r the pra ye r wa s read the fo l lowing

a id " Yes . " But it was ne ce ss a r y

a nd a t e d

f o r t he New H a mp shi r e

par e nt s ,

wit h

Union on b e half of a do z en

publ ic sch oo ls, t o su e. This state l aw

be made : " Y o u a r e r e min d e d

in f orme d th a t these e xe r c ises

indiv idual ' s personal religio us be l ief s in an y man ner . "

Distri c t Court J u dge Hu g h H . Bown e s ,

d ecision on February

perma n e nt

pray e r - protestant

a r e n ot m ea nt to in flu ence an

U . S .

handing d ow n h i s

and is su ed a of th e l o rd ' s

6 , 1976 fe lt o th e rwise

injunction ag a inst the r ec itation

king Jame s version.

By this t i me, t h e re l ig i o u s i n th e nati on who d esir e d t h a t

praye r be i n pub lic s c hoo l s ,

meditat i on."

leve l , n o tab ly in Michigan , Fl o rid a, Ma r yl a nd.

po i nt that Massachusetts

per h aps ,

-

pr ay er to the public s c hools.

turn e d t o th e d e vice o f "s ilent

B ills b e g an to be introd u c e d a t state l e gisl a tiv e

beg a n

-

I t w as at this

under the influ e n ce,

of Rita Warren, an e vangelizing roman c atholi c

aimed at r es toring

a

series of l egis l ati v e m a n e uv e rs

B eginning

in 1966 , the l e gi s l a tiv e b ody had amend ed

M a s s . s t a tutor y edu cational

pr ov isions as foll o w s :

71 1 A . P e riod of s i lent medita t ion

A t th e c o mmencement

o f th e f i rst c lass each da y in a l l

grad es in a ll public sc h oo ls t he t eac h e r in c h a rge of the

roo m in which each su c h c l a ss is held s hall announ ce

t ha t

a p e riod of silence not to excee d o n e minu t e i n durat i on

s

p

e ngag e d in. (Add e d by S t .1966 , c . 1 3 0 , approvedApril4 ,

ha l l be observe d

e riod

sil en c e

for m e di t a t i o n ,

a nd during an y su c h

and

no acti v itie s

shall b e m a inta i n e d

1966 )

71 lB. Voluntary Prayer

The school committee of a n y city or town may permit

a

voluntary

parents before t h e commencement

s

ny child attending

prayer

its pub l ic schoo l s with the approval

to parti cip a te

child 's

of each dail y schoo l

in

of such

e ssion. N otwith standing

any provision

o f l aw to the

T h e Ame r ican Athe i st

contrary , no city or town which permits such prayer

shall be denied any funds for school purposes to which

it may be entitled from the commonwealth. ( A dded St . 1970, c . 264 , approved May 5 , 1970) .

Th e legislative enactment flew in t h e face of Artic le X L VI of th e Constitution of the Commonwea l th. However, it was

held to b e unco n stitutional

of th e U . S . Const i tution,

sioner of Ed . u . School Committee of Leyden .

In 197 3 , there was an o ther provided :

by

u nder the Estab l ishment C l ause as discussed , supra , i n Commi s-

try . Th i s time , t h e l egislation

7 1

1A . Period of silent meditation o r prayer.

of the first class of each d a y

in all grades in all public schools the teacher in charge

of the room in which each such ann o unce that a period of si l ence

minut e in d uration shall be observed for med i tation or

pray e r,

maintained and no act i vities e n gaged in . (Ame n ded by

St . 19 7 3 , c . 621, passed notwithstanding

on

nor ' s o bjections by the House of Rep resenta t ives Aug . 7 , 1973 and by the Senate on Aug . 8, 1973) .

At the comm e ncement

lass is held shall not to exceed one

c

and dur i ng any s u c h period si l ence shall be

th e Gover-

Tw e lv e students

from the p u blic schools of the town of

Frami n gh a m brought suit . In an extraordinary decision

wh ic h w a s completely out of line with all other federal courts

and fed e ral circuit c ourts of appeals

of two circuits ,

the

Mass . Di s trict Court d i smissed the com pla int . Gaines u .

And e rson ,

abov e indicated stat u te

the cour t c h ose to

ignore th a t there was an election for a religious a ctiv i ty. T h e

silen ce is required

ther e c an be no disturbance to the prayerful re l igious exe r cise. If all non-praying children were permitte d to

to sil ence f or

prayer , as wel l as silence fo r med i tation,

421 F . Supp. 337 ( 1 976) . Despite t h e fact that t h e

specifically s p eaks

- a nd this is patently obvio u s - so that

c o n t inue no rmal activiti e s this would disturb tho se desiring to pray . Further , since the teacher whose job it is to manage

the exer c ise i s in a position of authority

accep t a nc e and accommodation

have had the schoo l

s itu at i o n stru c tured

prayer . Th e stud e nt s desiring to pr a y

this gives an aura of

by the school to the idea of

f or t h em to do s o . To speak in t e rms of

a fi rst g r a d e r meditating i s speciou s .

Th at c ontempt f or the n o n - prayer w as an e videntiary part

o f t h e pla n , was subsequent ly shown by the continual

creepin g

l e g islativ e bo dy . For , on November chan g e w as made :

forward

to full p r a y er

of the Massachu s etts

7 , 1979, the follow i ng

71 1A . A t t he com me n cemen t o f the first c lass of

e ach day in all grad e s in all public schools t he teacher

i n ch a rge of the r o om in which e ach such c l ass is held

sh a ll announc e that a period of prayer may be offered by a student volunteer , and during any such period an excusal prov i sion will be allowed for those students wh o do not wish to participate.

This i s exactly

wh a t was forbidd e n

by Engel u . Vitale ,

s u pra ; Abing t on School District u . Schempp , supra ; and

Murr a y u. Curlett , supra. This is exa ctly w hat w as fo u nd as

be i ng v i ola tive o f th e Es t abl is h me n t

C

l ause

of the First

Am e ndment i n th e sub s e que nt cases of : Attorney General

u . S c ho o l C o mmi t tee Allen , supra; Adams

Hoven , sup r a ; Stein u . Oshinsky, supra ; DeSpain u . Dekalb

County Community School Distri c t , supra; State Board o f Edu c ation u . Board of Education of N e tcong, supra ; Comr .

. Eng e lk i ng ,

f Nort h Br o o kf ie ld,

o

u

supra ; Johns u.

u. Van

supra ; R e ed

of Education u. School Comm. of Leyden, supra ; Mangold

u . The Albert

bama Ciuil Liberties Union u . Wallace, supra ; Goodwin

Gallatin Area School D istrict, supra; Ala -

u .

Cross County Schoo l District No . 7, supra ; and Gaines u . Anderson, supra . Even i n the l atter case, the three- j udge District Court,

D i strict o f Massa c husetts,

t

n oted at p. 342, whe n speaking of

h e amen d e d

statute of 1973:

"Upon referra l of t h e bi ll to t h e Leg i sla t ive Committee on Ed u cation, the word ' prayer' was s t ricken from t h e title and bo d y of the bi ll an d t he word 'meditation' was

substituted "We t h ink that in striking the word 'prayer' out of the bill and substituting the word ' medi t ation' the Massa-

chusetts Le g islature demonstrate d

the dist i nction between t h ese tw o words and an

intention to further sec ul ar purposes without in-

of

the awarenes s

fri ng i ng the values prot e ct e d by the Establish-

ment Clause. (emph a sis a dd ed)

F

the 1973 a mendment ,

u rth er,

on p. 343, w h en d i scuss in g the "prayer" portion of

t h e court n otes:

"The sponsor of the

bill l ater amen d ed it on the floor

by striking out the word " and" and su bstituting the word "or . " This change was a sig nificant one , even if

not disp ositive , for it indicates a l e g islative sensitivity to the F irst Amendment's mand ate to take a ne u t r al

position that n either encoura g es prayer. " History bears out that th e t h ree-j udg e

nor discourages

district court was

cucko l de d. T h e intention o f the ad v oc a tes o f prayer w e re to first estab l ish the l egitimacy of " s i l ent" and then of "open" prayer. The stat u tory re qu ire m ent of open prayer is now

upon the school children of Massachusetts. A very similar case is before the Tent h District Co u rt of Appeals on appe a l from the United States District C ourt for the District of Arizona . In that case, an Atheist mother , Theresa M. Collins , s u ed the Chan d ler Unified School

D i strict Co l lins u . Chandler Unified School District 470 F .

Supp . 959 (1979). The Chandler High School Student Counci l had requested permiss i on to open the student body assemb l ies with a pra y er selecte d by a member o f the student body p i cked by t h e St ud ent Council . Permission was g r anted by the High School principal, with the knowl - edg e and cons e nt of t he Superintendent of the District and

th e members of the Board of Education of the District . The

ex e rcise w as indicated as " voluntary."

The court has held , along with Engel u . Vitale, supra , that "ev e n if the pray e r is denominationally neut r al and pupils wh o wish to do so might rema i n silent or b e e xcused from

the room while the prayer is being recited, "

inconsistent with the Establishment Clause. Plaint i ffs in this case wou l d make their posit i on c lear . The

chil dren here concerned are Atheists . The parent (a widow) is an Atheist . The organization which prote c ts their inter - ests is atheistic .

i s the service and worship of a

the exercise is

R e ligion , by definition,

deity . In the world there are many major religions, the o l d e st being the hindu , th e youngest being t he muslim . The major

se c t s of wo r ld religion are the hindu, the zoroastrian, j ewish ,

the taoi s t , the buddhist, t h e confu c ian , the muslim, and the

c h r ist ian. Atheists c onsider , as with all world religions, tha t "christ i anity" is a sect.

Prayer is "conv e rsation"

with the deity. It is the essence

of a ll rel i gious faiths. Si nce Atheists accept no d eity, there is no possibi li ty t h at t h ey can accept conversat i on with the same, or permit t h eir ch il dren to be e n compassed w i t h those who be l ieve that s u c h conversation is possib l e.

Atheists un d erstan d

that history

is rife with re l igious

contention

earl y an d formative stages was ug l y and brutal . Massachu-

setts killed witches. T he same religion , the same "ho l y book" , either ki n g James or Douay version, still gives as a

law of the d eity which christians

s u ffer a witch to l ive. " Exodus 22:18. In so far as education in the United States is comp u lsory,

and that the history of the United States in its

worship, " Thou shal t not

same e ase any particular sect of c hristians ,

in e xclu -

sion of all other sects ?" Shal l we have mormon prayers in Utah , lutheran prayers in Minnesota , roman c atholi c prayers in Massachusetts , baptist p rayers in Alabama, buddhist p r ayers in Hawaii in our public schools? Shall we r ea d from the Talmud in New York , from the Douay bible in Mass a chusetts, from th e king James in Alabama , from th e veda in California , from the koran in Te x as , from the writings of Gau t ama Buddha in Hawa i i ?

Th e United States

Supr e m e

Court in Committe e f o r

Public Educat i on and Religious Libert y v . Nyquist , 41 3 US .

to this extent the A t h eist d esires that t h is ed u cat i on

be free

756

, (19 7 3) set forth three tests for constitutionality

of an y

from re l igion . Per h aps one of t h e greatest me n of the nation

statutory

prov i sions

of stat e l e gislation.

It noted ,

" taken

worke d for t h e goa l of secu l ar ed u catio n i n Massachusetts ,

together

these decisions

di c tat e that to pass

t h us effect i vely l iberating a l l pub l ic, tax - supported

educa-

the Establi shment

muster und e r first , mu st

Clause the law i n question ,

tion from the o nu s of ' sectarian r el i g i on : Horace Mann.

Roman cat h ol i cs

h ands of protestant

w h o do not learn from h istory are required

From t h e intr u sion of d e n ominationa l outreach

sects of relig i on, much harm has a l ready

been done i n the public schoo l system .

Re l igion is, or ought to be, a private af f air f or the home ,

i n t h is same state suffered greatly at the

d omin a t ed p u b l ic educa t ion. T h ose

to li ve i t ove r .

w i th i n the

j u daic - christian

the hearth , and the church . It is not , i n the admonitions

teach ing s of jesus christ, a h ypocritical marketplace . Matt: 6 -1 3 , supra .

and

intrusion into the

Lately, two additions

to the ranks of those who would

return bible reading to the p u blic schools and prayer to the opening services have been much in the news: Anita Bryant

and, curiously, Sen. Jesse H elms. In his last campaign for the Senate H elms s p ent a record of $6 million for re - election . His backers who accumu l ated this money i ncl u- ded 44 1 evangelical ministers. He immediately introduced a

bil l into t h e U . S . Se n ate that would permit voluntary

sc h ools . This bil l , S. 438 , was passed 47 proviso was to limit the jurisdict i on o f

the courts of the United States (especially the distr ict

courts) in respect to legislative e nactments

T

demned by Sen . E dwar d Kennedy of Massac h usetts an d by

most major religio u s g r oups in the Un i ted States, the b i ll is stil l a reality. Robert Walke r, R-Pa . introduced a similar bill in the House , which also was passed 255 - 122 .

is in terms of

is

voluntary

clearly - a s in Massachusetts - to enforce prayer . It is

i ncr e a s ingly c l e ar that the fear s of the founding fathers are being real i z ed . Madison wrot e in 1784 in his Memorial and

Remonstrance against Religious Ass e ssm e n t s:

prayers in the pu b lic to 37, and the main

h e bi ll passed

such as th i s .

con-

on Febr u ary

21, 1979 . Immediately

A l t h ough the lan g uage of th e amendm e nt

prayer ,

the spirit and intent of the measure

We remonstrate

jealousy

"

. Because , experiment

and o f the

n ob l est characteristics

freemen of America did not wait ti l l us u rped power had strengthened itself by exer c ise, and entangled the question in precedents . They sawall the consequen - ces in the principle , and t h ey avoided the consequen -

Th e

3

to t a ke alarm at the first

against th e s a id Bill ,

it is proper

on our liberties.

We hold this prudent

to be the first duty o f citizens,

of th e late R evolution.

refl ect a c l ear l y secular l egis l ativ e purpose, e.g. Epp e rson v.

Arka n sas, 393 U S . 97 (1968); s e cond , m u st have a primary effect t h a t neither advanc e s n o r inhibits religion , e. g . ,

420 ( 1 961) ; S c h oo l

McGowan

v . Maryland , 366 US .

Distri ct of Abingto n Township v . S c hempp , supra ; M ur r ay

v

. Curlett , supra ; and third, must a void excessive

gove r n -

ment entang l ement

with religion ,

e . g .,

Walz v . T a x

Comm' n . , 397 US. 664 (1970 ) , Lem o n v . Kurtzm an , 4 0 3 US . 602 , (19 7 1 ) , and Tilton v . Ri c hardson , 403 US . 672 ,

(1 9 71) ." Plaintiffs wo ul d submit th a t th e legislat i on in q ues tion fails all thre e tests .

CONCLUSION

F or the above r ea sons

argu e d , Plaintif f s urg e t h i s C our t

to g r ant t he a t tach e d en t i tle d m o tio n .

UPDATE

At the same time that

the M a ssachusetts

Ch a p ter

of

Am e ric a n Atheists w ent i n t o a f e d e r a l district court to s t op

the ACLU w e n t

into a state co urt for the same . The f e d er al c our t rul e d t h at

it would wait on the outcome

handed down by the Massachus e tts Supreme Jud i c ial

Court on March 13 , 1980 . That b o dy d ec l ared th e s t ate's

an d

issu e d a n in j uction barrin g

from enforcing

charac t e r , " a n d a vi o lat i o n o f th e F irst Ame ndme nt proh i bi- tion again s t an estab lis hm e n t o f religion . The court s pe c if i-

c

vo l untar y

the pra ye r in t h at s tate ' s

public s c hools,

o f the state c ou r t and tha t wa s

school pray e r

l a w to be u nconstitutio na l

t h e State Bo a rd of Educa t i o n

in

could not save i t The c ourt no t ed

it, fin ding that the pra yer was " relig io us

pr o v isions

ally noted that the " vo lu nt a ry "

ro m being ruled to be u nc onsti t u tio n al.

f

. th a t pra y er is an in v ocation

t o th e d e ity :

"

It i s n o t less e vi den t w hen th e s upplican t

se c u l ar

h

said .

resu l t - such as the rele a s e of hostages

e is s t i l l addressing

se e ks a - f o r

himself to t h e de ity . " the o rd e r

" Here , then , we find a relig i ous prog ra m wh i ch was

and local

s

of f i cials under the aegis of state stat u t e; was condu c- ted f rom day to day b y tea c hers e mployed as public

employees in publ ic

pons or ed

a nd put in to e f fec t

s c hools;

by state

a n d was ca r ried out in

ces by deny i ng the principle . We revere t h is l esson too

public property,

during s c hool t i m e a nd as part of the

much soon to

forget it . Who does not

see that the

school exercises.

same authority which can estab l ish c h ristiani t y,

exc l usion of al l ot h er re l ig i ons , may establ i sh with t h e

in

"

According to the precedents ,

be s a ved from u nconstitutionality

the statute cannot by the fact that the

p

pupils cou l d choose

ra yers

"

we r e spok e n

cises .

.

b y v o lun t eer to b e e x c used

pupils , or that from the exer -

E v e r y c ourt , f or ove r t we n ty yea rs had been consistent .

Th e t h r us t o f th e Fir s t Ame nd me n t

t

Jeffe r son had d esign a t e d a s "a wal l o f s e pa r ation "

state and c hur c h . I f i t f e ll elsew h e r e,

to th e Constitu t ion

of

he U n ited

H a r d l y

St a tes

w a s inten ded

to erec t what Thomas

between

i t was to hold on pra y er .

c a s e been decided when

h a d th e M ass ac hus e tts

th e l eg i sl a t u r e of the St a t e o f L o u i siana introduced , passed ,

Put into effect The Fifth

Cir c u it Court of App ea ls b e st described that situation in the

a

ear l y i n 1981 it was immedi a tely

n d t h e n

sent a " pra ye r "

bill t o i ts gove r nor .

challenged .

cas e of Kar e nB . u. Da u id Tr e en, de c idedon August 5 , 1981 :

"Th e challenged provision, subsection B , is essen -

tiall y enabling legislation . It provides

bo a rd may authorize the a ppropriate school officials

any and, if no student

student

to a llow each classroom

that a school

teacher to ask whether

wishes to offer a prayer

sacred or divine s pirit, being , or object . (3)" ( the law) and th e parish implementing

l i n e s promote r e ligion by en c ouraging observance of a

religious

v oluntary participat i on tional infi rmi t y ."

guide-

ritual

in the classroom,

and affirmativ e

does not cure the constitu -

The prayers

were fo und to be in conflict with the F ir st

A

was quick to pick up the f i ght and in

Ma y , 1982 that legis l atur e

prayer in the public schools of that state . As this issue of the

American Atheist magazine goes to press , the challenge of that law is just beginning .

m endment to the Constituti on

How ev er , Tenn e ss e e

of the United Sta t es .

passed

enabling law to place

Then, on July 1 , 1982 the Governor

of Alabama signed

into law a bill which would permit " willing teachers to lead willing public students in any prayer or a suggested offering

written by the governor' s his son, a Mobile attorney,

had pressured the bill through both the House and the

son." The governor, his wife and - a lobbying group of three-

volunteers ,

to permit the teacher to pray. The statute

Senate of the State of Alabama .

lim i ts any prayer offered to no longer than five minutes

If the ACLU needs to test the prayer issue state by state ,

and provides

that no student

or teacher

may be

it can go broke in a year of litigation . Everywhere the

c

ompelled

to pray .

In the event

a student

in the

religious nuts are well- financed, tenacious , and the legisla-

cl

as s room

objects

or the student ' s

parent

in writing

to the proper

or legal

tures give deference

to their wishes since they

depend on

guardian

objects

school

them to trade even for enough votes to return them to

a utho r it y, subsection B pr o vid e s that the student may

n ot be required to participat e

the t ime prayer is being of f ered . "

or to be present during

A s usu a l the criteria of wha t c omports with the Establish -

ment Clause o f the Fir s t Amendmen t

a p p li e d . That tes t c ontinu e s

h as

or p r imary e f f ect o f th e statute is n e ither to advanc e n o r to

in h i b it religion,

excessive e ntanglement with re ligion . " The two s ta t e l e gislat o rs primarily r esponsible for e nact-

and th e s c hool

s

in the parish in-

vo l ved i n t h e c as e t e stifi e d a t th e tri a l . They stated that the

"sec ul ar purpo s e "

by

expo sing s c ho o l c hildr e n t o be li e f s d i f fer ent from thei r own

and t o d ev elop in stud e nt s

and o th e rs

d

l

" pr ayer of fe r ed b y a student or b y a te ac h e r could v ery well

co mpr e hend

and what did not was

the statute

to be (1) whether

a secul ar legisl a t ive purpos e, (2) whether the princip a l

an d (3 ) wh e th e r

th e statute

fost ers "a n

board member

r e s o lution

who

men t of the st atute

ponsored

t h e impl e m e nting

was t o in crea s e religious tolerance

a gr e at er e st e em for themselve s

th e ir a w a reness

of the

A lo we r court saw

spiritu a l that th e

religion since th e

and that it did not

by e nhan c ing

imen sions

e g is l ation

of human n a ture .

did not inhibit o r prom o t e

som e s e cu la r obj ec ti v e ,"

e

ntangle government ex cessively because of the affirmative

v

olun t ary participation whi c h had been structured .