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RESOLUTION OF CONGREGATION SHALOM SOCIAL ACTION COMMITTEE, MILWAUKEE,
WIS., IN SUPPORT OF THE SUPREME COURT DECISION 468, OCTOBER TERM, 1961
Steven I. Engel, et al., petitioners v. William J. Vitale, Sr., et al., on writ of
certiorari to the Court of Appeals of New York Whereas this decision is a reaffirmation of the fundamental traditions of religious liberty and freedom of conscience; and
Whereas the history of civilization and its institution recognizes that secular and religious forces are two distinct and separate entities, and the struggle of each to dominate human destinies has only worked to the detriment of mankind; and
Whereas American history, dating from 1620 to the present, reveals a progressive recognition, despite temporary setback, that religious freedom is most secure where church and state are separated, and least secure where they are united; and
Whereas proof of the above is gained by a reading and understanding of the intent of the 1st and 14th amendments to the Constitution of the United States, viz:
"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof"; and
"No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States" ; and
Whereas it is for all practical purposes and intents impossible to compose a prayer to be read in public schools that will satisfy all sects; and
Whereas religion belongs to the home, the church, and the synagogue; education is the domain of the State; and
Whereas the reading of any kind of prayer in school would violate the conscience of the atheist who, though he makes up only a fractional part of our population, is entitled to equal protection of his conscience under our laws. We must recognize that the conscience of each citizen is inviolate, as Jefferson wrote:
"It is error alone which needs support of the Government. Truth can stand by itself" ; and
Whereas our schools do not become "godless," "secular," or "irreligious" by the omission of prayer. Our schools furnish an environment for future America that is rich in the spirit of religion and religious heritage. Thus the home, school, church, and synagogue link their efforts together to create man in the image of God: Therefore be it
Resolved, That any amendment to the Constitution of the United States, or resolution to the Senate, which seeks to nullify the principles and intent of the 1st and 14th amendments guaranteeing religious freedom and inviolability of conscience, would be a historical step backward. Respectfully submitted.
SAUL KITTOWER, Chairman. OCTOBER 3, 1962.
ST. CECILIA'S HOLY NAME SOCIETY,
Rockaway, N.J., August 10, 1962. Mr. CLIFFORD P. CASE, U.S. Senate, Washington, D.C.
DEAR SIR: A resolution to amend the Constitution to permit religious practices in public schools:
"Whereas the foundation of these United States, the most blessed of all nations, is rooted in religious precepts; and
"Whereas the freedom of man is derived from Almighty God and preserved by compliance to religious principles; and
“Whereas the survival of this Republic, as a nation of free and responsible men, is wholly dependent upon adherence to, and the strengthening of, its religious heritage; and
“Whereas powerful and determined forces are prevalent in these United States whose sole objective is the abolition of all religious principles and practices from American life and who utilize the guise of 'separation of church and state' to attain this objective; and
“Whereas recent Supreme Court decisions tend to weaken and destroy those beautiful, inspiring, and necessary religious precepts and practices so indelibly interwoven in the fabric of this Republic; and
“Whereas such antireligious decisions can only result in a great weakening of the Republic and insure its betrayal into the hands of that atheistic conspiracy dedicated to its enslavement and destruction; and
“Whereas such antireligious interpretations of the Constitution by the Supreme Court are, undeniably, contrary to the spirit of the intent of the founders of this Republic and contrary to the will of the vast majority of its citizens : Now. therefore, be it
“Resolved by this society, the Holy Name Society of St. Cecilia's Roman Catholic Church of Rockaway, N.J., That the Congress of these United States take those steps necessary to amend the Constitution of these United States of America to permit and encourage prayers and other religious practices in the public schools of this Nation; and be it further
“Resolved, That copies of this resolution be sent to our Representatives and Senators who will report this resolution to the Congress of the United States of America."
Adopted on the 6th day of August 1962, St. Cecilia's Roman Catholic Church, Rockaway, N.J.
RAYMOND F. SMITH, Chairman.
A RESOLUTION Whereas the U.S. Supreme Court, on the same day that it ruled a simple prayer to the God of our fathers as being unconstitutional, ruled that the Post Office Department could not bar from the mails certain pornographic literature, and in substance ruled God out and let the dirty and filthy literature in; and
Whereas such action on the part of the Court will, in our opinion, have a bad influence on the morals of the people of the United States particularly the children and young people; and
Whereas it appears that the only way to counteract said opinions of the said Court is to amend the Constitution of the United States : Now, therefore, be it
Resolved by the members of the Berean Sunday School Class of the First Baptist Church, Newton, Miss., That said opinions of the Supreme Court are deplored and viewed with great alarm as a trend toward a godless and degenerate state of mind in the Nation, which trend should be reversed immediately if the Nation is to endure; be it further
Resolved, That the Congress of the United States be urged to submit to the States and the peoples thereof the necessary amendments to the Constitution to set aside and hold for naught the said rulings of the Supreme Court; be it further
Resolved, That copies of this resolution be sent to the Mississippi delegation in Congress, to the President, the Court, and to the press.
STATE OF MISSISSIPPI,
This is to certify that the above and foregoing resolution was unanimously adopted by the Berean Sunday School Class, First Baptist Church, Newton, Miss., on July 8, 1962; that this adult men's Bible class is composed of 35 members of said church. This July 9, 1962.
W. H. BASSETT, Secretary.
NEW ORLEANS JUNIOR CHAMBER OF COMMERCE,
New Orleans, La., August 23, 1962. CHAIRMAN, JUDICIARY COMMITTEE, The Senate, Washington, D.C.
DEAR SIR : Attached is a resolution recently passed by the New Orleans Junior Chamber of Commerce. As you can see, the New Orleans Jaycees are much opposed to the Supreme Court's prayer-ban ruling and strongly feel that corrective action should be taken. Sincerely,
F. J. GUTKNECHT III,
Whereas the U.S. Supreme Court recently declared nonconstitutional a New York State public school prayer which states : “Almighty God, we acknowledge our dependence upon Thee, and beg Thy blessings upon us, our parents, our teachers, and our country"; and
Whereas this decision can well be used by secularists as a precedent for striking down other public school religious practices such as Bible reading, the Lord's Prayer, Christmas carols, Easter plays and the like; and
Whereas the decision could be broadened to prohibit prayer before any public or government gathering, such as prayers offered by congressional chaplains or at services conducted by chaplains of the Armed Forces; and
Whereas it is the belief of the New Orleans Junior Chamber of Commerce that nothing was further from the intent of the framers of our Constitution and its amendments, which men well realized our dependence upon God; and
Whereas it is the Jaycee belief that public recognition of God, of His guidance, and of His mercy-and our public petitioning for continuance of these great benefits—is very much a part of our American heritage; therefore be it
Resolved, That noncompulsory prayer before any public gathering be protected by constitutional amendment or revision in order that this precious right cannot be erased : be it further
Resolved, That copies of this resolution be recorded in the minutes of our organization and forwarded to Louisiana Congressmen, to the Louisiana State Junior Chamber of Commerce, and to interested news media.
BETH JACOB CONGREGATION,
Baltimore, Md., September 14, 1962. Mr. JOSEPH A. DAVIS, Chief Clerk, Senate Judiciary Committee, Washington, D.C.
DEAR MR. DAVIS : I am taking the liberty of sending to you the enclosed resolution which was passed by our congregation, and with which I concur. Sincerely yours,
URI MILLER, Rabbi, Vice President, Synagogue Council of America, New York, N.Y. Whereas the Bill of Rights, including the first amendment to the Constitution, which states the policy of separation of church and state has never been tampered with since its adoption as part of our Constitution; and · Whereas the recent decision of the Supreme Court has been interpreted by authorities of all religious denominations within the United States as in no sense negating religion but accentuating this separation of church and state; and
Whereas there has been a great deal of sentiment in opposition to this decision: Therefore be it
Resolved by the board of directors of the Beth Jacob Congregation, representing over 1,400 families of the Jewish community of Baltimore, That we affirm the following sentiments :
(1) We consider the principle of separation of church and state very significant and important insofar as our country is concerned.
(2) We look upon the recent decision of the Supreme Court as in no way negating the importance of religion in the life of the American people but, on the contrary, placing it in its proper context, that is, the home and the religious institution, church or synagogue.
(3) We feel that this decision ought to emphasize the importance of strengthening the home and religious institutions, as stated by President Kennedy, so that our young people may be given the full benefits, the inspiration, the discipline and the meaning that are found in religion and its code of morality.
(4) We call upon the proper committees of our Congress to bring about a delay in the proceedings concerning this matter so that there will be time for a cooling-off period insofar as the emotional reaction to this project is concerned and we will be enabled to see from actual experience to what degree this permeates other aspects of American life.
(5) We instruct our secretary to convey these sentiments to our representatives in Congress and such other authorities as they may find necessary.
HAROLD SUGAR, Secretary.
CHAMBER OF COMMERCE OF THE NEW ORLEANS AREA,
New Orleans, La., October 5, 1962. Hon. JAMES 0. EASTLAND, Chairman, Senate Judiciary Committee, Senate Office Building, Washington, D.C.
DEAR SENATOR EASTLAND: The attached resolution, relative to the decision of the U.S. Supreme Court in the School Prayer case, has received unanimous approval of the board of directors of this organization.
It was only after extensive and increasing interest had been shown in the matter by the more than 800 members of our women's auxiliary and considerable research done by our national legislation committee, comprised mostly of attorneys, that this chamber felt called upon to enter this controversy.
We now believe that this ruling of the Supreme Court has great significance and ask your full support of any effort to reaffirm the original meaning and intent of the "establishment of religion" clause of our Constitution. Sincerely,
Jos. W. SIMON, Jr., President.
RESOLUTION RELATIVE TO THE DECISION OF THE U.S. SUPREME COURT IN THE
“SCHOOL PRAYER" CASE
Whereas considerable confusion and apprehension has resulted from the Supreme Court's decision regarding the use of State prayers in public schools; and
Whereas the Court's decision, itself, may have limited scope but the views expressed by various Justices of the Court, in accompanying opinions, raise
grave questions concerning many other manifestations in our public life of belief in a Supreme Being; and
Whereas there is confirmed knowledge that our Founding Fathers, in drafting the first amendment to the Constitution, were merely attempting to avoid preferential or discriminatory treatment by the state of any given denomination, or the official recognition of any given denomination as the established church of the country; and
Whereas there is widespread concern that this decision might be expanded by future interpretations or rulings designed to protect the rights of the few but having the practical effect of denying the majority of the American people the opportunity of sharing in the spiritual heritage of our Nation : Now, therefore, be it
K'esolved, That the Chamber of Commerce of the New Orleans Area does hereby respectfully urge the Congress to take prompt action, in whatever manner it deems necessary, to reaffirm the original meaning and intent of the “establishment of religion" clause of the first amendment to the Constitution, as proof to the world that ours is a deeply religious nation.
NASSAU COUNTY AMERICAN LEGION RESOLUTION, JULY 27, 1962 The Nassau County Committee of the Nassau County American Legion, Department of New York, hereby approves and adopts the following resolution :
Whereas the American Legion is dedicated to God and country and by its preamble is committed to defend and uphold the Constitution of the United States, to maintain law and order, and to promote peace and good will; and
Whereas the American Legion proudly numbers among its members veterans of every religious faith; and
Whereas Nassau County American Legion believes that the recent decision of the Supreme Court in the so-called Regents' Prayer case has been widely misunderstood and misinterpreted ; and
Whereas said decision has created a state of alarm, anxiety, and uncertainty among our citizens which militates against the unity and tranquillity of our Nation at a most perilous time in its history; and
Whereas it is incumbent upon all citizens and upon every branch of government, in a spirit of good will and with all possible speed, to resolve the issues created by said decision: Now, therefore, be it
Resolved, That the decision of the Supreme Court is the law of the land and must be complied with; that all citizens study not only this decision but the Constitution it interprets; and be it further
Resolved, That it is the position of the Nassau County American Legion that the law of the Regents' Prayer case is merely that a State violates the first amendment when it (1) writes a prayer; (2) sponsors, promulgates, and puts the stamp of authority upon that prayer throughout the public school system ; and (3) authorizes a teacher officially to lead the pupils in the recitation of that prayer; and be it further
Resolved, That it is the position of the Nassau County American Legion that the Supreme Court did no more than to declare that a State may not constitutionally establish the above procedure; and be it further
Resolved, That it is the position of the Nassau County American Legion, therefore, that neither the Constitution of the United States nor the decision of the Supreme Court in the Regents' Prayer case prohibits our public schoolchildren, on their own initiative and voluntarily, praying together a prayer acknowledging our faith in and dependence upon Almighty God of their own or their parent's choosing albeit while in school and under the mere technical control and supervision of a teacher; and be it further
Resolved, That it is the position of the Nassau County American Legion that the foregoing alternative method complies with the first part of the amendment which says “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion * * *” and, at the same time, gives full effect to and protects the rights of our children under the second part of the amendment which says "nor prohibiting the free exercise thereof" ; and be it further
Resolved, That this resolution be widely promulgated for the information and guidance of all citizens and divisions of our Federal and State Governments concerned herewith to the end that the right of our children freely to exercise religion while in school under the foregoing method might be implemented without delay in the public schools of the State of New York.
-, County Commander. -, County Adjutant.
STATEMENT OF REV. FERDINAND D. SAUNDERS, THE CHURCH OF THE REDEEMEK,
TO SENATE COMMITTEE ON THE JUDICLARY It is my conviction that the first amendment clearly forbids the establishment of one organized religion at the expense of all the others, and prohibits governmental interference with free and unrestricted exercise of individual worship. It says nothing else. And yet, through the technique of developing interpretation, this protective amendment is being distorted into an instrument for official denial of God's very existence and for suppression of individual right to publicly express dependence upon God Almighty. Indeed, the Supreme Court's decision goes further : It has the real effect of establishing nonbelief as the religion of the land.
The United States of America is a religious nation. The majority of our citizens claim belief in God and publicly identify themselves with an organized religious body. Only a small percentage of our people deny God's existence and separate themselves from organized religion. The decision of the Supreme Court is a travesty on the plain meaning of the first amendment; and has the practical effect of forcing a minority nonbelief upon the great majority of American citizens holding deep religious conviction. I count it a privilege to urge constitutional amendment to nullify the Supreme Court's decision and halt the attack by militant secularism on the religious traditions and institutions of our country.
STATEMENT FROM COMDR. FRANCIS X. McBARRON, DEPARTMENT OF NEW YORK,
CATHOLIC WAR VETERANS OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, INC., TO THE SENATE COMMITTE ON THE JUDICIARY
At the outset, I wish to thank the committee for the opportunity to present my views concerning the recent Supreme Court decision on the matter of prayer in public schools.
The majority decision outlawed a prayer originating with the administrative body but did not object to reading of poetry or songs which had not found their origin with that body.