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light, moral training, and inward culture under one God, from the open Bible, and with instructions from laymen of prominence, and the school faculty. This outstanding example of a school where the youth is cultured with the great word of God throughout his formulative period of life is proof beyond contest in the need and worth of recognition of God in school life. Girard College sends forth men to the world who have been blessed with the same benevolence from God as was Stephen Girard, whose inspiration from God brought into being the greatest philanthropy known to mankind, and in perpetual existence since 1848, in Philadephia, Pa.
All public proceedings for naturalization in our courts, and elsewhere, include a prayer by a religious person, under one God.
Our prisons and places of detention are a marked example of the need and reliance upon divine guidance, with all creeds supplied daily by a religious personnel. The macabre example of a person walking to his death in the electric chair is softened, and forgiveness asked of God. In my experience as district attorney of Delaware County, Pa., from 1952 to 1960, I learned that all unfortunate persons utter their last words as a plea to God for forgiveness.
There are chaplains of all creeds in the Armed Forces, serving the need of the personnel, with full reliance upon one God over all. · Our legislative bodies, and during the swearing in of elected officials, is couched on the Holy Bible.
Witnesses in court or in any judicial proceeding are required to swear, or affirm, and failure to testify on the holy oath, bears dire consequences of perjury. Thus is found the strength of belief in one who will swear on the Bible, the support of one God.
On August 10, 1962, the Philadelphia Inquirer carried newsprint entitled "Majority of Teeners Dispute High Court School Prayer Ruling." The article is revealing in that it points out the need of youth to understand prayer and one God, and their cry forthwith to quickly put into action safeguards to permit a non-secetarian-type prayer in schools.
The failure of the Constitution of the United States of America to recognize in practice, if that is so determined finally by our Supreme Court, the need of non-sectarian-type prayer in all grades of schools, must, of necessity, give rise to an overflow of youth to sectarian-type schools, parochial schools, private institutions, where prayer is a basic part of the curriculum. Thus, by failure of public authority to recognize the true “conscience of the people,” we are nurturing a classification of youth into public schools without prayer, and huge segments of our youth in sectarian schools where the benefit of prayer and recognition of one God is accepted. It is this sort of schism, by legal maneuvering and interpretation, and by lack of recognition of the fundamental feeling of the framers of the Constitution, and the members of the Constitutional Convention, that will bring forth a nation of schizophrenic nationals. The majority must surely be given opportunity to voice a planned safeguard in this matter.
It was the viewpoint of the celebrated Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, U.S. Supreme Court, that there are constant changes occurring in life that require similar changes in the law, which must be the expression of life. Relying upon absolutes is incompatible with the growing and constant flow of "conscience of the people."
The immortal document, establishing freedom, and enunciating the rights of people, indivisible and indestructive, our Constitution of the United States of America bespeaks the one God. Under what reasonably human precept can anyone now deny the necessity, as well as the divine right, to accept God in every phase of life from the cradle to the grave. Denominational differences cannot efface the right of all our people to be strengthened in their soul by the recognition, outwardly and without equivocation, by the guidance and fatherhood of one God. Actually, any interpretation to the contrary, as I see and understand the matter in laymen form, would in itself violate "each student's right to freedom of speech and religion as guaranteed by the first amendment to the Constitution," as so eloquently set forth in a public statement by the New York State Americanism Committee of the American Legion and other patriotic organizations. The United States of America, as leader of the free world, should lead in the power of prayer, instead of banning it from our public schools, the fountainhead of moral culture upon which the future will rise or fall.
The irrefutable facts today disclose that the Red world fears the power of religion. The Communist cosmonauts jeered about not seeing God in space. They knew that if they looked into their own hearts they would find Him
there. It is the blindness, from within the hearts and souls of people, to see, know, and accept the dominion of one God, that gives rise to such ideology as espoused in arrogant form by the Red world.
The Red world recognizes God and religion, as enemies and, therefore, the free world should recognize them as allies against Communist tyranny. Prayer may move faster than ballistic missiles, strike harder against Red tyranny than H-bombs.
In an address by J. Edgar Hoover, Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, at the national convention of the American Legion in Las Vegas, Nev., on October 9, 1962, entitled “An American Challenge," there were included thoughts pertinent to this subject matter. Said Mr. Hoover: "What has happened to the time-honored precepts of hard work and fairplay which influenced the American scene during the all-important formative years of this great Re public? Where is the faith in God which fortified us through our past trials? Have our national pride, our moral conscience, our sensitivity to filth and degradation, grown so weak that they no longer react to assaults upon our proud heritage of freedom?''
"Crime and subversion are formidable problems in the United States today because, and only because, there is a dangerous flaw in our Nation's moral armor. Self-indulgence--the principle of pleasure before duty-is practiced across the length and breadth of the land. It is undermining those attributes of personal responsibility and self-discipline which are essential to our national survival. It is creating citizens who reach maturity with a warped sense of values and * * * an undeveloped conscience * * *."
As Benjamin Franklin said, “Nothing is of more importance for the public weal than to train youth in wisdom and virtue. Wise and good men are, in my opinion, the strength of a state; much more so than riches or arms."
“We must assemble our strength-the moral strength endowed upon us by our creator, the Author of Liberty. We must reaffirm our determination-the God-inspired determination to protect our freedoms and safeguard our democratic heritage at all costs.
"In the heat of an all-out struggle with an alien godless ideology, this Nation needs all the prayers it can get. Prayer and devotion to our Creator are basic to American strength and courage.
"There is a vast difference between Americanism and communism. One teaches morality; the other, expediency. One follows the law of God; the other, no law. One is founded upon spiritual values; the other is complete secularism. One is characterized by deep religious conviction; the other, by ruthless, atheistic materialism. The Communist world is a world of walls, searchlights, and guards a prison for the heart, mind, and soul."
And, to refer again to Mr. Hoover's thoughts in given strength to this discussion, it was stated: “Let us all work that there may be a rebirth of freedom under God in our Nation." · As Astronaut John H. Glenn, Jr., said, "Freedom, devotion to God and country are not things of the past. They will never become old fashioned.”
It is what a nation has in its heart, rather than what it has in its hand, that makes it strong. The nation which honors God is protected and strengthened by Him
We are a God-loving people. This is our greatest strength.
Let our national motto always be, "In God we trust." In August 1917, President Woodrow Wilson addressed a letter to the servicemen of the United States, urging them to read the Bible. (The message was published in the Congressional Record for August 18, 1917.) It said:
"The Bible is the word of life. I beg that you will read it and find this out for yourselves. Read, not little snatches here and there, but long passages that will really be the road to the heart of it. You will find it not only full of real men and women but also of things you have wondered about and been troubled about all your life, as men have been always; and the more you read, the more it will become plain to you what things are worth while and what are not, what things make men happy-loyalty, right dealings, speaking the truth, readiness to give everything for what they think their duty, and, most of all, the wish that they may have the real approval of the Christ, who gave everything for themand the things that are guaranteed to make men unhappy: selfishness, cowardice, greed, and everything that is low and mean. When you have read the Bible you will know that it is the word of God, because you will have found it the key to your own heart, your own happiness, and your own duty.'
It is notable that President Wilson, in his letter to servicemen as shown here, did not attempt to divide minds on religion, or qualify his truly miraculous belief in the Bible, but gave utterance to a divine inspiration from the word of God, one God, supplying thereby the food for a continuing nurture of the souls, and conscience, of the servicemen.
Thus, one may understand the conscience of the people must, by divine guidance, prevail. The original fear of some of the early colonists of this country of a state-mandated religious atmosphere, has long since passed, and if it is necessary to reestablish the serenity and strength of our people in the guidance, reliance and strength of the Holy Writ, and our one God, and we are faced with a mathematical conclusion of unconstitutionality, then quickly I say, with humble and contrite forethought for all, and in the name of God in heaven, make the Constitution of the United States of America conform to the will and conscience of “the land, and all the inhabitants thereof," in these eternal United States of America. If we are to lead the world, then, under God, one God, we should acknowledge the truth in our every moment of mortal existence.
MENOMONEE FALLs, Wis., November 3, 1962. Re prayer in public schools. JAMES 0. EASTLAND, Chairman, Committee on the Judiciary, U.S. Senate, Washington, D.C.:
In response to your letter extending an opportunity to submit a written statement for the record, I offer the following thoughts:
I'm opposed to prayer in the public schools for several reasons:
1. Prayers are usually to a god or gods. And there is no God or gods. These are just creations from man's mind and feelings. Therefore the offering of adoration, confession, supplication, thanksgiving, etc., to nothing (God) is rather silly and even insane, if taken too seriously.
(a) No sense making liars out of our children. Let's protect their innocence and basic desire to be good and honest.
2. From history we have learned that once the separation of church and state is broken down and the basis for most religions allowed to enter (namely God and prayer) our public schools, then organized religions will start fighting each other to be the dominate or main influence. The Jews, especially, know this and therefore are opposed to public school prayers.
3. Before anything like this is imposed upon the children, it should be thoroughly discussed throughout the land. The merits of prayer should be argued. The basis (God) should be discussed, pro and con, etc. In other words, fair and democratic discussion first.
4. The concept or hypothesis called God is not democratic and therefore should not even be considered in a democratic nation. The male Deity, Supreme Being, concept is a oneness or dictator concept.
One Supreme Being supposedly created the world all by himself (God the Father) and then played with and manipulated human beings and all life from then on. Really rather fantastic, isn't it?
If we are going to have any gods for whatever reason, we should have them be in line with our way of life. We should have a group of gods sitting equally around a celestial table of some kind, discussing, arguing, and finally coming to some mutual agreement about what to do about human beings, etc.
This would definitely be more democratic and therefore acceptable. The present God worshiped by most people is a jealous dictator (no gods before me). And if the people don't please this God—watch out. If they do, everything is all right. This is true or was true, also, of Hitler and Stalin, a couple of real life dictators, who got their ideas from the religious worship of a dictator called God.
Appropriately and logically organized religions are authoritarian and even totalitarian in nature and administrative structure, which again, is just the opposite of our free and democratic way of life. However, changes are taking place within organized religion in the United States. They are becoming more democratic, even Catholicism.
And the final step in the future will be to overthrow this dictator concept called God and substitute something else, maybe a group of gods elected or selected by the members of the various organized religions or ...
So let's not go backward and impose this restrictive, improvised dictator on our little children through the use of public prayers in the schools. Let's stand up and be grown men and women, without unnecessary fears, and refrain from insisting that our fears and distortions be imposed on our children. Sincerely,
KENNETH F. KLINKERT.
[179 Atlantic Reporter, 2d Series] WILLIAM J. MURRAY, III, INFANT, ETC., ET AL. V. JOHN N. CURLETT ET AL. AND BOARD OF SCHOOL COMMISSIONERS OF BALTIMORE CITY.
COURT OF APPEALS OF MARYLAND, APRIL 6, 1962 Mandamus action to compel a school board to rescind and cancel a rule pertaining to opening exercises in public schools wherein the Holy Bible was read and the Lord's Prayer recited. The Superior Court, Baltimore City, J. Gilbert Pendergast, J., entered judgment adverse to plaintiffs, and they appealed. The Court of Appeals, Horney, J., held that daily opening exercises of public schools wherein the Holy Bible is read and the Lord's Prayer is recited did not violate religious clauses of the First Amendment to the Federal Constitution, in view of fact use of school time and expenditure of public funds was negligible, and in view of fact provision was made for excusing a child from participating in the opening exercises upon written request of his parent or guardian.
Judgment affirmed. Brune, C. J., and Henderson and Prescott, JJ., dissented. 1. Mandamus Cm11
If performance of a duty prescribed by law depends on whether the statute or regulation is constitutional or invalid, the question may be determined on a petition for a writ of mandamus. 2. Constitutional Law Cm 84
Schools and School Districts w165
Daily opening exercises of public schools wherein the Holy Bible is read and the Lord's Prayer is recited did not violate religious clauses of the First Amendment to the Federal Constitution, in view of fact use of school time and expenditure of public funds was negligible, and in view of fact provision was made for excusing a child from participating in the opening exercises upon written request of his parent or guardian. U.S.C.A. Const. Amend. 1. 3. Constitutional Law C 211
Equality of treatment which the Fourteenth Amendment affords does not provide protection from embarrassment, divisiveness or phychological discontent arising out of nonconformance with the mores of the majority. 4. Constitutional Law Ow211
Schools and School Districts 1165 Daily opening exercises of public schools wherein the Holy Bible was read and the Lord's Prayer recited did not violate constitutional rights of a student and his mother, who claimed they were atheists, to equal protection of the law as guaranteed by the Fourteenth Amendment to the Federal Constitution, even if student's self-exile based upon exercise of right granted him to be excused from opening exercises had a deleterious effect on his relationship with other students in the school. U.S.C.A. Const. Amend. 14.
Leonard J. Kerpelman, Baltimore, for appellants.
Harrison L. Winter, City Sol., and Philip Z. Altfeld, Asst. City Sol., Baltimore (Ambrose T. Hartman, Deputy City Sol., Baltimore, on the brief), for appellees. Reargued by Francis B. Burch, City Sol., and Philip Z. Altfeld, Asst. City Sol.
Russell L. Snodgrass, Baltimore, pro se filed brief amicus curiae.
Argued Nov. 14, 1961, before BRUNE, C. J., and HENDERSON, PRESCOTT, HORNEY and MARBURY, JJ.
Reargued Jan. 9, 1962, before BRUNE, C. J., HENDERSON, HAMMOND, PRESCOTT, HORNEY, and MARBURY, JJ., and LESTER L. BARRETT, J., specially assigned.
This appeal presents the question of whether the daily opening exercises of the Baltimore City public schools—wherein the Holy Bible is read and the Lord's Prayer is recited—violate the constitutional rights of a student and his mother who claim they are atheists.
The judgment appealed from is one for costs entered by the lower court after it had sustained without leave to amend the demurrer of the appellees (the Board of School Commissioners of Baltimore City and the president of other individual members thereof constituting the “Board") to the petition of the appellants (William J. Murray, III, the "student,” and Madalyn E. Murray, the "mother" or "parent") for a writ of mandamus. The writ was sought to compel the Board to "rescind and cancel" a rule (and a recent amendment of it) adopted by the Board in 1905, pursuant to the power and authority conferred on it by the State, concerning the opening exercise program in the public schools. The rule and amendment attacked is designated as $ 6 of Article VI of the Rules of the Board, and reads as follows:
“Section 6-Opening Exercises. Each school, either collectively or in classes, shall be opened by the reading, without comment, of a chapter in the Holy Bible and/or the use of the Lord's Prayer. The Douay version may be used by those pupils who prefer it. Appropriate patriotic exercises should [also] be held as a part of the general opening exercise of the school or class. Any child shall be excused from participating in the opening exercises or from attending the opening exercises upon written request of his parent or guardian."
The italicized portion of the rule was added by an amendment on November 17, 1960, in order to comply with an opinion rendered by the Attorney General (C. Ferdinand Sybert, now a member of this Court) at the request of the State Superintendent of Schools following a protest by the appellants to the effect that to require the atheistic student to attend the daily exercises was to compel him to participate in a religious training program that was offensive to him.
The petition, in addition to stating that the fourteen year old boy is a student in a public school and that the parent is a resident and taxpayer, further states that the practice under the rule had been to read from the King James version of the Bible and that the student, until the adoption of the amendment, was "required and compelled” to attend the reading program and to recite the Lord's Prayer, but that when the amendment was made he was excused at the request of his mother from further attendance.
The petitioners, in contending that the mandatory rule contravenes their freedom of religion under the First and Fourteenth Amendments in that it violates the principle of separation between church and state,' claim that the enforcement of the rule "threatens their religious liberty' in one way or another; that the rule “subjects their freedom of conscience to the rule of the majority"; and that the rule, by equating moral and spiritual values with religious values has thereby rendered their beliefs and ideals "sinister, alien and suspect" which tends to promote “doubt and question of their morality, good citizenship and good faith."
It is further claimed that the amendment excusing the student from participating in or attending the opening program "in no wise negates or mitigates the violation and infringement of their constitutional rights"; that the exclusion of the student has caused him to lose caste, to be regarded with aversion, and to be subjected to reproach and insult; and that the practice “tends to destroy the equality of the pupils" and place him in a disadvantageous position with respect to other pupils.
In conclusion, the petitioners state that although they have requested a cessation of the practice, the use of the rule has not ceased, but has been continued, and that they are thereby harmed.
The Board demurred to the petition on the ground that it did not state a good cause of action for which relief could be granted by way of mandamus. The lower court sustained the demurrer and dismissed the petition without leave to amend. In its memorandum opinion, the court stated two reasons for the action taken. The ultimate decision was based on the theory that the Board, in requiring that the Holy Bible be read or the Lord's Prayer be recited each school day as a part of the opening exercises, with a proviso that objecting
1 The petitioners also contended that the rule was contrary to the provisions of the Code (1957), Art. 77. $ 203, proscribing the selection of textbooks of "a sectarian or partisan character," but, other than stating in their brief that they objected to the conduct of religious teachings, whether sectarian or non-sectarian, in public schools, they did not pursue this contention on appeal.