« AnteriorContinuar »
I understand English properly, that you are demanding or requiring that a person recite that particular prayer. I do not think that the Constitution would allow that-excuse me, this constitutional amendment.
Senator GRASSLEY. I think it is obvious but before the chairman takes over, I would like to mention that the word “voluntary” is not in this version or, I mean, this resolution, but you are going by the last sentence to imply voluntary.
Is there anything in the proposed constitutional amendment that you suggest would prohibit a State from proposing language to be recited?
Mr. McATEER. Ask the question again.
Senator GRASSLEY. Is there anything in the resolution before us that prevents a State from writing language that would be recited as a prayer?
Mr. McATEER. No; I do not think that there is but I am stating my personal opinion, that I am opposed to a written prayer.
Senator GRASSLEY. From your judgment is it implied that the State could not do that or are you saying that that is an open question?
Mr. McATEER. I am saying that it is an open thing.
Senator DENTON (presiding). Gentlemen, perhaps you heard the discussion from the last panel regarding the concern that any prayer suitable for use in public schools could be a prayer of lowest common denominator, with little, if any, meaning which would violate the true devotional spirit of prayer.
Would you comment on that concern, Mr. McAteer?
Mr. MCATEER. I think that is what we were just commenting on, sir.
Senator DENTON. I am sorry. I did not mean to repeat a question.
I thought I had good information on where we were. Have you expressed yourself on this question too, Mr. Jarmin?
Mr. JARMIN. I am not sure we got into it that much. I think, obviously, you would like prayer to be as inspiring as possible without question. That is under any circumstance. However, as I said in my testimony earlier, I think the real importance of a prayer is to reinforce a value of reverence, acknowledgment of God that-just as we try to enforce other values in our public school system, such as discipline, respect for authority, all of the ingredients which are imperative for a child to be educated. I think it is important that people do uphold reverence or acknowledgment of God as a value. Obviously, while I may not particularly care for the watered-down, noninspiring prayer, far better that than nothing because at least through that you are allowing children to acknowledge God's presence and call upon his guidance, even if in the most simple terms, and that helps to reinforce that value of reverence, meaningless or not, watered down or not. I think it is important for that reason alone.
Senator DENTON. Before you are dismissed, do either of you gentlemen have anything you would like to add? Thank you very much for your testimony this morning.
[The prepared statements of Messrs. McAteer and Jarmin follow:
PREPARED STATEMENT OF ED E. McATEER
Hear the words of a HEART BROKEN president over a century ago, as he spoke concerning the Civil Wai fonuly do we hope fervently do we pray that this mighty scourge of war speedly pass away, yei if God wills that it continue until all the wealth piled by the bondman's two hundred and fifty years of unrequited toil shall be sink and until every drop of blood drawn by i ne iush shall be paid by another drawn with sword, as was said three thousand years ago, so still it must be said, that the judgements of the Lord are true and righteous altogether. Prophe ic, searching words uttered by the president of the United States during a CRISIS PERIOD in American history.
More than a century passes and leaves its foot prints in the shifing sands of time and yet another crisis grips the "land of the free and the home of the brave."
Again, sober searching words are uttered by yet another American president... in the spring of 1982, two decades have passed since Johovah God was EXPELLED from the classrooms of the American public schools.
Stancing with over a hundred religious leaders in the Rose Garden of the White House, this president said, "no one will ever convince me that there is anything wrong with little school children praying in their classroons", and followed this statement with a cail for a constitutional amendment, to hait the ravages of a "gu vithout God philosophy", by returning the right of VOLUNTARY PRAYER to 17.erica's school children.
bet another American oresident, Themas Jefferson, dipped his pen and wrote: "frudence, indeed, will dictate that government long established should rot be changed for light and transient couses, and accordingly, all experience has Som that mankind is more disposed to suffer while evils are sufferable than to riunt themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed."
fictwithstanding, if it be true that. NO RULERS CAN BE SAFE where the doctrine of resistance is taught; it must be true that NO NATION can be safe where the cortrary is taught.
jefterson wrote, "that when any form of government becomes destructive of its ents, it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it and to institute Mes goverment, laying its foundalion of such principles and oryanizing its powers in such furnis, as to ihem shall seem most likely to effect their safety and howpiness.
Prirnds i soberly merind you, if we stand TAMELY by while the enemies of God dre so busy fostering this ill-advised eril, we will fall DESPISED and UNPITIED and oui ruin will be of ourselves.
As matters of a political nature are to be found in the word of God, to discourse upon them is sometimes our duty and it is especially so at this day, in which we are called to contend for both our civil and religious rights it is now our duty to FAITHFULLY WARN our people of their DANGER and seriously caution then to beware of anything that may be prejudical to both our conventions and country's tuse.
inomas Jefforson wrote, "but when a long train of abuses and usurpations pursuing invaridly the same object evinces a design to reduce them under despotism it is their right, it is their duty to throw off such government and to provide new grounds for their future security".
Such has been the patience sufferance of those who adhere to BIBLICAL PRINCIPLES in this convention and such is now the necessity which constrains us to alter the devasting decisions of the courts, even though CERTAIN CONVENTION LEADERS endorse the courts actions on ABORTION, SCHOOL PRAYER, and other anti-biblical positions.
We have seen for a course of years, and especially accelearating during the Warren court years, a series of plans and schemes by misguided judges, sometimes under ministerial influence, all evidently calculated to subjugate this country. This American quarter of the globe seens to have been reserved in providence as a fixed and settled habitation for the Judeo-Christian faith. Where the church might own property and the right of rule and government so as not to be con
trolled and oppressed in her CIVIL and RELIGIOUS LIBERTIES, by the tyrannical and persecuting powers of the land represented by the courts. As evidence of this observation, well over half of all funds and personnel for the worldwide spread of the gospel comes from the UNITED STATES, which represented only 6% of the world's population and 7% of the world's land area. When Jehovah God, to whom the earth belongs and the fullness thereof brought Bible loving people to this vast wilderness, as on eagles wings by His kind protecting providence, He gave this good land to them to be THEIR OWN LOT and inheritance forever.
Therefore, when considering the TREMENDOUS priviledge and the AWESOME responsibility which we
hold, for not only the well being of our own BLESSED AMERICA, but to all of western civilization, we MUST NOT, WE CAN NOT, have the blood of these millions on our hand because of our failure to sound the alarm Ezekiel 33:6. Edmond Burke well said, "The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing". Ian fully convinced of the absolute importance of uniting in the most cordial friendship as
fellow countrymen in this glorious struggle ans fully sensible that to give the "Ark" a wrong "touch" in this crucial moment, might be of unspeakable dangerous consequence.
However, in the language of Holy Writ, there is a time for all things, a time to PREACH and a time to PRAY, a time to LAUGH, and a time to MOURN, there is a line to stand and to fight, and that time has now come.
when in 1962, the courts of our land declared God UNWELCOME IN OUR CLASSROOMS, the stage was set for the usherir's in oi that dark and infamous day commonly called Roe vs. Wade tuit nore correctly termed the day of the SLAUGHTER OF THE INNOCENTS.
There is UNMISTAKENLY a direct connection between the two.
This was the place where the fatal legalized ABORTION scene really began, when bricans could legally begin to KILL Americans, and more like murderers and cui throats than judge'' in a nation on whose coins appear, "In Cord We Trust". rithout provocation, without warniny, when no war was proclaimed, they draw the sword of violence upon muitiplied scores of little INNOCENT HELPLESS BABIES with a curelty and bardarity which would have made the most hardened savage blush, they shed innocent blood but. O MY GOD, how shall I Cpeak or describe the distress, the horror of thal awful day, that gloomy day in 1973, allowing ini mind to prote forward through the corridors of time and view the scene -
ittle tied scene .- for in reality, a battle field is what the abortion issue ac ually is. We see them not only as innocent babes, but we see them as OC had in mind for thein to BE SEEN, men and women in full ADULTHOOD, loving and servi! H!". (n vorde? field we witness the innocent blood of our brethern ari sisters SLAIN and moon thence does their blood cry unto 600 for vengence. There he beloved sin ani danter, there the hoary head and there the blooming yu.th. Here the sun and won in their tull strength and bloom, with those of
*Hedy Rain, they Ol!, hit the the word of an oron nevyith who" war is preLidijito tie field it tatile, tit no the li o Tio T THAT OLIGHT in
Turkilv?i, tnii tney" Jy shed 1!1'cont biood
ley ble 1, they cie not in their own causa, bit in the Cause of this whole
De Cdise of . their countri und posterit, They shall not bierd
sarely there i one that we nyeth and that will plaid the use of lity' ord Briond in 115 own way, and in his own tilde, will avence
jY10: Forein inre obtruded upon us from whenc interference of interest 110 Silj fillar, wulid Waloy disc
will jully consider i ho tragli scenes in wake of the dark Supreme
dn't nuttit it that cur precious privile, have ben 111 didindami reaver has been able to arrest the hand of viclence in traslado de d liny 0 ha, Invenus timp *0 reprint
mo gre (allt! O! Derir, vne of heaven's choicest tlessing to prind amid var 0.5 1.
'its, liberty tri tons conciations, ristibles the 't
mifications, in otras the H***** EREAST Hos oth client she reart. expans the mil and is the source of almost
everything EXCELLENT and DESIRABLE on earth. Liberty animates industry and economy, promotes comnerce, procures wealth - cherishes the liberal arts and sciences and wears a milost friendly aspect upon all the most important interest of mankind. Liberty cannot be separated from God even as we cannot separate God from our youth and expect to have liberty. The issue of PRAYER is the issue of liberty. LIBERTY for our physical, as well as our spiritual selves.
Well do the despots at home and abroad know that if charming freedom continues to spread her olive branches in America, that America will continue to be invincible. We must never forget that the political institutions of a people, especially the courts of a land must be consonant with the intellectual and spiritual elevation. Faced with DIRE and IMMEDIATE DANGERS, the praise of the Founders not only restrained them in thought and actions, it ever reflected the calm philosophy of their deeply religious outlook toward LIFE.
In what these men wrought we find strength, for what they wrought we have inherited, what they felt and thought, we may BELIEVE AND FEEL.
The key is sovereignty and sovereignty is a dual one, that of the SOUL and SPIRIT enunciated by the preaching of the gospel and that of the citizen ushered toward its political fulfillment in words which reverberates to us across the strands of 207 years of our glorious history.
"With firm reliance on the protection of divine providence, we mutually pledge to each other our lives, our fortunes, and our sacred honor."
Twenty precious, important years have been taken from the CHILDREN of our
The voluntary school prayer amendinent will be consistent with the original purpose of the First Amendment, which was to enhance the opportunities of citizens to worship as they see fit. For 170 years after the adoption of the First Amend ment, prayer was permitted in the public schools. In 1962, the Supreme Court held that prayer in the public schools violated the first Amendment provision forbidding an "establishment of religion."
Justice Potter Stewart, in a strong dissent from the Court's opinion, pointed out that the purpose of the Establishment Clause was to prevent the Federal Government from establishing an official religion. Justice Stewart pointed out that permitting school children to participate voluntarily in prayer is a far cry from designating a particular religion to which citizens must subscribe. He pointed out that the two Houses of Congress open their daily sessions with prayers, that our coins, our Pledge of Allegiance, and our National Anthem all reflect the truth that "we are a religious people whose institutions presuppose a Supreme Being." Engle v. Vitale, 370 U.S. 421 (1962) (Stewart, J., Dissenting).
The amendment will guarantee that no person shall be required by the United States or by any state to participate in prayer. Lower federal court decisions have suggested, for instance, triat prayers by unofficial groups of students who congregate after class hours of their own volition are not really voluntary because other students might feel subtle pressure to join in the prayer. The amendment will reject such an approach.
The American political tradition is one of respect for diversity and for freedom of religious expression. It would be wrong to assume that states and localities would seek to stifle diversity or to offend members of their communities who hold minority religious views. In fact, prior to 1962, local school authorities demonstrated a respect both for religion and diverse views about religion.
The amendment will absolutely forbid public schools or other government agencies from requiring anyone to participate in any prayer or religious exercise. Anyone who is offended by the content of any prayer whether he is a member of a minority religious group, an atheist, or anyone else simply refuse to participate; this constitutional right of refusal will be an absolute safeguard against the imposition of sectarian forms of worship.
The Lord's Prayer and the Ten Commandments are reflections of our JudaeoChristian heritage that could not fairly be described as instruments for the imposition of narrow sectarian dogmas on school children. Indeed, any reference to a "personal" God who is nore than a mere "life-force" might be "denominational" insofar as it reflected the general beliefs of Judaism and Christianity to the exclusion of those who reject the idea of a personal God. The aniendment will affect other public institutions besides public schools. But this provision would effect little or no change in present judicial interpretations of the First Amendinent. As Justice Stewart pointed out in his dissent in Engle v. Vitale, prayer is an important part of our national heritage and of our daily community life. Prayer in public places other than schools in public parks, in prisons, in hospitals, in legislatures, in Presidential Inaugural Addresses has never been held to violate the Constitution. The United States Supreme Court begins all its sessions with reference to Almighty God. The amendment would reaffirin this interpretation, subject to the right or every individual to refuse to participate in prayer or religious exercise.
The amendment would reaffirm the constitutionality of prayers in Congress and of armed service chaplains.
judges and constitutional scholar's hold a wide range of opinions on the extent to which government nay directly or indirectly aid religious institutions. The amendment will deal only with public institutions and would not affect the constitutional status of private institutions. School boards will not be required to permit students to pray. The amendment will simply remove any constitutional obstacle to voluntary prayer. If school boards decided that such prayers were a bad idea, they would be exactly as free to exclude prayer froin the schools as they are now. But states and local schools boards would also be free to permit voluntary prayer, à power that is now denied them.
Local prayer leaders will be free to compose their own prayers since the voluntary school prayer amendment will eliminate any federal constitutional obstacle. They could choose prayers that have already been written, or they could compose their own prayers. If groups of people are to be permitted to pray, someone must have the power to determine the content of such prayers.
The aimendment will accept the premise that comununities are a more appropriate foruin than federal courts for decisions about the content of school prayers. Of course, no student or any other individual will be required to participate in any prayer to which he objected for any reason. A constitutional amendment rather than statutory change is necessary to restore the right of prayer to the public schools. Legislative enactments will not be sufficient to overcome Supreme Court interpretations of constitutional provisions. Proposals to limit Supreme Court jurisdiction, even if constitutional, would not reverse existing Supreme Court decisions and would be inappropriate as a matter or policy.
There is overwhelming public cupport for restoring voluntary prayer to our public schools. It is an interesting, sober, and deeply disturbing fact that those who oppose the return of voluntary prayer to our public schools are generally those who favor abertion, homosexual rights, and the busing of Our school children. I submit that the President wishes to liberate the American people from a Suprerie Court decision which is 20 years old even as Abraham Lincoln liberated the country from a Supreme Court decision 20 years old that legitimized slavery.