School prayer issue misunderstood

Posted: Wednesday, April 19, 2000

This letter is in response to a recent letter by Kent Fagerstrom supporting prayer in school. Regarding Mr. Fagerstrom's letter, I can only describe it as grossly misinformed, at best.

The chief misconception in this letter is that ``faith'' is not allowed within schools or other public institutions. To the contrary, the very excerpt from the Constitution quoted by Mr. Fagerstrom - ``Congress shall make no laws respecting the establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof'' - explicitly prohibits this. Nobody is asked to check their religion at the door, only their righteousness. School faculty cannot promote any belief system, nor can this message be broadcast over a publicly owned PA system, which is the reason prayer at sports events is disallowed.

Contrary to Mr. Fagerstrom's contentions, no young person is ``prohibited from taking a Bible to school, praying or even mentioning their faith in God.'' The reasons for prohibiting public officials from preaching are myriad, and allowing this practice would be no less offensive than stapling a copy of the U.S. Constitution over the face of Jesus in all Christian churches.

Wesley Brooks Juneau

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