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we sing. Long may our land be bright, with freedom's holy light, protect us by Thy might, Great God, our King." Our literature, our poetry are filled with such petitions. Shall poems now be excluded from the school textbooks which have in them prayers? So tightly interwoven into our national fabric is the spirit and the expression of prayer that to delete it from the schools of this Nation is to tear the robes of righteousness and to spoil the garments which make for truth and peace in the land.
3. Our coins bear testimony to it. The phrase, "In God We Trust," is more than just a declaration or a confession. It is an announcement to God himself that we trust in Him. This constitutes a form of prayer. Shall we remove such an acknowledgment and a reference. to God from the currency of our realm, as the principle enunciated in the Supreme Court decision is further extended in its application?
4. Our legislative assemblies practice it. If the Congress of the United States and the several State legislatures across the land open their sessions by prayer to the Deity, shall these assemblies deny the youth of the Nation, some of whom shall eventually occupy the very seats in these halls of decision, the right to open their sessions of study with a similar appeal to the same Deity?
5. Our national holidays involve the practice of prayer. The Proclamation of the Day of Thanksgiving, annually required by statute in this land, brings forth from our President an appeal that all of the citizens join in thanksgiving and prayer. Shall such petitions and such appeals be restricted and prohibited from the halls of learning in this land? The annual observance of Memorial Day with its devoted tribute to the men who fell and died for freedom has always been accompanied with a prayer of thanksgiving to God for them and the spirit and faith which enabled them to make the supreme sacrifice. Prayer is a part of our expression of patriotism and loyalty to our Nation.
6. Our Bible, upon which the President takes his oath of office, and upon which the judges of the courts take their oath of allegiance to the Constitution-yes, I say, our Bible commands that the people should pray. This book does belong to this Nation, for it is the Book of God and it, too, should be read as in the past in our schools.
I might just say right here that we would like to see those added words in reference to the Bible attached to this attachment, as has been previously suggested. It is the Word of God and has given to this Nation its standards of morality, the Ten Commandments. This is the book which calls upon men everywhere to pray. Men "ought always to pray," it says. And especially does it enjoin all in a nation to pray for those who are in authority over them (Romans 13: 1-7; I Peter 2: 13-17).
The Bible does command the people to pray and should not the youth of this Nation have the opportunity at the opening of the day, if they desire, on a voluntary basis, to pray for the Senators of this Republic, and for the President as he makes his decisions?
7. Our Presidents, indeed, have called upon us to pray and have set an example before the people.
President George Washington, on April 30, 1789, said:
It would be peculiarly improper to omit in this first official act by fervent supplications to that Almighty Being who rules over the universe, who presides
in the councils of nations, and whose providential aids can supply every human defect, that His benediction may consecrate to the liberties and happiness of the people of the United States a Government instituted by themselves for these essential purposes, and may enable every instrument employed in its adminis tration to execute with success the functions allotted to His charge. In render ing this homage to the Great Author of every public and private good, I assure myself that it expresses your sentiments not less than my own, nor those of my fellow citizens at large less than either. No people can be bound to acknowledge and adore the Invisible Hand which conducts the affairs of men more than those of the United States.
President Thomas Jefferson on March 4, 1805, said:
I shall need, too, the favor of that Being in whose hands we are, who led our fathers, as Israel of old, from their native land and planted them in a country flowing with all the necessaries and comforts of life; who has covered our infancy with His providence and our riper years with His wisdom and power, and to whose goodness I ask you to join in supplications with me that He will so enlighten the minds of your servants, guide their councils, and prosper their measures that whatsoever they do shall result in your good, and shall secure to you the peace, friendship, and approbation of all nations.
On March 4, 1933, President Franklin D. Roosevelt said:
In this dedication of a nation we humbly ask the blessing of God. May He protect each and every one of us. May He guide me in the days to come.
President Dwight D. Eisenhower, January 21, 1957, said:
Before all else, we seek, upon our common labor as a nation, the blessings of Almighty God. And the hopes in our hearts fashion the deepest prayers of our whole people.
President John F. Kennedy, January 20, 1961, said:
The world is very different now. . . . And yet the same revolutionary beliefs for which our forebears fought are still at issue around the globe-the belief that the rights of man come not from the generosity of the state, but from the hand of God.
President Lyndon B. Johnson on November 22, 1963, said:
I will do my best. That is all I can do. I ask for your help-and God's. And one of the best ways we can give President Johnson our help is to pray daily for him. His burdens are so great that only God can sustain him.
A grave injustice has been done to the people of this Nation by the Supreme Court's decision in this matter of prayer. It is imperative that the right to pray in school be returned to the people at the earliest possible moment under the protection of the Constitution of the United States which this amendment provides.
8. Times of national calamity and emergency require that this right be used. There are times when the people know nothing else to do but to pray and this indeed was the spirit of this Nation in that moment when the late President Kennedy was assassinated. The powers of government must not discourage or prohibit prayer. They must leave the people free.
When a devastating tornado struck Wichita Falls, Tex., some time back, a child looked up from under the desk where the teacher had directed the pupils to take cover, and asked, "Teacher, is it all right to pray?" The teacher should have been free to have permitted them to ask God's protection upon them all.
It is one thing, indeed, for the Government to be "neutral" as it relates to its relationship to the various religious organizations and
sects; it is another thing, indeed, for the Government, in the name of neutrality, to forbid all of the youth to talk to God as they gather to study their lessons. A people without prayer live in a nation where God is dead. A nation whose youth cannot pray in school is doomed to disaster. In the name of neutrality, we are committing ourselves to no God; in fact, to "establishing atheism" in the land. This indeed is the pathway to crime, which has been increasing in the land.
9. Our churches, let it be said, in the past have also always taught us to pray. From the day that the Pilgrims landed in this New World and knelt upon the shores of New England and thanked God, our people have maintained their religious institutions free and have also maintained their educational institutions free, and for that freedom now to exclude the right to pray in the schoolroom, is to contradict all that we have learned in times past from our fathers concerning faith in God. No nation should use its power to obstruct or to destroy faith in God, or the exercise of that faith, directly or indirectly. The simple prayer in the heart of a child to his Maker and his Redeemer should be permitted to be expressed as the child desires, even though he may be sitting at a desk paid for by all the people through their taxes.
I dare say here, and I think it should be said, that it is indeed an anomaly and a contradiction to find official spokesmen for some religious groups opposing before this body prayer in the public schools. I make an observation which needs to be called to the attention of this body, that among those who are opposing this matter are men who in recent years have become most active in support of various political issues before the Congress of the United States. To oppose prayer on the basis of separation of church and state, and then turn and become clerical in pressures upon the State, is indeed inconsistent. We witness a demand for less prayer on the part of the pupils and more politics on the part of the preachers.
Our Nation cannot survive without prayer and without the help of God. May we have a constitution which permits the people freely to talk to Him.
Thank you very much.
Now may I make it very clear to you gentlemen, if I may add this word, that in supporting this amendment, we do not think that the school board, as was suggested a little earlier, should make the decision or have a determining say in these matters.
Senator TYDINGS. Should they have the right to veto?
Dr. McINTIRE. No; no right to veto. The position which we take is that this is a voluntary matter, and if the practice of this prayer in the classroom is objectionable, they will refuse to take part in it and they will withdraw.
It was indicated that we had this practice for a great many years, and we have and there weren't any serious problems about it. Many of these questions are academic. It is just a matter of the spirit and the general atmosphere that exists in the community.
You go into a classroom and it is permitted. Previously the Bible would sit over there in the corner of the teacher's desk or something like that. She would read from it and then there would be a time of prayer. And on a voluntary basis, these children would be permitted to pray and offer their little prayers to God. And that is it.
Senator TYDINGS. Under the present holdings of the Supreme Court decision, you can have your silent voluntary period of prayer.
Dr. McINTIRE. Yes; but I am speaking about the time when they would pray. The teacher could lead it, the pupils could lead it, it would be purely an arrangement on the basis of the immediate situation. Under no circumstances should a public agency representing the people determine the prayer or veto the prayer, because then you get into the type of thing that we object to. This has to be a voluntary expression and it should be, and it was that before we got into this type of conflict as a result of the Supreme Court decision.
Senator TYDINGS. Would you give the individual teacher responsibility?
Dr. McINTIRE. Yes; she would have the right to lead the prayer, if she wanted to.
Senator TYDINGS. I mean for choosing the prayer.
Dr. McINTIRE. It wouldn't have to be chosen. It wouldn't have to be assigned.
Senator TYDINGS. How would she determine what prayer?
Dr. McINTIRE. How do people pray? They close their eyes and somebody talks to God for a minute.
Senator TYDINGS. Under the present holding of the Court, you can do that, provided it is silent meditation.
Dr. MCINTIRE. Yes; that is silent meditation, but that is not what we are talking about. We are talking about an audible prayer, a brief little exercise in the morning or some time when the students want to have it. Here was this time when you had a calamity. The President shot. School can stop and the teacher can say, "Let's have a prayer for the President," and they can pray right there.
Senator HRUSKA. Mr. Witness, we did have some witnesses, however, who testified that even a silent prayer would be objectionable. That is, a moment devoted to silent prayer by thought, just by thought rather than by communication by word, would be in violation of the first amendment, if it were announced to be a time for prayer. We have had witnesses testify to that effect. Would you subscribe to that idea?
Dr. McINTIRE. Why of course not. What we are asking here is for a moment in the opening exercises. We used to salute the flag or something like that, and a prayer is offered by someone in the room, and if they want to have it silent, if that is the desire of the room, they can have it silent. If they want to have it open, that is the way it should be. These things should be determined entirely on the basis of the immediate situation in your local schoolroom, your local area, and that is the freedom that we are asking for.
Now you can't veto anybody's prayer. People want to talk to God, or offer a prayer to God for their food, for the country, for our President, for our soldier boys, for Vietnam. There is nothing wrong in the morning for them praying for the boys in Vietnam if they want to, in a brief exercise like this. It is purely voluntary.
Senator HRUSKA. I have no further questions, Mr. Chairman. Senator TYDINGS. I understand you have a plane to catch. Dr. McINTIRE. That is all right. I have got some more time. Senator TYDINGS. I don't want to hold you up. One of my concerns about this proposed amendment is the situation where the
teacher, if you leave the responsibility for prefacing the prayer to the teacher, as I assume you would, picked a prayer which would be objectionable to a small part of her class.
Dr. MCINTIRE. If it were, then they would ask to be excused or they wouldn't want to voluntarily take part in it. In other words, this is a thing which will take care of itself as it is practiced.
You can't have the hand of the school board over this thing. That is contrary to this amendment, and you can't have the hand of a State over it. All that we are asking and all that this amendment asks for is that these facilities be permitted to be used for such a thing, and as far as I am concerned, that is no different than the Senate of the United States having a prayer over there. The Capitol Building over there has a prayer over there. The facilities are being used for that type of prayer, and that is what we are asking for.
It may be done in the schoolroom. As I said, a few Senators can listen to prayers in the morning, why can't the students have one? And it is in public property.
Senator TYDINGS. Let me ask you this. Do you feel that the public buildings should be used for the voluntary participation by students or others in prayer?
Dr. McINTIRE. Yes.
Senator TYDINGS. You do feel they should?
Dr. MCINTIRE. Yes. I see no objections to it. The main drive of this of course is the public institutions of learning. I think that is the main thrust of the amendment, but it is obviously a little wider. There is no reason why. Suppose we had a great emergency. People were in a courtroom. Remember when we were going to Yalta, we were going to Potsdam and everybody, the whole Nation, was praying? We all stopped wherever they were, and had a little prayer. I don't see anything wrong with it. They prayed in public buildings there. If they want to have prayer there, let them do it.
Senator TYDINGS. Who would determine who would get to use the public building?
Dr. McINTIRE. I don't think anybody should determine. It would be a privilege that they would have, if they needed to use it. course if somebody in charge, the custodian of the building
Senator TYDINGS. I mean as a group. A person can go in a public building now and pray if he wants to, but I am talking about the setting aside of rooms-for instance, this caucus room or some other room for prayer meetings.
Dr. McINTIRE. Well, whoever is in charge would have to arrange for the opportunity, but he would have nothing to do with what was said or nothing to do with prescribing what was prayed.
Senator TYDINGS. I have no further questions.
Senator HRUSKA. On the question of public buildings, as you know at one time I used to be a county commissioner and we were in charge of the county courthouse. There were times when we allowed the use of our GOR room, which we had provided in that area, for meetings.
It was suitable for that purpose and we did have meetings there sometimes, religious in nature, usually in connection either with Memorial Day or something else.