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Now isn't that just about the way it would happen now? Every public building we have is under the jurisdiction of somebody, either a commissioner or a mayor or a fire chief or a police chief, if they have an auditorium in the police station. What this amendment would mean is that the body in charge of that building would provide for a space of that kind for voluntary prayer, the substance of which would not be determined by him or any other authority and nothing in the Constitution would prevent it.
Dr. McINTIRE. That is right, Senator. That is exactly right, and that is what we are asking for.
Take another situation. Here you live in a town, and a church burns down, and over at the fire hall they have got a room and they want to meet there for a few Sundays until they get their church fixed up or something else, and the community gives them permission and everybody in town says that is all right, nobody objects to it.
Senator HRUSKA. In Arizona there is a law which says public buildings cannot be used for that purpose. It is a constitutional provision, as a matter of fact.
Dr. McINTIRE. Yes.
Senator HRUSKA. That solves that. They have spoken. But this amendment as you read it, does it require that the authorities in charge of a building must provide space?
Dr. McINTIRE. None whatever. What has happened, sir, is that this amendment or rather the action of the Supreme Court has brought out into an arena and debate and discussion many of the background issues in the churches themselves.
You hear the ecumenical movement, you hear those of us that are opposing the ecumenical movement, and you have these different religious groups lining up on these different things, and a lot of that has been projected into this issue, which ought not to be here, and which would not normally be here, and once we get it back, all we are asking is that we go back before the time of the decision.
We were getting along all right pretty well, in the great mass of our communities, before the time of that decision. And this simply returns the Constitution, in my opinion, to what it was before the Supreme Court decisions took away this aspect of a liberty that we previously enjoyed.
Senator HRUSKA. Thank you very much. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Senator TYDINGS. Dr. McIntire, do you think it would be proper under this proposed amendment for a local PTA to prescribe what prayer the children in a given school should recite, and give that then to the teacher and say "This is going to be the prayer?"
Dr. McINTIRE. Well, I think that it probably could be done, but I don't think that it would necessarily be proper as such. The idea is that you are going to have prayer, the teacher could lead it or the pupils could lead it.
If the PTA has a prayer they would like to have them use over there they could suggest it, and somebody wanted to pray it, they could, but it wouldn't become an established prayer as such. Our whole thought here is that you go into a voluntary prayer. Nobody is going to dictate what anybody else prays.
Senator TYDINGS. Well, somebody has got to come up with a prayer.
Dr. McINTIRE. Not necessarily.
Senator TYDINGS. If these are first-grade children or second-grade children, it is either going to be the teacher or someone else.
Dr. McINTIRE. You get down to the very first and second grades, they don't pray very much except "The Lord take care of us, bless the birds and the flowers." a very, very simple type of prayer that you get out of a child at that point.
Senator TYDINGS. There has been testimony here that local civic groups should be the ones which would come up with the prayer, like the PTA or a group like the Jewish War Veterans, if you are in a Jewish community, or some other similar group; that they should be the ones to make the decision on what the prayer would be, and they would give it to the teacher for voluntary prayer.
Dr. McINTIRE. In some areas that may work out. In other areas it may not. You have got a whole area here that is very flexible, in the unfolding of this thing.
Senator TYDINGS. Thank you very much.
Dr. McINTIRE. Thank you very much.
Senator TYDINGS. Rev. Robert G. Howes.
STATEMENT OF FATHER ROBERT G. HOWES, ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR, CATHOLIC UNIVERSITY, WASHINGTON, D.C., REPRESENTING THE MASSACHUSETTS CITIZENS FOR PUBLIC PRAYER; KATHRYNE CONTINO; CHESTER DOYLE; AND PAT THOMAS
Father HowES. I am Rev. Robert G. Howes, associate professor at the Catholic University of America. I am a member of the board of governors, Constitutional Prayer Foundation, with its headquarters in the Chair's home State, Maryland, and I am also Washington, D.C., representative for nondenominational, nonpartisan citizens for public prayer.
I am very happy to have with me today, Mr. Chairman, the chairman of the New York area Citizens for Public Prayer, Mrs. Kathryne Contino on my right; the chairman of our affiliated group in Michigan, Resource for Voluntary Prayer, Miss Pat Thomas of Three Rivers, Mich.; and on my left the chairman of the Citizens Area for Public Prayer, Mr. Chester Doyle of Pennsylvania.
We would like with your permission for the record to show 30,000 names gathered in the New York area of the citizens of the State off New York under this heading:
We, the undersigned, respectfully request Senator Jacob Javits and Senator Robert Kennedy to vote affirmative in our behalf on the proposed Constitutional amendment introduced by Senator Everett M. Dirksen which will permit voluntary prayer in public schools.
I don't know, Mr. Chairman, if the record of these hearings will permit the insertion of 30,000 names, but I hope at least we may include in the record the fact that these names are here.
Senator TYDINGS. We will keep them in the files, Father Howes. (The 30,000 names referred to above were exhibited to the subcommittee but were retained by Father Howes with the consent of the subcomittee.)
Father HowES. Thank you.
I would also like the record to show, though they are not present, some 35,000 names gathered in Pennsylvania by the Pennsylvania chapter of Citizens for Public Prayer, and over 50,000 names from across the United States gathered by the Michigan Chapter, Citizens for Public Prayer, a total, Mr. Chairman, of more than 100,000 Americans who have recorded themselves with us in favor of the Dirksen amendment.
I am here also, Mr. Chairman, to speak officially in behalf of the Roman Catholic Bishop of Worcester, Mass., whom I now place officially on record in favor of the Dirksen prayer amendment. An official statement of the Roman Catholic Bishop of Worcester, Mass., has been forwarded to Chairman Bayh, and I presume that this will be included in the record, and I believe this will be the first official Roman Catholic spokesmanship here at these hearings.
I am also happy to place later in the record the Diocesan Council of Catholic Women of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Worcester, Mass., and I am also happy to note, being a Roman Catholic priest, that the National Council of Catholic Youth is officially on record for the amendment, for an amendment; that Richard Cardinal Cushing of Boston has spoken most enthusiastically in two recent issues of the Boston Pilot commending Senator Everett Dirksen as a great public servant and thoroughly seconding the efforts of Mr. Dirksen. Cardinal Spellman in 1962 dispatched his lawyer, Mr. Cusick here to speak to the Senate hearings strongly denouncing the Supreme Court decisions. Bishop Sheen is also on record for prayer in the public schools.
Senator TYDINGS. Bishop who?
Father HowE. Bishop Fulton J. Sheen of New York appearing before the Celler committee 2 years ago.
Mr. Chairman, I said all that as a Roman Catholic priest. Now I speak as a representative for Citizens for Public Prayer, which again is completely nondenominational and nonpartisan.
Almighty God, we acknowledge our dependence upon Thee and we beg Thy blessings upon us, our parents, our teachers and our country.
These 22 simple yet beautiful words, says the U.S. Supreme Court, are unconstitutional. We come, with respect but also with a serious urgency, asking passage of a peoples' amendment for public prayer which will forever reverse this tragic judgment. We come, in the rame of those many Americans who have joined us, to speak a loud thanks to Senator Everett M. Dirksen, Congressman Frank J. Becker, our now senior Senator, Senator Saltonstall, and those other Senators and Representatives who now and before have led this great grassroots effort.
We come before you today convinced that the two prayer decisions are very seriously wrong and that, quite beyond their apparent localization, they place precedents which must, if the Court is true to its own logic, destroy one by one each surviving instance of public reverence among us. We come, as Abraham Lincoln came once 100 years ago to the bar of public opinion in the matter of Dred Scott, convinced that for all the fine words and nice dicta, what counts is the sheer deed of these decisions. And the deed of the decisions in present question is an absurdity, contradictory at once to the sustained national cus
toms and the clear will of the American people. We come certain that unless and until a reasonable prayer amendment is proposed to the Nation, democracy is mocked and Americans everywhere must continue to wonder if this Hill is indeed a place where their voices are responsively heard. Because, gentlemen, now as seldom before those voices are loud, and united, around us here.
Perhaps one of the most important aspects of the matter now before us is its critical time dimensions. Seldom have so many Americans been so patient and yet so insistent for so long in so basic an issue. Seldom has the Nation, united as almost never in any previous peacetime, had cause to doubt the democracy as it has here. Four years ago on this side of the Hill, and 2 years ago on the House side, hearings were held to the same overall purpose for which we now meet. And yet still the clear national will to reverse the tragic precedents set down in the two Supreme Court prayer decisions has failed even to reach the floor in either Chamber.
Two years back, when a nearly successful discharge petition forced hearing in the House Judiciary Committee, I was privileged to share very closely in the prayer amendment drive. I worked then with the two prayer defense attorneys, the Honorable Bertram B. Daiker, of Port Washington, N.Y., and the Honorable Francis B. Burch, of Baltimore, Md., and, especially, with Congressman Frank J. Becker, of New York, and his many associates in the House. Even more importantly, I had talked to and corresponded with literally thousands of Americans who believe as I do in the right of public prayer. This I note in no sense of pride, because, while we certainly did not lose our case at that time, after an unconscionable lapse of 2 years, the House Judiciary Committee has still reported out no prayer bill. I put it down rather to suggest the context in which I now testify.
As the people of America rally once again for prayer, I believe these conclusions emerge from a time view of the amendment effort: 1. Far from subsiding, the intention of the Nation, tested in the usual fashion, remains very strongly proamendment. Two years ago, in our testimony before the House Judiciary Committee, we had detailed the wide extent of popular support for a prayer amendment.1 Senator TYDINGS. Reverend Howe, I must interrupt you for 1 minuted. I apologize. I am going to have to leave. I have a plane to catch, but Senator Hruska will continue to Chair the hearing. I apologize for not being able to stay. However, I do have a copy of your testimony which I will study. Thank you.
Father Howe. Thank you, Senator.
The very day present hearings were announced, the same issue of the Congressional Record caried the results of a poll in the home distict of Congressman McDade. This poll evidences two important. things. Ninety percent of those responding favored a prayer
There was some testimony according to the papers out in the "boondocks," Mr. Chairman, that there has been implication made here that the mail sent in in the earlier prayer hearings had certain headings
1 See "School Prayers, House Judiciary Hearings, 1964, Pt. II," pp. 986-1032. The Congressional Record, July 13, 1966, p. 14795.
on it and was triggered by certain organizations. I cite these congressional polls to prove that the people of the United States are thoroughly behind this prayer effort, and that it is not a matter of any particular correspondence headlines or any particular group stirring up the troops. Ninety percent of those responding to Congressman McDade's questionnaire favor a prayer amendment.
A second important point, Mr. Chairman, there were fewer undecided votes on the prayer question than on any other matter. Senator Dirksen himself has said: 3
Insofar as I can determine, more than 81% of the people disagree with the courts. Two weeks ago, one man came to Washington and dumped 52,000 letters of protest on my desk. Prayer groups are organizing. Sooner or later Congress must come to grips with this matter.
In October of 1964, the nationally known Lou Harris poll indicated that well over 80 percent of the American people favor a prayer amendment. There are these further indications. All of these, Mr. Chairman, are polls of their home districts by Congressmen.
(a) Polling his home district (the Congressional Record, Apr. 6, 1966, p. A1971):
Do you favor a constitutional amendment to permit Bible reading in public schools? Yes, 81 percent; no, 19 percent. Almost everybody has an opinion either pro or con about Bible reading. Only 2.4 percent of the people . . . failed to answer this question.
The Honorable Robert J. Corbett (Member of Congress from Pennsylvania):
(b) Polling his home district (the Congressional Record, May 16, 1966, p. A2602):
Do you favor a constitutional amendment to allow voluntary prayer and Bible reading in public schools? Yes, 77.5 percent; no, 22.5 percent.
The Honorable Joel Broyhill (Member of Congress from Virginia): (c) Polling his home district (the Congressional Record, June 2, 1966, p. 11637):
Do you favor a constitutional amendment permitting prayer in public schools? Yes, 83.4 percent; no, 10.8 percent.
The Honorable E. C. Gathings (Member of Congress from Arkansas), 83.4 percnt in favor of a constitutional prayer amendment. Congressman Monagan of Connecticut, 81.22 percent of the respondents favored a prayer amendment.
Polling his own district, the Honorable Ross Adair of the State of Indiana, 81.2 percent of those responding favor a constitutional prayer amendment. Polling his home district, and I am proud to insert this as an old "Cape Codder," the Honorable Hastings Keith, of the "Bay State," 82.8 percent favoring a constitutional prayer amendment.
At this time also, Mr. Chairman, I would like to place in the record, as shown in appendix 2, pages 20 and 21, these official statements by elected representatives of the people of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.
Senator HRUSKA. Without objection it will be received.
Father Howes. May I just mention the names of the communities, Mr. Chairman, without going further.
The Congressional Record, May 24, 1966, p. 10704.