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religious freedom to the point of guaranteeing that some citizens' religious tenets are offended daily.

The other aspects of S.J. Res. 148 are based on inaccurate assumptions. Currently no constitutional or statutory prohibition prevents the use of prayers in governmental institutions or activities, ceremonies or coinage, or in such ceremonies as the salute to the flag. The proponents of S.J. Res. 148 assume that government and religion must be in constant warfare. This assumption is totally false.

The unfortunate fact is that the proponents of S.J. Res. 148 inaccurately assume that the Constitution does not tolerate any accommodation between religion and government. The assumption is that every involvement of religion in public life violates the establishment clause. This point of view is extremely oversimplified. The proponents of constitutional amendments conveniently assume that the Supreme Court is dedicated to the obliteration of religion.

In discussing the relationship between religion and government, we recognize that conflict can exist between the establishment and free exercise provisions of the First Amendment. Such practices, which appear on the surface to violate the establishment clause, may seriously interfere with religious liberties also protected by the First Amendment. The most obvious examples provide for churches and chaplains in military establishments and penal institutions. These examples are clearly distinguishable from prayers in public schools, on five counts.

(1) The use of military chaplains and chaplains in penal institutions involves adults, and does not involve children. (2) The involvement of such chaplains allows each individual to express freely his own religious belief or no belief. (3) Attendance at services is not compulsory. (4) There is no attempt to have a unifying prayer. (5) Finally, attending public school does not deny children general opportunities to worship in a religious fashion otherwise. The situation of the school child is totally distinguishable from that of the prisoner or the soldier away on a base.

The commandment of the First Amendment, and as applied to the Fourteenth Amendment, is that the state must be neutral in all matters of faith. It must neither favor nor inhibit religion. The sponsorship of religious exercises, by either authoring or prescribing prayers or reading of the Bible in the public schools, jeopardizes that neutrality. But the refusal to provide chaplains and places of worship for prisoners and soldiers, cut off from the ordinary advantages of civilian life by action of the state, who have no opportunities at all to engage in religious worship, would be a hostile act thereby inhibiting religion.

The offering of invocational prayers in legislative bodies or public gatherings— indeed where public officials present themselves-involves a different matter. There is no need for anyone to attend such services. And, indeed, for other reasons, anyone who wishes to go to the House or Senate will always see a sparse gathering of Congressmen and Senators at the time the prayers are being said. This is not to suggest that legislators are irreligious. It only suggests a freedom not to attend the invocation. Indeed, if one reads the Congressional Record carefully, one can see, through the course of a Congressional session, the meaning of Justice Douglas' remarks in the Zorach case: "We are a religious people." Religion does play a significant part in American life. We are Protestant, Catholic, Jew. The invocation of prayers at either a public gathering such as the Inaugural of the President, or at the start of a Congressional session, simply illustrates the nation's preoccupation with religion. It results in neither favoring religion nor qualifying the necessary neutralism by government. Finally, the Court's decisions clearly do not prevent the use of non-devotional study in the public schools of religion and the Bible. Indeed, it is hard to imagine how European history could be taught without going into the doctrines of Calvinism and Martin Luther, and the conflicts between the Popes and their opponents. It is difficult to discuss American history without going into the purposes of the Bill of Rights and the opposition by the Founding Fathers to an established church, or their support of freedom of religion.

Indeed, as we course through American history, we can find a useful need for understanding the role of evangelism in American history, and the use of the Bible on the frontier. Finally, nothing in these decisions precludes a study of the Bible, as literature, and of its meaning. Quite the contrary, one would think that such studies would be beneficial in the curriculum.

The fact is that the proponents of S.J. Res. 148 have proposed the most radical change possible in supporting a constitutional amendment. The proponents of

the amendment have decided a priori that the Supreme Court does not tolerate religion. Quite the contrary. The Court recognizes that religion plays an im portant role in American life. Most important, the Court acknowledges that religion and government can accommodate each other in order to fulfill the mandate of the establishment clause and the free exercise clause. In the name of bringing prayer into the public school system, the proponents of S.J. Res. 148 seek to discard the previous heritage of our Bill of Rights.

On behalf of the officers and members of ADA, I request that this letter be made part of the hearing record. Thank you.

Sincerely yours,

LEON SHULL, National Director.


My name is Edwin B. Bronner. I am professor of History and Curator of the Quaker Collection at Haverford College, and am an active member of the Religious Society of Friends, commonly called Quakers. I am writing as an individual, and not as a representative of any official body of Friends.


For more than 300 years the members of the Society of Friends have been con cerned about religious liberty, and have believed that government should not be allowed to interfere with personal conscience and religious belief either by requiring certain religious attitudes and practices, or by forbidding particular religious observances.

In their early years the Quakers suffered severe religious persecution from government authorities. The law in seventeenth century England forbade religious worship except in the established church, the Anglican Church. Friends continued to gather together to worship God in deliberate violation of such laws, and were jailed by the hundreds. They were jailed and fined for refusing to swear oaths, for they took literally the injunction of Jesus, "Swear not at all." (Matt. 5:34) They were jailed and fined for refusing to pay tithes in support of the Church of England. On some occasions there were 5,000 Quakers in jail in England at one time. They were often harassed by government officials for the payment of tithes even after the enactment of the English Act of Toleration in 1689.

The first Friends who came to the English colonies in America also suffered severe religious persecution. The authorities of Massachusetts made a deter mined effort to exclude the early Friends from that colony. Beginning with im prisonment and brutal beatings, the authorities later resorted to mutilation, and finally turned to the death penalty to force the Quakers to leave. Four persons were hanged, including Mary Dyer, the mother of a family of seven children, before King Charles II learned of the situation and intervened.

William Penn and his Quaker co-religionists, along with other nonconformists, attempted to persuade the English government to grant religious toleration in the 1670's without success. In the face of this failure, Penn decided to or ganize his own colony as a "holy experiment . . . an example to the nations," where religious liberty would be a cornerstone of the government. In 1682 be founded Pennsylvania, and the first law enacted in the new colony guaranteed religious liberty. Later in 1701, when he was revising the constitution of Pennsylvania, Penn placed the guarantee of religious liberty into that document, called the Charter of Privileges, using the following words :

"Because no People can be truly happy tho' under the greatest Enjoyment of civil Liberties, if abridged of the Freedom of their Consciences, as to their re ligious Profession and Worship; And Almighty God being the only Lord of Conscience . . . I do hereby grant and declare, That no Person or Persons, inhabiting in this Province or Territories, who shall confess and Acknowledge One Almighty God. . . shall be in any Case molested or prejudices, in his or their Person or Estate, because of his or their conscientious Perswasion or practice. not be compelled to frequent or maintain any religious Worship, Place or Minis try, contrary to his or their Mind, or to do or suffer any other Act or Thing, contrary to their religious Perswasion."


The religious liberty of Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and some of the other colonies because the pattern which was adopted by the young nation in 1791 when the First Amendment, the first chapter in our Bill of Rights, was added to our Constitution.

Our understanding of religious liberty has grown over the years. We have become more enlightened as the generations have come and gone. As we saw, Penn guaranteed religious liberty to those who believed in one God. For those who were to hold office in his commonwealth he made an additional requirement, that they believe in Jesus Christ. In an age of established churches, Penn's requirements were very liberal, but we would find them restrictive today.

A few generations ago this was a Protestant nation. Roman Catholics, Jews, and persons of other religious faiths, or of no belief, were a tiny minority, and their rights were not necessarily respected. Today we live in a pluralistic society in which we must respect the religious beliefs of all, even of those who disclaim adherence to any faith. I believe that the First Amendment of the Constitution is a necessary cornerstone of religious liberty, that it is a fundamental basis of our American way of life, and I am opposed to amending it any way which limits religious liberty.

In 1701 when Penn granted religious liberty to his citizens, in the words already quoted, he added a special guarantee in Chapter Eight of that constitution: "But because the Happiness of Mankind depends so much upon the Enjoying of Liberty of their Consciences as aforesaid, I do hereby solemnly declare, promise and grant * * * That the first Article of this Charter relating to Liberty of Conscience, and every Part and Clause therein, according to the true Intent and Meaning thereof, shall be kept and remain, without any Alteration, inviolably for ever."

We ought to emulate William Penn and pledge that we will not amend, will not weaken the First Amendment, but keep it "without any Alteration, inviolably for ever."

If we change the Bill of Rights in this instance, how soon will it be before some new campaign will be initiated to change some other part of the Bill of Rights. If we are not vigilant, our liberty will be slowly eroded by a series of minor amendments to the Bill of Rights, and we will wake up to discover that we have lost something much more precious than the right to have a few phrases of a religious nature repeated at the beginning of the day in our public schools.


I would like to make a few observations about the proposed amendment which is under consideration by this committee, and explain why I believe it is undesirable. It is doubtful whether the type of religious observances contemplated by the amendment will produce the beneficial results which the supporters desire. A religious liturgy which is supposed to appeal to all and offend none, lacks the commitment which should be an essential part of religion. Granting to public officials in the schools the power to decide what religious observances are right and proper seems contrary to our traditions. Instead of providing for prayers, I would prefer to see religion courses put into the curriculum of our public schools. We ought not to hold religious exercises in our public schools if such acts violate the religious liberty of our fellow Americans.

To be sure, this amendment provides for voluntary prayers, but as other witnesses have told you, how do we make sure that children are going to be protected in a situation as delicate as this one is. Certainly there are many schools where all the children are Protestant, and in such a community, it seems wrong to deprive children of prayers if that is the wish of the parents and school authorities. Increasingly, however, the mobility of the Americian people means that the old nineteenth Century rural Protestant community has been replaced by a community containing people of varied religious and ethnic backgrounds. Often the Protestant majority is slow to recognize the presence of these other Americans. I believe that these prayers will have very little value to students, and the provision may be harmful to minorities who should be protected.

Quakers believe that their faith is an essential part of all aspects of their lives. We are as concerned to live consistent lives in our business, in our every day life, yes, in our schooling, as in our observance of the Lord's Day on the Sabbath. While we gather on Sunday, and sometimes during the middle of the

week, to worship God together, we attempt at all times to experience a close relationship with our Heavenly Father. We seek guidance through prayer and through the reading of the Scriptures and other religious writings, in order to gain inspiration for our daily lives. This is one reason many of us feel that Bible reading and prayers in the public schools are unnecessary.

I am sure that other religious people, of whatever belief, who are faithful in devotions at home, who are regular in attending religious services, can worship God in their own way, without the establishment of a religious exercise in the compulsory public schools operated by the government. I do not believe that children lacking a religious home background are going to acquire love and respect for religion from prayers in the schools. I am reminded of the words of Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount: "And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward." (Matt. 6:5) I think it would not be wrong to substitute "public schools" for "synagogues and in the corners of the streets."

To attempt to reach agreement upon some religious form acceptable to all is to water down religious beliefs to a common denominator which is meaningful to none. Each of us regards as precious, as vital to our faith, a particular aspect of religion which lacks meaning for others. We have gloried in the religious freedom which allows many denominations and faiths to live together in harmony. Let us not attempt to gloss over those differences with a meaningless, tasteless religious pablum.

If we enacted this new amendment to the Constitution, we would grant to school boards and to school administrators authority in the area of religion which should not rightfully belong to government officials. Elected officials must abide by majority rule, and that is right and proper, but we do not want religious matters settled by majority rule. We believe that in the area of religion each individual's conscience should be free to develop along the lines which seem right to him, as long as he does not violate someone else's freedom in the process.

I deplore the excessive secularization of our society today, and deeply regret that many of our citizens are unfamiliar with the Bible and with the beliefs and practices of various religious groups. I would favor the introduction of courses into the curriculum of public schools for the study of the Bible and of comparative religions. Such courses should be offered by competent teachers who are able to present material fairly and intelligently. These classes, which would of course be optional, would have a much greater impact upon students than perfunctory prayers which are the subject of this discussion; such a development in the public schools was proposed by the Supreme Court.

If public acts of worship in our schools make some of our fellow citizens uncomfortable, we should be willing to forgo such acts in deference to their consciences. Quakers have suffered a great deal in the past because of their re ligious beliefs, and for that reason feel very tender towards any persons who are made to feel uncomfortable today because of their religious beliefs, or for con science sake. I am sure that there are a great many other Americans, whether Protestant, Catholic or Jew whose ancestors suffered for their religion, who will want to be completely free of any action which will be interpreted as reviving religious persecution today. We can practice our religion in our churches and in our homes, and we have the privilege of worshipping in private; we do not need public acts of worship in our schools, especially if it is to be at the expense the religious liberty of our fellow Americans.


Washington, D.C., August 5, 1966.

Chairman, Subcommittee on Constitutional Amendments, Committee on the
Judiciary, U.S. Senate, Washington, D.C.

DEAR SENATOR BAYH: The Christian Science Board of Directors, the Administrative head of the Christian Science Church, has asked me, as their official representative in the Nation's Capital, to state our position on the Dirksen Amendment, S.J. Res. 148, School Prayers, on which hearings are currently being held by your Committee.

While the Christian Science Church clearly recognizes the benefits which can and must accrue to the individual and the nation from consistent and consecrated prayer, we do not support the present Joint Resolution. Members of the Christian Science Church are expected to pray daily for themselves, for their country, and for all mankind, but this is unquestionably a personal and private obligation, not one which should be encouraged or enforced by means of public institutions. Additionally, while we recognize the definite need for the proper spiritual education of all the children in this nation, we do not feel that this function is properly or constitutionally assumed by the public schools.

Concerning prayer, the founder of our religion, Mary Baker Eddy, states in her book, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, "The habitual struggle to be always good is unceasing prayer." The development of this "habitual struggle" is the real obligation of the churches we feel, and the authorization of prayer in the public schools is not only irrelevant to this development but establishes a precedent which could seriously undermine the freedom which our churches now have, based on the doctrine of separation of church and state. Recognizing the unique diversity of religious tradition upon which this country is based, the constitutional fathers in their wisdom protected the function of the church from the supervision of the state. We feel that the churches today are strong enough, vital enough, and concerned enough to continue to fulfill their collective obligation to the spiritual education of our children. True freedom of religion can be adequately protected and maintained only by individual church action, not through the enforced intervention of public institutions as envisioned by this Resolution.




As the Legislative Secretary of the Citizens Congressional Committee I appear in behalf of a Constitutional Amendment seeking to restore to our people the right of voluntary devotions in our public institutions, including our public schools.

If the trend which brought about the veto of devotions in our schools is not turned back by Constitutional amendment, bulldozers will be destroying our oldest and most traditional churches within a matter of one to five years. On the surface this seems like an exaggeration, but let me remind the Committee that the same forces and the same financial backing which brought about the appeals which consummated in the Supreme Court decision against school devotions-these same forces are now working their way through the lower courts and approaching the high courts with a petition to compel ad valorem taxation against church physical property and to compel the removal of church organizations from the tax-exempt list of the Internal Revenue Department. Should this happen, it will bankrupt the modern church of all denominations as we know it.

Imagine the Fifth Avenue Presbyterian Church and imagine most downtown churches in the larger cities which you represent trying to pay ad valorem taxes on property in the light of modern value-imagine what it would do to the budget of the average church college, church institution and church organization itself to be compelled to pay taxes.

The same logic which has destroyed the right of volunteer devotions in our public schools is being used to bankrupt the organized church in the United States of America.

I am confident that this committee knows that an overwhelming majority of our Congress favors the right of voluntary devotions and an overwhelming majority of our people also favor it. The only reason that this decision has been allowed to stand against the will of the people is because the people through their Representatives and through their Legislatures have not thus far been permitted to express themselves.

May I humbly urge the Senate of the United States and all others charged with this legal responsibility to proceed as rapidly as possible to restore this traditional privilege of prayer and devotions to our public institutions.

I do not need to dwell on the current situation involving crime, Communism, subversion in general, perversion, secularism and materialism. All of these

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