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It may take the Court a long time to come to the full understanding of what its decision means, but by that time the American public may make some decisions of its own. In democratic life the tyranny of the few is always a temporary victory; it may be uncomfortable, but its fortunes will ultimately be reversed."

On the same date, our own official diocesan publication "The Catholic Free Press" ran this editorial:


"As we suspected when the Supreme Court handed down its decision . . . the dam is broken and the flood has begun. This week the Los Angeles affiliate of the American Civil Liberties Union filed suit in superior court in Los Angeles to have the phrase 'Under God' stricken from the pledge of allegiance to the flag... There seems little doubt about the intentions of the secularists, humanists and atheists in following up their recent victories with attempts to drive all vestiges of God and religion out of American public life . . . The Supreme Court henceforth will find it most difficult to retreat from the present course it has set for itself."

On July 19, 1963, "The Catholic Free Press" added editorially:

It would seem that the only way to stem the tide which threatens to banish any reference to God from American public life is the passage of an amendment to the Constitution clarifying the first amendment. We are not anxious to see the Constitution become a patchwork, amended each time a grievance cannot be resolved to everyone's satisfaction by the Supreme Court of the land. In this instance, however, the implications of the High Court's pronouncements on the relationship between church and state are so patently contrary to the intent of the Founding Fathers that several Senators and Congressmen have filed resolutions in the Congress requesting that a prayer amendment be made to the Constitution. Proponents of a prayer amendment are all agreed on one basic principle that the Founding Fathers never intended to identify the separation of church and state with the separation of God from state.

Also on record for amendment is the National Council of Catholic Youth. So is the National Governors' Conference (on two occasions). On February 17 and 20, 1966, the Massachusetts General Court repeated its petition of March 18, 1964, to the Congress urging immediate proposition of a prayer amendment to the American people."

Despite such widespread evidence that he prayer decisions were very seriously questioned by the American people and that a restorative amendment was needed to return the First Amendment to its original and traditional good sense, effective action continued for four years to be blocked in the Congress. Hearings were held in the House only after a nearly successful Discharge Petition had forced a recalcitrant chairman to move, but no bills were forthcoming. We rejoice that efforts are now once again responsibly underway.

We join our voice enthusiastically to those men of good will of varying faiths and parties who are wrestling with this difficult matter. We believe that, as in all such issues, a reasonably worded prayer amendment is possible. We believe that this amendment will constitute not an attack upon, but rather a counterattack against a dangerous misinterpretation of the First Amendment. We call on all citizens and their legislative spokesmen-on all, in fact, who honestly believe in the democratic process-to respect the clear will of the nation and

1 Evidence of massive popular support for a prayer amendment continues to mount up in poll after poll. In the very issue of the Congressional Record which announced these hearings, published results of a Congressional Poll in the district of Congressman McDade showed better than 90% of those responding in favor of such a namendment. On no other issue, in this particular poll, were there fewer "undecided" constituents. Further evidence of popular support has been recorded in Gallup and Harris Polls. A detailing of other evidence may be had from the testimony of Massachusetts Citizens for Public Prayer before the House Judiciary Committee in May of 1964, this testimony carried in full beginning at page A2449, the Congressional Record, May 13, 1964, extension of the remarks of Congressman Thomas O'Neill of Massachusetts.

2 In the earlier resolution, the Massachusetts General Court said in part:

"It is a basic belief of the people of Massachusetts and of these United States that reading of the Bible which is 'God's Holy Book' and prayer are a basic part of the belief that this State and Nation is a State and Nation under God and that such Bible reading and prayer should be a part of the curriculum of our public school system. Such Supreme Court decision denies the very great majority of Americans their fundamental constitutional right to express in our public schools their belief in Almighty God. said Supreme Court decision has made it possible for a very small minority to suppress the will, desires and wishes of the people of the United States."


demand from the Congress without further delay the proposal of a prayer amendment. We believe in the wiseness of the American people to act rightly on such a proposal. We have confidence that they will decide as their ancestors decided before them when they wrote into the seal of the City of Boston, those good words "Sicut patribus, sit Deus nobis." As God was with our fathers, so let Him be with us!


I appreciate the invitation to appear as a witness before the Subcommittee in relation to S.J. Res. 148 and the opportunity to file a statement in view of my inability to make a personal appearance.

I speak in opposition to the prayer amendment to the Constitution proposed by S.J. Res. 148. I urge the Subcommittee to make an adverse report on the proposal. The members of the Committee are aware, of course, that none of the many proposals for constitutional amendment to obviate, at least in part, the 1962 and 1964 prayer-recitation and Bible-reading decisions of the Supreme Court was found to merit approval. I think it fair to say that the upshot of that effort was a reaffirmation, in effect, of the proposition that we do not serve the cause of freedom-religious freedom, in particular-by injecting government into the realm of conscience.

Now we are confronted with a new proposal, which is put forward as something not intended to reverse the decisions of the Court. I do not wish to make a legal argument about this matter of consistency with the Court's interpretation of the Constitution. Obviously, we can change things by constitutional amendment in any event. The point I do make is that the proposal, with all the draftsman's efforts to minimize objection, is directed to keeping government in the sphere of religion. While the text of the proposal is far from clear in meaning, one has no doubt that there is a design to remove any Federal constitutional obstacle that there may be to group prayer supported by public schools and other government agencies. To this policy idea I strongly object. I oppose it as encouragement to state involvement in the field of religion. It would leave the way open for officially sponsored religious activity in a public school during school hours.

Ours is a pluralistic society which, in keeping with our basic principles of religious freedom, is characterized by the widest range of religious belief and non-belief. The public schools belong to all of us. How can they be used of ficially for prayer services without offending the views of this or that group or individual about religion? The fact that a given majority may approve and join in is no answer. In matters of belief and conscience wo do not make determinations by majority vote.

While the proposal quite significantly speaks in terms of "voluntary participation," there is a serious question whether the element of voluntariness can be preserved in public school conducted group prayer services. Whatever system of excusing individual participation might be employed, there would always be the very real question whether the individual child was actually being controlled by psychological and social pressures. I am speaking, of course, of prayer exercises or services in which prayers are read or said aloud.

Senator Dirksen, the principal proponent of the proposal, is concerned about the possibly restrictive implications of the Supreme Court decisions. I am concerned about the counter-implications of his proposal. Even if it should not be considered as a matter of interpretation to depart from voluntariness, one fears that in practice involuntariness would be present.

I am convinced that the new proposal, if adopted, would be hurtful to the interest of religion, in any event. What it would do would be to turn from the church and the home to an unmistakably secular institution to bolster religion. What we need is the widest freedom for private commitment and practice in the field of religion. Dependence upon government is an indication of weakness and we should not embrace it.

Finally, I think that it is bad constitutionalism to write into the Constitution. by amendment, provisions directed to particular matters, practices or problems. Chief Justice Marshall spoke with great vision when he said of the Constitution

that it was something designed to endure for the ages. We should not impair the grand design by attaching to its broad general principles specific provisions addressed to this or that matter or problem as we see it at a particular time.


Mr. Chairman and members of the Committee, I am Mrs. E. D. Pearce, President of the General Federation of Women's Clubs. I appreciate your giving me the opportunity to express the opinion of the majority of the members of the largest organization of women in the world in favor of a Constitutional Amendment which would permit voluntary participation in prayer in public schools. That opinion is expressed in a Resolution entitled "Prayer in Schools" which was adopted in Convention in 1962 and, as an indication of our continuing concern, it was reaffirmed during the Convention held in June of this year. The essence of this Resolution is that the General Federation of Women's Clubs urges every club woman in each state federation to work actively for a Constitutional Amendment which will allow non-denominational religious observance in all American institutions receiving public revenues if participation therein is not compulsory. This, very briefly, gentlemen is our view and we respectfully ask that you consider it during your deliberations of the subject before you today.


I strongly oppose the Constitutional amendment contained in proposed S.J. Res. 148 for the following reasons:

1. While as the sponsors indicate the proposed amendment does not reverse the holdings of the Engel and Schempp cases and Stein v. Oshinsky, I believe that it nevertheless reverses the First Amendment as applied by the Supreme Court. The McCollum and Zorach cases which deal with released time, indicated that any extensive participation by public school teachers and administrators in providing for religion in the public schools and any extensive carrying on of religious practices on public school property are prohibited by the First Amendment. It is clear that the religious exercises this amendment purports to authorize will be carried on on public school property and there is no doubt extensive participation by school teachers and administrators will be involved. The phrase "providing for" indicates as much. The "voluntary" proviso does not alter this conclusion in view of the fact that the court has frequently found that excusal provisions do not avoid the prohibitions of the First Amendment.

2. Since the amendment in my opinion is contrary to the First Amendment, I oppose it because I believe tampering with the First Amendment is undesirable and perhaps dangerous. Even were the amendment consistent with the First Amendment the addition of new language could cause unanticipated problems. For example, though at first glance it may seem that the amendment does not prevent a state from prohibiting voluntary prayer an interpretation is possible that once the establishment clause no longer prohibits such exercises, the free exercise clause of the First Amendment prevents the state and perhaps even any local school authority from doing so. Moreover, the last sentence of the amendment taken together with the "supported in whole or in part through the expenditure of public funds" language of the first sentence may result in prohibitions being imposed on parochial schools and other church programs which receive federal or state aid. While I believe that such federal and state aid is probably unconstitutional unless one takes seriously the so-called "child benefit" theory, which I do not, the Supreme Court might conceivably rule that partial indirect aid to church schools, which prescribe religious exercises and prayers is valid under the First Amendment. The language of the third sentence might preclude this conclusion.

These considerations aside, it is my view that, given the climate of opinion in the United States today, any tampering with the language of the First Amendment would open the way to further clamor for changes. Further movements

would undoubtedly arise for specific authorization for the allotment to parochial schools of public education funds. The country would soon find itself well on the way to obliterating all of the meaningful aspects of the disestablishment portions of the First Amendment. I would not be too sure that this tendency might not extend further to aspects of the free speech provisions of the First Amendment and to other portions of the Bill of Rights such as the Fifth Amendment. In other words, it is my opinion that the Bill of Rights should be retained intact as the embodiment of long range wisdom which has stood the test of time and which will be appreciated again by many generations long after the particular passions of the moment have passed. As Senator Dirksen himself has stated he is desirous of reassuring people in view of their "fears". I believe these fears of the moment are irrational and that the development of religion in the United States will not be hurt but in the long run be aided by strict enforcement of the disestablishment clause as now worded and interpreted by the court. On the other hand catering to momentary fears on matters of fundamental constitutional principle may well in the long run do a disservice to the very people the proposed amendment intends to serve.

3. I believe that the "voluntary" provision is unrealistic as the many statements by the court on excusal provisions indicate. Any common sense appraisal would indicate it is very difficult to know when the participation by a young person in a school setting is truly voluntary. The slightest degree of participation by school authorities or peer groups will frequently exercise such strong influence and pressure on the individual child as to amount to coercion. This is especially so since the amendment does not limit itself to child or even parent initiated prayer but in the "providing for" language clearly implies that the schools may set up prayer programs so long as they are not the ones that prescribe the form or content of the prayer. This may mean that in addition to alloting time and space to children of various religious groups for prayer exercises, ministers can be brought into the schools to conduct such exercises, and perhaps prayer books issued by various faiths can be provided out of public funds. To say that any child confronted with such programs and paraphernalia, except for unusual and individual cases, is capable of acting voluntarily is to indulge in legal fiction. If it be argued that such involuntary "voluntariness" is not what the amendment intends to permit, it is difficult to see just what it is designed to accomplish.

4. This picture of what will surely happen under public pressure in many of our schools once this amendment is passed brings up a further objection. One of the most important consequences of a strict enforcement of the disestablishment clause is to assure that children in public schools will not be offiically identified by their religious differences. Such identification on the whole increase divisiveness and hampers the school's capacity for countering the religious prejudices and antagonisms many children are still taught at home or by their peer group. Divisiveness will be increased as a consequence of this amendment far beyond the point prevailing under the programs invalidated by the Engel and Schempp cases. At least those programs were uniform for all the children who did not seek to excuse themselves. Under the system permitted by the proposed amendment, the school community will be transformed into a virtual Tower of Babel of various religions and sects.

5. In conclusion it also should be pointed out that programs for providing for religious exercises for various sects which, under pressure of public opinion will surely have to be enacted in many areas if this amendment were passed, will greatly increase the burden of administrators and the cost of public school education and subject already harassed school systems to the clamor of still another set of pressure groups from which such school boards have up to now been relatively immunized by the decisions of the Supreme Court. The important problems facing public education today present enormous difficulties and little public good will come from deflecting the full energies of educators and educational administrators from being applied to carrying out their central purpose.


Mr. Chairman, and members of the Senate Subcommittee conducting hearings on S.J. Res. 148-It is unfortunate that testimony given in behalf of the Bap tists of America at a hearing now in progress on S.J. Res. 148 would seem to

imply that this body of Christians was in favor of a continued ban upon prayer in our Public Schools. Undoubtedly the statement presented to you in the name of Baptists was based upon resolutions passed by various Baptist bodies. To make clear the limited import of such a statement, let me call your attention to the fact that resolutions passed by at least one body of Baptists, the American Baptist Convention, are followed by the following statement of explanation:


"American Baptist resolutions are the attempt to help Baptists express a Christian view on crucial issues. To be sure, resolutions passed by the American Baptist Convention cannot be said to represent the conclusions of all American Baptists, or even all the American Baptists attending the Convention. They do, however, represent the careful thinking of a large number of people."

To illustrate the limited extent of representation reflected in such resolutions, let me quote from the most recently published Convention Annual for Sessions held in 1965. This report indicates that the Convention Session had only 3,071 registered delegates. The same document indicates that the Convention claimed 6.119 individual churches with a total membership of 1,495,326 people within its fold. There is little reason to conclude that even half of the churches had delegates at the Convention. A little arithmetic will indicate the very small percentage of representation that attended and voted. Furthermore as a rule delegates do not go from the churches with any authority to commit their congregations on any issues. Scientific efforts are not made to poll the thinking of the churches and their membership on these issues.

Listed as a co-sponsor of S. J. Res. 148 is the distinguished Senator from the State of Kansas, Senator Frank Carlson. And American Baptists claim him as a leading layman. Undoubtedly the spokesman for Baptists before your hearing did not include him and hundreds of thousands of others who were never Consulted. The Congress and this subcommittee will exercise seasoned judgment by accepting such sweeping statements from large bodies for what they are . . expressions of men based upon very incomplete findings and voted, often by bodies that do not represent even a small fraction of the total constituency. We do need the Constitutional amendment provided for in S.J. Res. 148 which says,

"Nothing in this Constitution shall prohibit the authority administering any school, school system, educational institution or other public building supported in whole or in part through the expenditure of public funds from providing for or permitting the voluntary participation by students or others in prayer. Nothing contained in this article shall authorize any such authority to prescribe the form or content of any prayer."

This amendment is simple. It does not require prayer but it certainly does not prohibit it. Neither does it grant authority to any official body to determine the form or content of the prayer.

It should be remembered that the prayer decisions of the Supreme Court were based upon their interpretation of the Constitution. However, the Constitution is an instrument ordained, not by the courts but by the people. The courts may interpret it, but the people must always have the right to amend it. It should say clearly what the people want it to say.

If public prayer can be offered in the Halls of Congress at each opening session, in military camps and on board ship for our service men, at the service of inauguration for the President, at national political conventions, at social, civic and public functions . . . and even in our penal institutions, why should prayer be banned from the lips of our children and young people in the schools of the nation? Your support of S.J. Res. 148 will give the world a moral witness that declares that for Americans God is important. And it will reaffirm what the Supreme Court itself has said that "we are a religious people whose institutions presuppose a Supreme Being."


A major contribution of American political thought to Western civilization was the concept of the separation of church and state, which was intended to safeguard religious freedom and preserve our nation against the tyranny that

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