« EdellinenJatka »
observances" in the public school and in public buildings and on public occasions constitute "bad" religion and serves to take the edge off the proper and true observances of these occasions by the Church and those who are mature in their understanding of the true meaning of such occasions of worship. The Church Sunday observance is often an anti-climactic experience, following the week day observance in the public school.
I believe that objective religion has a rightful place in the program of the public school, and it is possible and good for public school teachers to teach moral principles and spiritual values by precept and example. All education that is worthy of the name must inculcate a sense of duty and a sense of reverence. Within our present framework there is permitted and encouraged and indeed enjoined, the teaching of religious classics in courses of literature, and social studies showing the influence of religion upon our society. The Supreme Court's decision comes as a challenge to educators and administrators of the public school system to tackle the tough assignment of offering objective courses in religion and thus introduce all students to the world of religion. But evangelism is the duty of the home and church, and true devotional services with spiritual content and meaning are not to be entrusted to public school authorities. The court has clearly proscribed devotional exercises as a part of the school program, it does not proscribe teaching about religion nor use of the Bible as a reference text in appropriate courses. This is a mature point of view and can be accepted by all churchmen without protest. But to permit the exercise and practice of "bad religion," even though it be permissive and voluntary, may indeed one day drive all vestiges of religion and God from our national lives.
Nor is the harm of this amendment lessened by the use of the term "voluntary participation." There can be no stronger influence exerted upon a child than the influence of the school building, the teacher, the principal. If the "administration" decrees and plans a religious observance there will be very few children able to withstand this "influence," even though voluntarism is accepted in principle. There are few "odd balls," who would have the strength to exert nonconformity and defy the law of imitation if the school is the moving force in the observance. Indeed it is my opinion that "voluntary participation," is an illusion, and evades the serious implications of this Resolution. I therefore oppose S.J. Res. 148 for:
1. Prayer and Bible reading in the atmosphere of religious devotion and worship in the home and church are of great value, but may constitute "bad religion," and the exploitation of the best when such an atmosphere does not exist; and 2. Public schools are institutions of the community as a whole. They are maintained and operated by government for and on behalf of all people of the community. A basic social reality of our society today is cultural pluralism. The public schools reflect that pluralism in the composition of their students and faculties. Devotional services that reflect the habits and practices of one group in such a society, even when such services are congenial to the faith of the majority in the society, violate the integrity of religious freedom as a right derived not from the state but from God.
While I express high regard for the distinguished Senator who proposes this amendment I would hope that his deep emotional commitment to this resolution and to the constituency he represents, would not prove to be the means by which this nation is led into an official orthodoxy that would in the end deny the freedom we have enjoyed under the First Amendment as it now stands.
ADDENDUM TO STATEMENT BY S. P. MARLAND, JR., SUPERINTENDENT OF SCHOOLS, PITTSBURGH, PENNSYLVANIA
My name is Sidney P. Marland, Jr. I am Superintendent of Schools in Pittsburgh, a fairly active layman in the Episcopal Church, and Chairman of the Commission on Religion in Public Schools of the American Association of School Administrators. I have thought heavily on the subject at hand for nine months, and I have talked of the question with many teachers, principals and school parents.
Last fall the Supreme Court ruling had direct and immediate relevance to our Pittsburgh Schools where ten verses of the Bible had been prescribed by Pennsylvania law to be read daily without comment in all our classrooms. Upon
the announcement of the Court's decision I had an opportunity to publish the following message to our teachers:
"SUPERINTENDENT MARLAND SEES OPPORTUNITY IN COURT DECISION
"DEAR COLLEAGUE: For a good number of years I have been increasingly im pressed by a fundamental proposition affecting education: That controversy and differences of opinion between honest and reasonable parties generally lead to constructive forward movement. We have passed through such a controversy, nationally, on the subject of prayer and Bible reading in school. It is reassuring to observe that virtually no hostility or contentiousness has attached to this subject in our Pittsburgh schools or community as a result of the Supreme Court decision of this past summer.
“However, the test of our effectiveness in this controversy is not that the issue has subsided with little or no bloodshed. The real test lies in what we as teachers can do to take advantage of the momentum created by the debate in developing creative forward movement. Whether or not we agree with the Court's decision, we have accepted its authority to remove from all classrooms the recitation of the Lord's Prayer and ten verses of the Bible "read without comment." With no disrespect intended to our early legislators, to the Bible, or to teachers, I would judge that the practice, now set aside, afforded little freedom for creative teaching ("without comment") and could easily have fallen to perfunctory level.
"We now find ourselves with five minutes, more or less, each day... those sensitive, quiet minutes at the beginning of the day with a considerably enlarged (rather than restrained) freedom to teach. The question lies in how fruitfully these minutes are used-how creatively and imaginatively the teacher uses this time. The pattern is there; pupils and teachers for many years have been accustomed to the practice of opening exercises; the accumulated power of five minutes per day over ten or twelve of the most responsive years of children's lives offers a monumental opportunity.
"When all is said and done, the opening exercises, before and after the Supreme Court decision, are concerned with values. These values now take on a potential of broader and deeper dimensions. We can teach the brotherhood of man without actual use of the Scripture; we can teach integrity without ritual; we can teach the ethic of love without prayer. And there remain many other values woven through our narrative literature, our poetry, our biographies, our music, our art that present a vast opportunity for the constructive uses of these precious five minutes a day. These five minutes become something over 250 hours in the years the child is with us.
"One may say, 'But this is dangerous territory; there is no curriculum: I teach my subject, but I have no training in this values thing.' It is important that we teach children to read and to write and to reckon, and to know history and the ways of science. But it is equally important to imbue them with the capacities for relating these learnings to their convictions, to their behavior, and to their lives. This is where values come in. They surround us on the playing field, in the auditorium, in the corridors, but most of all, apart from the home, they find their roots in the good adult people with whom children associate. I shall, forever, put my trust in the good people who are the classroom teachers, who know they are free to be different from each other in the world of values; who respect the child's right to be different; but who have the creativity, courage, and wisdom to clarify their own values, and then let them show. "Sincerely,
"S. P. MARLAND, Jr."
In conclusion, I would urge the honorable members of Congress to preserve the Constitution in its present form. It has served education and religion well for many generations. To suggest that the Congress alter the Constitution to permit "voluntary" prayer and Bible reading is to ignore the nature of children and schools. We have a captive audience in every classroom consisting of children who for the most part are conditioned to respond cooperatively to the planned affairs of the school and to the teacher. A child is not truly free to accept of reject a classroom program in which his fellows are actively engaged, no matter how earnest teachers and parents might be in arranging for voluntary isolation. As a teacher I accept the Supreme Court's ruling that Bible reading and prayer in school are incompatible with the heterogeneous composition of the student
body. Sectarianism and denominationalism are inescapable, and the nonbeliever has grounds for taking offense. I could, therefore, agree that religious ritual or worship has no place in public schools.
However, as I read the Court's ruling, I find no rejection of religion as a guiding force in the lives of teachers and children. Moral and spiritual values, which for most people have their origin in religion, occupy a high place in the purposes of education, indeed in education's very reason for being. Our literature, our art, our music, our sensitive acknowledgement of diverse religious seasons (without ritual), all abound in opportunities for teachers to reveal for children the place of religion in our culture. Religious history and influence are truths to be learned; a fourth grader, reading Joyce Kilmer, learns that Kilmer declares: "Only God can make a tree;" a Bach chorale is a thing of beauty to be enjoyed; the presence of the Almighty in the lives of great men is a biographical fact to be noted. Nothing in the Court's ruling removes from the schools the freedom and the obligation to treat religion as a very large force in our civilization. Nothing in the ruling suggests that teachers and children must pretend to be agnostics between the opening and closing bells. The Constitution now forbids ritual. It ensures freedom for all individuals, pupils and teachers, to exercise their private beliefs, short of ritual, different though those beliefs may be. Let us not change it.
STATEMENT OF DR. FRANCIS J. BROWN, PROFESSOR OF ECONOMICS, DE PAUL UNIVERSITY, CHICAGO, ILLINOIS AND CHAIRMAN OF THE BOARD OF THE NATIONAL ASSOCIATION FOR PERSONAL RIGHTS IN EDUCATION (NAPRE) ON BEhalf of NAPRE TO THE SUBCOMMITTEE ON CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENTS
The National Association for Personal Rights in Education (NAPRE) is an organization of citizens interested in the study and advancement of the personal rights of parents and children in American education.
NAPRE is concerned with the personal rights of parents to control the education of their children in schools of their own free choice and conscience. It is concerned with the civil rights of every American child to religious liberty and to the equal protection of the laws.
The proposed constitutional amendment (S. J. Res. 148) permitting voluntary prayer within public schools is a move to guarantee some measure of nondenominational religion therein, although in our view sectarian prayers would also come under its protection.
We approach this amendment with good will, but we respectfully submit that it is only a surface answer to the basic difficulties inherent in the State education of the children of pluralistic America.
As a background for our conclusions, we examine, first, the twofold nature of a school and, second, the historical use of the education tax dollar within the State public school.
Every school, whether tax-supported or not, teaches two main elements, its secular academic content and its educational philosophy. Most people understand academic content to mean such subjects as reading, mathematics, and science. But many-including some legislators, most constitutional experts, and all too many clergymen-are seemingly in the dark as to the existence, nature, and influence of educational philosophies.
The educational philosophy of a school is the frame of reference within which its secular academic content is interwoven and taught. It includes the relevance or irrelevance of God, religion, and prayer for living and learning. It includes philosophical values on man, morality, rights, duties, and other ultimates. It includes the impact of textbooks and of the values and example of teachers and administrators. It includes the permeating influence of the total life of the school as a social institution.
Now, however deeply some may hold to the contrary, there is no public educational philosophy reasonably acceptable to the pluralistic taxpayers of America. Rather American parents desire three main private or particular philosophies: nondenominational (nonsectarian) Protestantism; sectarian (protestant, Catholic, Orthodox Jew, etc.); and Secularism (Secular Humanism), a view that considers religion as unwanted or irrelevant in the schooling of children.
In turning to the historical use of the education tax, we see that in the middle of the 19th century the dominant Protestant groups established a State school
which they called a public or common school and to which they awarded a monopoly of the education tax, while making no provision for dissenters.
While hailed by its founders as a model of constitutionality, this public school actually violated the principle of separation of Church and State and the individual religious freedom of dissenters. For it was basically a union of the State and a combination of Protestants whereby the State used public taxation not simply to offer academic content but also to give preferential support to private Protestant educational values spearheaded by prayer and the reading of the Bible. Further this Establishment was in our opinion a grave error on the part of the Protestants for they put the State in an overpowering position with respect to other schoolteachers of American children. Undoubtedly this did not then appear dangerous to the Protestants, for they must have seemed unlikely ever to lose control of the values within the public schools.
But since then Secularism has come into dominance in the State schools. Aetually, because Protestant values had already been diluted in many public schools through such factors as disunity and the desire to avoid conflict, John Dewey and other secularists had little difficulty in installing their own philosophy.
But not content with such de facto conquests-conquests which are still largely unknown to the American public-secularists have come to the Supreme Court to drive out such remnants of Protestantism as nonsectarian prayer and the mere reading of a few verses of the Bible. We know how successful they have been. Thus we see the dilemma confronting a State that falsely imagines that there is an acceptable neutral position to be attained among the irreconcilable educational philosophies of its taxpayers. Despite the outeries of those who, as part of their religious heritage, had long preferentially enjoyed State-prescribed prayer and Bible reading within the public schools, the Court struck down such religious prac tices. But in so doing, it helped give Secularism a more powerful role in public education.
The present prayer amendment is an attempt by some taxpayers to put part of their educational philosophy beyond the reach of a judiciary helpful to the secularist Establishment, but in our opinion there has not been sufficient preparation as yet for constitutional amendment in this matter.
Before amendment the Congress should examine the rights and responsibilities of the State, the Church, the parents, the child, and the taxpayers with respect to a State compulsory school supported by general taxation. Thus the Congress must distinguish between the State's proper function to promote secular academic content and its improper action in promoting Secularism.
The past, present, and future of the public school must be examined. The Congress must recognize that a school permeated by a preferred philosophy cannot be made the public school in a pluralistic society merely by calling it public, by awarding it a monopoly of the education tax, or by declaring it open to all children.
The State cannot operate a school without supporting somebody's values. The Congress must realize that true neutrality for the State consists, with due regard for the common good, in supporting equally either none or all of the competing educational philosophies of its taxpayers, with provision being made for dissenters from the State school.
The Congress should also examine the Supreme Court's arguments in the prayer and other school decisions stemming from the Everson (1947) case.
To touch upon one example, the Court relies heavily in these decisions on the successful fight of Jefferson and Madison in Virginia against the efforts of a combination of churches to gain tax support.
But the situations are vastly different. The proposed Virginia tax was pri marily to support the private religious values of citizens. The present school taxes are primarily for the teaching of academic content within a compulsory State school system. Nonetheless, the Court uses the Virginia case to construct opinions through which private secularistic views are officially becoming the privi leged tax-supported philosophy within which the public benefit of acedemic content is interwoven and taught.
We are reluctant to withhold support from this prayer amendment because its defeat will bolster Secularism in the State schools, but we must do so. For its passage, while leading many to conclude that a far-reaching victory has been won for religious liberty, would in our opinion do extremely little to offset the deep in roads of Secularism in public education. Further, the amendment makes no provision for those who through individual religious conscience seek an education apart from the State school values.
Two years ago in testimony before the U.S. House Judiciary Committee we recommended a resolution in place of the Becker and other proposals to amend the Constitution with reference to prayer and Bible reading. But today, convinced that America must no longer endure the use of the First Amendment to hinder or destroy religious liberty, we are willing to support a clarifying constitutional amendment.
Such an amendment should restate a fundamental principle and recommend an approach to true neutrality on the part of the State. The principle is that for many citizens educational philosophy is an integral part of their religious beliefs and thus comes under the protection of the religious freedom clauses of the Federal and State constitutions.
The recommendation is twofold. First, for those taxpayers who accept the State education system, we recommend that those who voluntarily seek to practice such religious expressions as prayer and Bible reading and study should enjoy the widest latitude to do so, provided the rights of others are respected. Second, for those who do not accept the State educational philosophy, we recommend that they be given a fair share of the education tax to bring to the schools of their free choice and conscience.
Such an amendment would help restore the neutrality intended by the First Amendment. It would be a major advance down the road to that long-awaited day on which religious liberty and the equal protection of the laws will become a reality in American education for all children.
STATEMENT ON SENATE JOINT RESOLUTION 148 BY PHILIP H. PHENIX, PROFESSOR OF PHILOSOPHY AND EDUCATION, TEACHERS COLLEGE, COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY
I appreciate the Subcommittee's invitation to me to make a statement on Senate Joint Resolution 148 proposing a Constitutional amendment to provide for or permit voluntary participation in prayer in public schools. My interest in the question, apart from my concern as a citizen, stems from many years of professional involvement in public education and in teacher preparation, with special emphasis on the place of religion in the schools. My work at Teachers College includes responsibility for offering courses in religion and education, and in supervising the work of graduate students who wish to become professionally competent in the problems of religion and education. My publications include several books dealing with these problems.
The manifest intent of the proposed amendment is to make it possible for public schools to include prayer as part of the school program, with official sanction, though without compulsion. The fundamental question, therefore, is whether or not prayer is an appropriate activity for official sponsorship in public education. The answer is surely, No. Prayer is an activity that belongs in the privacy of one's own chamber or in the worship of the religious congregation. The pupils in a public school are not a religious congregation, the school is not a church, and may not properly assume the role of the church.
It is entirely contrary to the established tradition of American society for government to make provision for religious worship. It is up to voluntary associations of religious people to make such provisions. The religious covenant in America has wisely been kept separate and distinct from the political covenant, and it is of great importance that this separation be maintained. Under the American way religion has greatly prospered, and government has been preserved from ecclesiastical interference.
The proposed amendment would clearly allow public facilities to be used for sectarian religious purposes. It makes no difference that the praying would be voluntary. It would still be done in school time and on school premises and thus under public sponsorship and support. The government would thus become party to the religious covenant, contrary to the basic principle of American democracy that government is to remain neutral in matters of religion.
By making no provision for voluntary school prayers, the school in no wise limits religious freedom, since there are private institutions in which the praying may appropriately be done. If the school program were to include voluntary prayers, why should it not also include voluntary religious instruction in the tenets of particular sects, as well as the administration of ecclesiastical rites? Prayers are inescapably sectarian, and presuppose a particular religious commitment, which government may not endorse, even through only allowing school time, space, and facilities.
The fact is that the exclusion of prayers from public education does not in the least deny religion an appropriate place in the public school program. There is