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I am requesting that this testimony be made part of the hearing record.
Your support of these principles will be appreciated.
With every good wish, I remain,



Regional Director.


U.S. CONFERENCE OF MAYORS, Washington, D.C., August 9, 1966.

Chairman, Constitutional Amendments Subcommittee,
Senate Judiciary Committee, Washington, D.C.

DEAR MR. CHAIRMAN: On June 15 the United States Conference of Mayors in Conference assembled endorsed Senate Joint Resolution No. 148 "To Permit Voluntary Participation in Prayer in Public Schools." A copy of the Conference of Mayors' resolution is attached hereto. We had previously filed a copy of the resolution with Senator Dirksen, sponsor of the Senate joint resolution. Among those who most articulately supported the position approved by the Mayors was the Mayor of the City of Camden, New Jersey, the Honorable Alfred R. Pierce.

Mayor Pierce has set forth his views in support of the Conference position in a letter. We respectfully request that my letter, the resolution, and Mayor Pierce's letter be made a part of the hearings on this matter.

Sincerely yours,

Executive Director.



Whereas, Senator Everett M. Dirksen and others have proposed, in Senate Joint Resolution 148, an amendment to the United States Constitution "to permit vlountary participation in prayer in public schools:" Now, therefore be it Resolved, That the U.S. Conference of Mayors supports this proposal.

August 8, 1966.

Executive Director,

U.S. Conference of Mayors,
Washington, D.C.

Dear Mr. GunTHER: On behalf of the U.S. Conference of Mayors, I submit the following argument in support of Resolution No. 21, adopted by the U.S. Conference of Mayors at its Annual Conference in Dallas, Texas on June 15th. 1966, in support of Senate Joint Resolution #148 "To permit voluntary participation in prayer in public schools."

This resolution, as disclosed by the record of the Conference, touched off one of the most spirited and strongest debates witnessed by Mayors in attendance. Critics of the Senator Dirksen resolution accurately predict that the introduction of his resolution will produce this kind of spirited debate.

The underlying opposition to the resolution appears to be more political than religious, in the sense that public officials are politically reluctant to take a position on such controversial matters whereby the voting affections of some people may be alienated.

The debate held before the U.S. Conference of Mayors indicated by a will of the majority that the matter of voluntary participation in prayer in public schools was one which should be submitted to the various States for their consideration in deciding whether or not to accept or reject the proposed constitutional amendment.

The Mayors who spoke were a cross-section of the people of this country. They represented various ethnic and religious groups as their constituents. As the Mayor of New Jersey's fourth largest city, and also as a political leader, the people within my area are a true melting pot of America.

There is no advantage politically to be either for or against. The advantage is to seek to do what is right. To show faith in the ability of the people of this country to govern themselves and to let the majority of the people decide what they prefer to have or not have in their Constitution, this is now a big part of this issue. The attempt to prevent a people to decide for themselves whether or not they wish to permit voluntary prayer expresses a moral though not legal disbelief in the right of people to make this decision.

As was stated at the U.S. Conference of Mayors, this country is approaching 200 years of prior experience of prayer in public schools, not voluntary, but as part of the law of the various States. During that entire time there was no establishment of any one religion, nor was there any serious threat of the same. The actual experience of the country has been that all faiths have thrived freely. For opponents of the Dirksen resolution to say that voluntary prayer would be dangerous to the country is ridiculous, particularly in the face of facts established by almost 200 years of actual practice.

To those of us who strongly support the right of the people through their State legislatures to choose or not choose this amendment is a fear that the judicial system can govern without the obligation of answering to the people; that it can establish law not in accordance with what the majority of the people desire, but can in fact establish law that only a few desire. We take issue with the result caused by the court decision. The removing from the school system of the worship of God in prayer was a monumental error. The people of this country do not want God removed from their government anymore than they want God removed from their homes and churches. They do not want an establishment of any one religion. They do not want the establishment of an atheistic society that seeks in every branch of government and every walk of life to drive out worship and faith under which we have been born and raised and lived as free men, all of us. We know that our system works, that man can be free here, that they can be atheist, they can be agnostics, because time has proved this to be true. To follow the practice as established by the court is the real danger to the country and our people.

It is a strange coincidence that since this monumental decision throughout this country there has been turmoil and strife. Now is the time to reexamine our purposes and our goals. As a Mayor I strongly support the U.S. Conference of Mayors in approving Senate Joint Resolution No. 148.

Yours very truly,



(The following material was submitted as an appendix to the record by Senator Joseph Tydings:)


Introduction of the Bill of Rights into the first House.-A number of States, notably Massachusetts, ratified the Constitution only on the understanding that a bill of rights would be enacted and many supporters of the new government deemed such a bill necessary in order to placate fears that it might abuse individual rights.26 In January 1789, Madison expressed his opinion that the First Congress should submit to the States for ratification amendments securing

all essential rights, particularly the rights of Conscience in
the fullest latitude *** 27

Thus, on the eve of the convening of the First Congress, Madison affirmed his belief (1) that Constitutional protection of the "rights of conscience" was of paramount importance and (2) that such rights should be afforded complete protection "in [their] fullest latitude." Accordingly, on June 8, 1789, Madison introduced in the House of Representatives in the First Congress a proposed bill of rights which he urged Congress to submit to the state legislatures for ratification.28 In his speech introducing the amendments,29 Madison submitted eight proposed amendments. His fourth proposal contained the elements of what is now the first amendment.30 This amendment would have inserted in article 1, section 9, of the Constitution, the following language:

The civil rights of none shall be abridged on account of religious belief or worship, nor shall any national religion be established, nor shall the full and equal rights of conscience be in any manner, or on any pretext, infringed.

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In his speech accompanying the introduction of the amendments, Madison described "rights of conscience" as one of the "choicest privileges of the people." He added that his proposals were designed to secure those rights against "the community itself; or, in other words, against the majority in favor of the minority." 32" On this point, he elaborated:

*** I confess that I do conceive, that in a Government modified like this of the United States, the great danger les rather in the abuse of the community than in the legislative body. The prescriptions in favor of liberty ought to be leveled against that quarter where the greatest danger lies, namely, that which possesses the highest prerogative of power. But this is not found in either the executive or legislative departments of government, but in the body of the people, operating by the majority against the minority.33


Id., at 319, footnote, (letter to George Eve, Jan. 2, 1789). [Emphasis supplied.] In this, Madison was apparently moved by very practical considerations. As a candidate for the first House of Representatives he was being attacked as opposed to any change in the Constitution, and, as a supporter of Federalism, he believed that a new convention to alter the Constitution, as some proposed, would be disastrous. Ibid; see also id. at 309.

1 ANNALS OF CONGRESS 440-460 (Gales and Seaton, 1834).

The speech is found in 1 ANNALS OF CONCRESS, at 448-460, and in 5 WRITINGS OF MADISON 370–389. Subsequent references to the speech are made only to the WRITINGS.

WRITINGS., at 377.

11 Id., at 380.

11 Id., at 381.

" Id., at 382.

Addressing himself to the effectiveness of the proposed Bill of Rights, Madison declared:

If they [the amendments] are incorporated into the Constitution, independent tribunals of justice will consider themselves in a peculiar manner the guardians of those rights; they will be an impenetrable bulwark against every assumption of power in the Legislative or Executive; they will be naturally led to resist every encroachment upon rights expressly stipulated for in the Constitution by the declaration of rights.


House debate on the establishment clause.-There was considerable opposition in the first House to consideration of amendments to the Constitution, many Members feeling that the Congress should get on with the business of organizing the government, and exercising the panoply of powers conferred upon the Congress, before proceeding to alter the Constitution's basic framework.35 Others, notably Madison, pressed for prompt consideration of the amendments.30

Following Madison's introduction of his proposed Bill of Rights and his continued appeals for action on the proposal," the House on July 21, 1789, ordered the amendments referred to a select committee of 11 members, consisting of 1 member from each State. Madison was made a member of this committee.3 38

On August 13, 1789, the House resolved itself into a Committee of the Whole to consider the report of the select committee, and on August 15 the Members came to debate the language which the select committee recommended concerning religious establishments and freedom of conscience.39 The committee had simplified and broadened Madison's original language somewhat, proposing an amendment to article I, section 9 of the Constitution, reading:

No religion shall be established by law, nor shall the equal rights of conscience be infringed.40

In the short debate which followed, Representative Sylvester expressed fear that the clause might tend to the abolition of religion altogether, contrary to the intent of the committee."1

Representative Elbridge Gerry, of Massachusetts, suggested, on the other hand, that the amendment "would read better if it was, that no religious doctrine should be established by law." "2

Representative Daniel Carroll, of Maryland, then made a number of remarks, reported as follows:

As the rights of conscience are, in their nature, of peculiar delicacy, and will little bear the gentlest touch of governmental hand; and as many sects have concurred in opinion that they are not well secured under the present constitution, he said he was much in favor of adopting the words. He thought it would tend more toward conciliating the minds of

34 Id., at 385.

35 See 1 ANNALS OF CONGRESS 440-448, 460–468 (session of June 8, 1789) (Gales and Seaton, 1834). 36 Id., at 444-446, 448-449.

87 Id., at 459, 685 (July 21, 1789).

38 Id., at 690-691. On June 8, the House had voted to refer the matter to a Committee of the Whole. M at 467-468. The July 21 vote discharged this committee and referred the Madison proposals to the select committee.

" Id., at 730-734; 757-759.

40 Id., at 757.

41 Ibid.

Id., at 757.

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