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The Court's historical review of the quarrels over the Book of Common Prayer in England throws no light for me on the issue before us in this case. England had then and has now an established church. Equally unenlightening, I think, is the history of the early establishment and later rejection of an official church in our own States. For we deal here not with the establishment of a state church, which would, of course, be constitutionally impermissible, but with whether school children who want to begin their day by joining in prayer must be prohibited from doing so. Moreover, I think that the Court's task, in this as in all areas of constitutional adjudication, is not responsibly aided by the uncritical invocation of metaphors like the "wall of separation," a phrase nowhere to be found in the Constitution. What is relevant to the issue here is not the history of an established church in sixteenth century England or in eighteenth century America, but the history of the religious traditions of our people, reflected in countless practices of the institutions and officials of our government.

At the opening of each day's Session of this Court we stand, while one of our officials invokes the protection of God. Since the days of John Marshall our Crier has said, “God save the United States and this Honorable Court.” 1 Both the Senate and the House of Representatives open their daily Sessions with prayer." Each of our Presidents, from George Washington to John F. Kennedy, has upon assuming his Office asked the protection and help of God.3

1 See Warren, The Supreme Court in United States History, Vol. 1, p. 469.

2 See Rule III, Senate Manual, s. Doc. No. 2, 87th Cong., 1st Sess. See Rule VII, Rules of the House of Representatives, H.R. Doc. No. 459, 86th Cong., 2d Sess.

3 For example :
On April 30, 1789, President George Washington said :

it would be peculiarly improper to omit in this first official act my fervent supplications to that Almighty Being who rules over the universe, who presides in the councils of nations, and whose providential aids can supply every human defect, that His benediction may consecrate to the liberties and happiness of the people of the United States a Government instituted by themselves for these essential purposes, and may enable every instrument employed in its administration to execute with success the functions allotted to His charge. In tendering this homage to the Great Author of every public and private good, I assure myself that it expresses your sentiments not less than my own, nor those of my fellow-citizens at large less than either. No people can be bound to acknowledge and adore the Invisible Hand which conducts the affairs of men more than those of the United States.

"Having thus imparted to you my sentiments as they have been awakened by the occasion which brings us together, I shall take my present leave; but not without resorting once more to the benign Parent of the Human Race in humble supplication that, since He has been pleased to favor the American people with opportunities for deliberating in perfect tranquility, and dispositions for deciding with unparalleled unanimity on a form of government for the security of their union and the advancement of their happiness, so His devine blessing may be equally conspicuous in the enlarged views, the temperate consultations, and the wise measures on which the success of this Government must depend.”

On March 4, 1797, President John Adams said :

"And may that Being who is supreme over all, the Patron of Order, the Fountain of Justice, and the Protector in all ages of the world of virtuous liberty, continue His blessing upon this nation and its Government and give it all possible success and duration consistent with the ends of His providence."

On March 4, 1805, President Thomas Jefferson said :

"I shall need, too, the favor of that Being in whose hands we are, who led our fathers, as Israel of old, from their native land and planted them in a country flowing with all the necessaries and comforts of life; who has covered our infancy with His providence and our riper years with His wisdom and power, and to whose goodness I ask you to join in supplications with me that He will so enlighten the minds of your servants, guide their councils, and prosper their measures that whatsoever they do shall result in your good, and shall secure to you the peace, friendship, and approbation of all nations."

On March 4, 1809, President James Madison said : "But the source to which I look

is in my fellow-citizens, and in the counsels of those representing them in the other departments associated in the care of the national interests. In these my confidence will under every difficulty be best placed, next to that which we have all been encouraged to feel in the guardianship and guidance of that Almighty Being whose power regulates the destiny of nations, whose blessings have been so conspicuously dispensed to this rising Republic, and to whom we are bound to address our devout gratitude for the past as well as our fervent supplications and best hopes for the future."

On March 4, 1865, President Abraham Lincoln said :

"Fondly do we hope, fervently do we pray, that this mighty scourge of war may speedily pass away. Yes, if God wills that it continue until all the wealth piled by the bondsman's two hundred and fifty years of unrequited toil shall be sunk, and until every drop of blood drawn with the lash shall be paid by another drawn with the sword, as was said three thousands years ago, so still it must be said 'the judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether.

“With malice toward none, with charity for all, with firmness in the right as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in, to bind up the nation's wounds, to care for him who shall have borne the battle and for his widow and his



The Court today says that the state and federal governments are without constitutional power to prescribe any particular form of words to be recited by any group of the American people on any subject touching religion. The third stanza of “The Star-Spangled Banner,” made our National Anthem by Act of Congress in 1931, contains these verses :

"Blest with vict'ry and peace, may the heav'n rescued land

Praise the Pow'r that hath made and preserved us a nation!
Then conquer we must, when our cause it is just,

And this be our motto 'In God is our Trust.' In 1954 Congress added a phrase to the Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag so that it now contains the words “one Nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.” • In 1952 Congress enacted legislation calling upon the President each year to proclaim a National Day of Prayer.? Since 1864 the words "IN GOD WE TRUST" have been impressed on our coins.s

Countless similar examples could be listed, but there is no need to belabor the obvious. It was all summed up by this Court just ten years ago in a single sentence: "We are a religious people whose institutions presuppose a Supreme Being.” Zorach v. Clauson, 343 U.S. 306, 313.

I do not believe that this Court, or the Congress, or the President has by the actions and practices I have mentioned established an “official religion" in violation of the Constitution. And I do not believe the State of New York has done so in this case. What each has done has been to recognize and to follow the deeply entrenched and highly cherished spiritual traditions of our Nationtraditions which come down to us from those who almost two hundred years ago avowed their “firm reliance on the Protection of Divine Providence" when they proclaimed the freedom and independence of this brave new world."

I dissent.

Senator JOHNSTON. Widespread public interest has followed the rendition of the prayer decision in the Engel case. Since the introduction of the before described resolutions and the notification of hear

orphan, to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace among ourselves and with all nations."

On March 4, 1885, President Grover Cleveland said:

"And let us not trust to human effort alone, but humbly acknowledging the power and goodness of Almighty God, who presides over the destiny of nations, and who has at all times been revealed in our country's history, let us invoke His aid and His blessing upon our labors."

On March 5, 1917, President Woodrow Wilson said:

“I pray God I may be given the wisdom and the prudence to do my duty in the true spirit of this great people."

On March 4, 1933, President Franklin D. Roosevelt said :

“In this dedication of a Nation we humbly ask the blessing of God. May he protect each and every one of us. May he guide me in the days to come.”

On January 21, 1957, President Dwight D. Eisenhower said :

''Before all else, we seek, upon our common labor as a nation, the blessings of Almighty God. And the hopes in our hearts fashion the deepest prayers of our whole people.”

On January 20, 1961, President John F. Kennedy said :

“The world is very different now. . And yet the same revolutionary beliefs for which our forebears fought are still at issue around the globe-the belief that the rights of man come not from the generosity of the state, but from the hand of God.

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"With a good conscience our only sure reward, with history the final judge of our deeds, let us go forth to lead the land we love, asking His blessing and His help, but knowing that here on earth God's work must truly be our own."

4 My brother DOUGLAS says that the only question before us is whether government “can constitutionally finance a religious exercise." The official chaplains of Congress are paid with public money. So are military chaplains. So are state and federal prison chaplains.

5 36 U.S.C. $ 170. 6 36 U.S.C. § 172. 7 36 U.S.C. $ 185.

8 13 Stat. 517, 518; 17 Stat. 427 ; 35 Stat. 164 ; 69 Stat. 290. The current provisions are embodied in 31 U.S.C. $$ 324, 324a.

9 I am at a loss to understand the Court's unsupported ipse dixit that these official expressions of religious faith in and reliance upon a Supreme Being "bear no true resemblance to the unquestioned religious exercise that the State of New York has sponsored in this instance." See p. 8, supra, n. 21. I can hardly think that the Court means to say that the First Amendment imposes a lesser restriction upon the Federal Government than does the Fourteenth Amendment upon the States. Or is the Court suggesting that the Constitution permits judges and Congressmen and Presidents to join in prayer, but prohibits school children from doing so?

10 The Declaration of Independence ends with this sentence: "And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the Protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor."


ings thereon, a great number of organizations and individuals have indicated their desire to be heard on the issue involved. It is the desire of this committee to hear as many of these witnesses as is possible. If it develops that it is impossible to hear all of them, they will be permitted to file with the committee written statements expressing their views which will appear as a part of the record. Every witness will be required to submit in advance a brief prepared statement, and it is desired that the contents of this statement be summarized orally in a time period that will not exceed 15 minutes.

We are pleased to have with us today our colleagues in the Senate who are prepared to give their testimony in regard to one or another of the proposed resolutions.

I believe that the first witness we have is Senator John Stennis, of Mississippi.

Senator KEATING. May I make a short statement ?
Senator JOHNSTON. You certainly may.




Senator KEATING. Mr. Chairman, the Supreme Court's decision invalidating the New York public school prayer was handed down exactly 1 month ago yesterday. In that period, 7,203 people in my State have written to me protesting the Court's ruling. A much smaller but substantial number, 256, advised me that they strongly oppose any attempt to alter the decision.

I might add just this morning I have been presented with two petitions on this subject. The first petition was presented to me by Mr. H. Joseph Mahoney in behalf of the Young Americans for Freedom, Inc. It contains the signatures of 12,351 citizens of Westchester County and neighboring areas in support of an amendment to reverse the decision of the Supreme Court.

The second petition, which was personally presented to me this morning, by Mayor Gibbons of the village of Tuckahoe and surrounding areas, strongly protests the decision of the Supreme Court.

I would like to request, Mr. Chairman, that the text of these petitions, as well as the text of the resolution adopted by the Council of the City of Yonkers, N.Y., in support of an amendment to invalidate the Court's decision, be printed in the record of these hearings following my opening statement and that the petitions and the signatures be filed as part of the committee's record of these proceedings, but not printed therein.

Senator JOHNSTON. There being no opposition from members of the committee, they shall be made a part of the record and as requested the others be made a part of the files of the committee.

(The petition of the Young Americans for Freedom, Inc., follows:)

Young Americans for Freedom, Inc.
Dated July 25, 1962.
Petition to the Government of the United States of America.

We, the undersigned, protest the ruling of the Supreme Court of the United States that the recitation of the nondenominational New York State Board of Regents authorized prayer in public schools is unconstitutional.

The wording of article I of the Bill of Rights of the Constitution of the United States reads as follows:

“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof."

Whereas the regents' prayer is nondenominational;

Whereas it does not purport to establish a religion and simply acknowledges the existence of God;

Whereas, the U.S. Supreme Court, in effect, by its ruling, is prohibiting the free exercise of the right of our children and educators to pray in a public place; and

Whereas the right to pray is an integral part of our American heritage: Now, therefore, it is our intent to make known to the Supreme Court of the United States and to the President of the United States that we cannot accept this obvious distortion of our sacred Constitution; and further, that we intend to pursue our cause until the above decision is reversed or a corrective constitutional amendment instituted.

(Resolution 555, dated 1962, follows:) By Councilman O'Neill:

Whereas a recent decision of the Supreme Court of the United States of America ruled against invocation of prayer in the public school system which invokes the name of God;

Whereas in the opinion of this Common Council of the City of Yonkers, in meeting assembled, this decision violates the basic precept upon which this Nation was founded ; and

Whereas if this decision is allowed to remain as a valid concept of our Government the spiritual-and therefore integral-principles of our way of life then become meaningless and without foundation : Now, therefore, be it

Resolved, That the members of the Common Council of the City of Yonkers, representing the vastly overwhelming majority of the people of this city, do hereby petition our representatives in Washington to prepare, submit, and pass the necessary amendments to our Constitution to invalidate this current ruling of the U.S. Supreme Court; and be it further

Resolved, That copies of this resolution be sent to U.S. Senators Jacob K. Javits and Kenneth Keating, to Congressman Robert R. Barry, to Congressman Emanuel Celler, chairman of the House Committee on the Judiciary, and to John F. Kennedy, President of the United States. Adopted : July 5, 1962.

JOHN S. MAHER, City Clerk. THE VILLAGE OF TUCKAHOE. (The petition follows:) We, the undersigned citizens of the United States of America, hereby call upon the President and Congress of the United States of America to proceed as rapidly as possible to amend the Constitution of the said United States of America to provide a positive and unchallengeable guarantee that every American citizen has the right to a belief in God and to practice the worship of God at such times and in such places as he may desire.

We further advocate the immediate institution of proceedings to impeach and remove those Justices of the U.S. Supreme Court whose recent decision outlawed the free practice of voluntary worship of God in the schools of the State of New York.

In witness whereof, we have placed our hands this 18th day of July 1962.

Senator KEATING. I always welcome the views of my constituents, as I know do all members. I am disturbed in this case, however, by the bitter and highly emotional character of many of the letters I have received on both sides of the issue. Without question, the Court's ruling has had a very divisive effect on the American community, has stirred deep and virulent emotions and engendered a clamor of confused and dangerous proposals.

There is a certain irony in this reaction. Mr. Justice Douglas, in his concurring opinion in the school prayer case, indicates that the philosophy of the first amendment is that "if government interferes

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in matters spiritual, it will be a divisive force.” It is evident, however, that the Court decision which he justified on this basis has been far more divisive than the practice it struck down.

The confusion which this decision has caused both among those who agree and disagree with its reasoning, is understandable. The Supreme Court's prior interpretations of the first amendment have not been a model of consistency. But in past years, the Court has held that there was no conflict between the first amendment and the transportation of students to religious or parochial schools at public expense, or the release of children during the regular school day for religious instruction. These past decisions have rejected the view that state and religion need be "aliens to each other-hostile, suspicious, and even unfriendly."

In the Zorach case, which upheld the New York released time system, the majority opinion declared: We are a religious people whose institutions presuppose a Supreme Being.

The Court went on to saywe find no constitutional requirement which makes it necessary for government to be hostile to religion and to throw its weight against efforts to widen the effective scope of religious influence.

It is difficult to reconcile such statements with a determination that the recital of a concededly nondenominational prayer under what were conceded to be noncompulsory conditions, violates the prohibition in the first amendment against the establishment of a religion. This difficulty is enhanced by the admission in Justice Black's opinion for the majority that the New York regent's prayerdoes not amount to a total establishment of one particular religious sect to the exclusion of all others and by the even more candid statement in Justice Douglas' concurring opinion, in which he says:

I cannot say that to authorize this prayer is to establish a religion in the strictly historic meaning of those words. There is furthermore great uncertainty as to the reach of this deci

In a footnote to the majority opinion, Justice Black states: There is, of course, nothing in the decision reached here that is inconsistent with the fact that schoolchildren and others are officially encouraged to express love for our country by reciting historical documents such as the Declaration of Independence which contain references to the Deity or by singing officially espoused anthems which include the composer's professions of faith in a Supreme Being, or with the fact that there are many manifestations in our public life of belief in God.

This suggests that the only vice in the New York school prayer is that it was composed by the State board of regents—even though this was for the purpose of assuring its nondenominational character and this in consultation with clergymen of all faiths.

Justice Douglas' opinion, on the other hand, states that it would make no difference if a different prayer were said every day or if the ministers of the community rotated, each giving his own prayer. Indeed, he indicates that the principles of the majority decision, in which he concurred, would invalidate every reference to religion in governmental activities, including the marshal's supplication at the beginning of every session of the Supreme Court="God save the United States and this honorable Court."



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