Imagini ale paginilor

Mr. Dowdy. I hope and trust, and, I dare to say, I pray that this honorable committee will take early action in the premises, that our children in our schools may again be permitted to voluntarily participate in uttering a prayer to our Creator.

Senator HART. Congressman, again the record will show the interest that you have shown here.

May I ask, in your district, are there prayers in a school?

Mr. DowDY. I, of course, have about 100 school districts in my district, but if there is one of them that does not use a prayer sometime during the day I am not aware of it.

Do I make that clear? If there is one that does not use a prayer, I am not aware of it.

Senator HART. How is the choice made? What are the mechanics? Mr. DowDY. Well, it will vary from school district to school district. Some of them, the uttering of a prayer is done among the schoolchildren. Others are rotated; ministers from the town coming into the chapel service and sometimes the teachers themselves will do it. There is no set rule for that.

Senator HART. Thank you very much, Congressman Dowdy.
This concludes the list of witnesses to be heard today.

The committee will adjourn until the call of the Chair.

(Whereupon, at 12:35 p.m., the committee adjourned subject to the call of the Chair.)


Mr. Chairman and members of the committee, I appreciate this opportunity to contribute a statement for the record. I wish, at this time, to associate myself with the remarks that have been made by my colleagues in the House of Representatives, Hon. Eugene Siler, Hon. Clifford G. McIntire, Hon. O. C. Fisher, and Hon. Victor Wickersham.

As one of the sponsors of the proposed Christian amendment, which was approved by the Judiciary Committee in 1954, and which has been introduced in this Congress by nine Members from eight different States, I would like at this time to again urge upon your committee that they favorably report this measure.

Washington, D.C., July 25, 1962.

Chairman, Judiciary Committee,
U.S. Senate, Washington, D.C.

DEAR COLLEAGUE: Pursuant to request from your committee that I testify, personally, before the committee in behalf of my House Joint Resolution 770, I am enclosing a statement which I would appreciate if you would have inserted in the record of the hearing on this issue brought forth by the decision of the Supreme Court to ban prayers in public schools.

I am, unfortunately, unable to attend in person, as I am leaving this afternoon for Nevada, and expect to be gone for about a week or so, for I would most certainly have liked to present my views in support of my resolution personally.

With kind regards, I am,


WALTER S. BARING, Congressman for Nevada.

On and on we might go, quoting from the leaders who have made this country great, all to show that the Supreme Court has made a most radical departure from the course on which this Nation was set by its Founding Fathers.

The decision must be interpreted in the light of the opinion of the Supreme Court of New York reported in 191 NYS, 2d, page 453. The school authorities were following the same practice of opening their schools with prayer for 120 years. Strange that none of the great lawyers of that State, such as Root, Hughes, and Cardozo, saw fit to try to stop such an illegal practice.

In 1951, the board of regents, corresponding to our State board of education, recommended that the little prayer in controversy be said in connection with the Pledge of Allegiance to the flag, "as an act of reverence to God."

The school board of New York adopted the recommendation in 1958, but unfortunately worded their resolution in mandatory terms with the statement "that the regents' prayer be said daily in our schools," with the direction "to the district principal that this be instituted as a daily procedure to follow the salute to the flag."

We think it fairly evident that the school board as well as the Court recognized that a prayer could not be forced on anyone as an officially directed prayer, compulsory on all. Looking at the 120-year-long history of prayers in New York schools, and the numerous rulings thereon to the effect that they could not be required either in recitation or attendance, it is unthinkable that the school board ever intended it other than as permissive. At any rate the Court held : "That while the board may authorize, it may not require the saying of the prayer in question, but that if it does so, it must bring the authorization to the attention of the parents of children in the schools, establish a procedure for excusing nonparticipation, not only from saying the prayer but from the room, if they so elect, and take affirmative steps to protect the religious freedom of both nonparticipants and participants" (id. 463).

Now this is in strict accord with the century-long policy of New York, and it is the policy outlawed by the Supreme Court. A lot is said about the prayer having been composed by governmental officials. The record doesn't say who composed it. The regents merely recommended it. But suppose they did. Are we going to say that the prayers of Presidents Roosevelt and Eisenhower above referred to were unconstitutional merely because they were composed by the highest officials?

The Court says its action is not hostile to religion. The Court must expect the American people to interpret this statement in the light of its action in the Everson, McCollum, Sunday Closing, Official Oath cases, all pointing to the fact that the Court is going in the Ingersoll direction.

The decision of the Court may be a blessing in disguise. It may be that it will stir the people of this Nation to reexamine its foundation and cause a rededication to the principles which have made it great. Justice Potter Stewart wrote a short but unanswerable dissenting opinion which we would do well to study. It may point the way. That a reversal of the Court's opinion is not impossible is shown by the case of Gobitis v. West Virginia. There the Supreme Court had held that a little child of the Jehovah Witnesses might be expelled from school because it refused on religious grounds to salute the flag as a part of the school exercises during World War I.

There was one lone disssenter in that case, the eminent Justice Harlan F. Stone, who later became Chief Justice. He stood out against every member of the Court in showing that the decision was wrong and abridged the child's religious freedom. A few short months worked a great change. One of the Justices died; others changed their opinions, and within a little more than 1 year the same question came before the Court in the case of Barnett v. West Virginia, and this time the Court reversed itself and followed the dissenting opinion of Justice Stone. Let us hope that the storm of opposition in this case may persuade the Court to reexamine Justice Stewart's dissenting opinion.

If the Supreme Court continues to travel the pathway of Bob Ingersoll and his associates as outlined above, we do not doubt that it will cause a tremendous increase in parochial schools of all of the denominations and that they will grow to the extent of possibly undermining the public school system itself. Having their children grow up in humble recognition of the existence of an all-powerful Supreme Being who directs all of our ways of life is something dearer to the people than even the public school system itself.

[blocks in formation]



On June 28, I introduced House Joint Resolution 770 to amend the U.S. Constitution so as to allow prayers to be offered in the course of any program in any public school or other public place in the United States, in opposition to the recent decision by the Supreme Court to ban prayers in schools.

Although over one-third of the world's population may be enslaved to communism, there is no reason why America should ever fall under its domination. We are told in the Scriptures that "one with God is a majority"-our Nation, under God, has the power to withstand and overcome the enemy, if our people will arouse themselves, and if they will rise to the occasion.

Through praise and thanksgiving to God for the blessings which we now enjoy, through faith in the promises of God to His people, and through courage to act upon these promises, we have the mightiest weapons known to man to bring about our deliverance. Herein lies our strength and our protection, faith in God is America's secret weapon, and it is a defense which cannot be equaled by the efforts of a godless enemy.

HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, Washington, D.C., July 25, 1962.


Chairman, Senate Committee on the Judiciary,
Washington, D.C.

DEAR SENATOR EASTLAND: I am enclosing a statement which I would like to have included in the hearings before your committee on Thursday, July 26, with reference to the recent Supreme Court ruling on prayer.

With kindest regards, I am,

Sincerely yours,

Member of Congress.


Mr. Chairman, I first want to express my appreciation to this distinguished committee for arranging these hearings on a number of resolutions which have been introduced as a result of the Supreme Court decision of June 25, holding that the use of voluntary prayer in the schools is unconstitutional, especially if those prayers were suggested by a board of education or other State organizations. I wish to speak briefly in regard to a proposed Christian amendment to the Constitution which I have introduced, along with a number of other Members of Congress from both Houses.

The amendment reads as follows:

"SECTION 1. This Nation devoutly recognizes the authority and law of Jesus Christ, Saviour and Ruler of nations, through whom are bestowed the blessings of Almighty God.

"SEC. 2. This amendment shall not be interpreted so as to result in the establishment of any particular ecclesiastical organization, or in the abridgment of the rights of religious freedom, or freedom of speech or press, or peaceful assemblage. "SEC. 3. Congress shall have power in such cases as it may deem proper to provide a suitable oath or affirmation for citizens whose religious scruples prevent them from giving unqualified allegiance to the Constitution as herein amended." The addition of this amendment would put our Nation on an undeniable Christian foundation, and when the Supreme Court would be called upon to make decisions, such as in the New York School case, there would be no question.

This proposed amendment has been introduced over 40 times in the last several Congresses; at least 10 times in this 87th Congress. A hearing was held in the Senate on this bill in 1954, and it received favorable action from the Judiciary Committee, and was referred out to the floor for discussion and action. Due to the shortness of time before adjournment, it was not brought up on the floor. In the House there has never been a hearing, though a hearing has been called for, and urged by many interested Congressmen and citizens of this country.

The importance of this resolution, the need for its adoption, is seen in the way our Nation is more and more divorcing God from everything that has to do with the state, yet the state is just as much an institution of God, as is the church, or the home. The state is not a stock, or a tree, or an animal. It settles moral

problems problems relative to murder, divorce, theft, adultery, gambling, and so forth-and it must settle the greatest of all moral problems, "What shall the United States of America do with Jesus who is called the Christ?" And on the basis on which our Nation answers that question she lives or dies.

Supposing the Christian amendment had been a reality, when this New York case was up, and the Supreme Court had said that voluntary prayers in the schoolrooms of America, prepared by a board of regents was appropriate, would that have made the prayers any less voluntary? Christ does not force anyone against his will, and neither would a true Christian state.

Today, in America, we face many many foes, both within and without our Nation.

Russia boasts of her atheism. We in America do not boast of it, we just act to put God out of the very institution which needs Him most.

I urge, as one very direct answer to our problems the adoption of the Christian amendment. The adoption of this amendment will not lay all the track, but it will point the way in which our Nation intends to go. It will give us a better foundation upon which to build.


Mr. Chairman, I wish to express my appreciation for the privilege of being invited to present some of my views on the subject of prayer in public schools in general, and Senate Joint Resolution 205, of which I am a cosponsor, in particular.

First I should like to make clear that I do not question the interpretation of the Constitution given by the Supreme Court in their recent decision. In fact, I fully endorse their right to function in this capacity. My principal concern is with the fact that our basic law is so written that it can be construed to restrict prayer in public schools and other exercises of worship or references to Deity. The resolution which is being considered represents what I feel to be the proper approach in correcting this shortcoming. For here the people have the opportunity to decide through their legislatures whether periods can be set aside in the Nation's public schools for voluntary, nonsectarian prayer.

The most important feature of this resolution is that it proposes to make prayer in the public schools purely voluntary and on a strictly nonsectarian basis. Of equal importance is the right of the individual school to decide that it shall have no prayer at all, and more importantly, the right of individual pupils to participate or remain silent, because the right to believe is as important as the right not to believe in a government such as ours which places no restraints upon individual conscience or spiritual convictions.

If the amendment suggested in Senate Joint Resolution 205 is not adopted I am fearful that future decisions may lead to confusing and destructive results. A view could easily be created that this is a godless country, even though we have consistently relied upon the importance of spiritual guidance. Surely we would not wish to see a prohibition placed upon the use of public funds in whole or in part for religious practices at our Military Academies and other governmental functions. Indeed it is feared by some that eventual change in the patriotic pledge of allegiance and a deletion of words on our national coinage might conceivably follow.

I am certain that the Founding Fathers who wisely decided upon a strict seperation of church and state never envisioned the exclusion of our acknowledgement of God from public places and institutions. So I, therefore, believe favorable consideration of the resolution would be a necessary and useful decision.


As is known by the members of this committee, I have joined with several other Members of the Senate in sponsoring a proposed amendment to the Federal Constitution which would remove all doubt as to constitutionality of prayer in public schools.

As Members of Congress and as citizens of the United States we recognize the subject matter as one that is controversial. Yet, I believe the proposed amendment and the various resolutions before your honorable subcommittee would eliminate the controversial features and remove all doubt as to permission for voluntary recognition of and submission to the Supreme Being.

« ÎnapoiContinuă »