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ment that you will conduct hearings to amend the Constitution and reduce the power and influence of our Bill of Rights is difficult to understand.
The President's suggestion that the Supreme Court's decision on the New York State regents' prayer in the public schools would stimulate a better appreciation of the responsibility that the home and the church bear, is indeed true. Several of my friends have begun to say a prayer of thanks each morning at home with their family as they recognize that the law of the land does not permit a government institution to coerce such activity. Religion is thus strengthened in the home where it flourishes best.
The Judiciary Committee might properly hold hearings which would help us understand the true service of the Supreme Court's decision toward religious freedom and the support of the Bill of Rights. It is regrettable that your hearings would provide a platform for those who would make a mockery of religious freedom and who have little use for the traditions which stem from the Supreme Court's decision upholding this great document in our Constitution.
I would appreciate it if you would make this letter part of the record of the hearings you plan to begin July 26. Sincerely yours,
ATLANTA, GA., July 25, 1692. Senator JAMES 0. EASTLAND, Chairman, Senate Judiciary Committee, Senate Office Building, Washington, D.C.:
The Community Relations Committee of the Atlanta Jewish Community Council wishes to go on record endorsing the decision of the U.S. Supreme Court in the New York Regents' Prayer case. We believe that this decision safeguards individual rights and separation of church and state. We are opposed to any proposed constitutional amendments which would tamper with the basic American doctrine of religious liberty which was conceived by our Founding Fathers and made a part of our cherished American freedom. We request that this statement be made part of the record of the public hearing of the Judiciary Committee.
MAX M. CUBA, Chairman.
HARTFORD, CONN., July 25, 1692. Senator JAMES 0. EASTLAND, U.S. Senate, Washington, D.C.:
The Community Relations Committee of the Hartford Jewish Federation is opposed to all constitutional amendments designed to overturn the Supreme Court decision in the Regents' Prayer case. We feel that these proposed amendments represent an attack on both the Bill of Rights and Supreme Court. These constitutional safeguards have protected the liberties of all Americans for more than 175 years. In addition we are convinced that the decision is a fair and just one on its merits. We respectfully request that this telegram be made part of the hearings of the Judiciary Committee.
HARRY SILVERSTONE, Chairman.
JEWISH COMMUNITY RELATIONS COMMITTEE
Cincinnati, Ohio, July 21, 1962.
MY DEAR SENATOR EASTLAND: The Jewish Community Relations Committee is deeply concerned to learn of your plans to begin hearings on a series of resolutions designed to invalidate the Supreme Court's recent School Prayer decision.
The Jewish Community Relations Committee has instructed me to inform you of our official position in reference to the U.S. Supreme Court decision concerned with the school prayer promulgated by the New York Board of Regents.
The Jewish Community Relations Committee, which reflects a cross section of opinion in the Jewish community, has carefully and deliberately studied the decision of the U.S. Supreme Court in Engel v. Vitale, and has adopted the following resolution :
"The Cincinnati Jewish Community Relations Committee endorses the recent decision of the U.S. Supreme Court in the Engel v. Vitale case which seeks to make 'high and impregnable' the wall of separation between church and state.
“This committee believes :
“(a) That prayer is a sacred and personal act and that religion with its many faiths has flourished freely and peacefully in America principally because adherence is voluntary and free of governmental interference;
“(6) That this decision has reinforced a basic American tradition inaugurated by our Founding Fathers, who insisted that religion was not the business of government;
“(c) That since our highest Court has ruled, its decision should be respected ;
“(d) That Americans will recognize that, in the long run, this decision is a victory for religion and for religious freedom, and will aid all beliefs. We welcome the statement of the President of the United States that this ruling should remind 'every American family that we can pray a good deal more at home, we can attend our churches' [and synagogues] 'with a good deal more fidelity, and we can make the true meaning of prayer much more important in the lives of all of our children.''
It was the considered judgment of the Jewish Community Relations Committee that this expression of our view should be made available to you in the light of the proposed hearing and to make known our opposition to such resolutions in order to continue to assure our basic freedoms and the integrity of our Supreme Court. Respectfully,
CHARLES POSNER, Executive Director.
PROTESTANTS AND OTHER AMERICANS UNITED
Washington, D.C., July 20, 1962.
MY DEAR SENATOR EASTLAND: We understand that you have scheduled a hearing regarding the recent Supreme Court decision on the New York regents' prayer for next Thursday, July 26, 1962, in the Judiciary Committee room on the second floor of the New Senate Office Building for 10:30 a.m.
We would like to have the official statement of our organization incorporated
ADELE A. PORTER,
STATEMENT OF PROTESTANTS AND OTHER AMERICANS UNITED ON THE NEW YORK
PUBLIC SCHOOL PRAYER DECISION BY THE U.S. SUPREME COURT
Protestants and Other Americans United for the Separation of Church and State (a national organization with members in 38 denominational, fraternal, and educational associations) hailed the U.S. Supreme Court's decision on State prayers as a victory for church-state separation and a triumph for freedom of religion. The official statement was released today at the organization's national headquarters (1633 Massachusetts Avenue NW., Washington, D.C.), by Glenn L. Archer, executive director.
The attempt by a group of New York public officials to prescribe a prayer for schoolchildren in that State has been pronounced unconstitutional by a 6 to 1 decision of the U.S. Supreme Court. All persons who believe in prayer as the authentic thrust of the huma spirit toward its Maker should welcome this decision. We predict that when the current wave of emotion has subsided the Court's decision in Engel v. Vitale will loom as a landmark of religious freedom.
The decision strikes down a law under which public officials in New York State sought to use the coercive processes of government to make a prayer of their own composing required for an important segment of the population. It is a rebuke to official religion in whatever form it may be imposed upon the American people. The Court did not outlaw prayer; it merely made prayer free of political limitation and control.
The principle enunciated by the Court in this opinion is eminently sound. It reiterates the deeply cherished American principle of the separation of church and state. As Justice Black correctly notes: * * In this country it is no part of the business of government to compose official prayers for any group of the American people to recite as part of a religious program carried on by government."
IS THE COURT WRONG?
Is the Court wrong? If so, then must we not concede that government officials do have authority to compose prayers and require their repetition?
If we concede them that authority, does it not follow that we must be prepared to accept the kind of prayers they may formulate? What is to prevent them or their successors from prescribing a kind of prayer which, while highly pleasing to a large segment of the population, would be offensive to other groups? We repeat that if these officials are in their proper function when they formulate and require prayers, then the public will be stuck with the particular prayers which they formulate and require. What resentment and bedlam await to be unleashed ?
A careful analysis of the regents' prayer would probably indicate that no religious group could be entirely satisfied with it. Prayers composed by politicians and governments have never been satisfactory to deeply religious people. Christians are not offended by this prayer, but they do not find it satisfying because it contains no mention of Christ. Members of other faiths are, likewise, not offended. But they are no better satisfied with it. What is the regents' prayer, basically? It is an empty salute to religion, a gesture which falsely parades as something real. The regents' prayer achieves acceptability of being vapid. A truly religious person ought not to lament its passing.
The regents' prayer and the public school religion of which it is an example are a religion of the least common denominator. This is the standard brand of religion that public officials could be counted on to provide if this matter were placed in their domain. The objection to their product is not that it is too religious but that it is not religious enough. We are not convinced that there has been such a collapse of the church and the home as to necessitate a transfer of religious responsibility to public officials. The fact that such a transfer has been seriously proposed and urged, and to some extent accepted, is in itself a symptom of spiritual sickness which only a genuine spiritual revival
Surely government intervention is not the answer here. The state's edict cannot produce the sincere seeker and the contrite heart.
BLOW TO TOTALITARIANISM
The Court's decision is a blow to the totalitarian concept of government. There are those among us who want government to take over everything. Now this thinking invades the most intimate and personal realm known to man—that of religious experience. Public school children in New York State have been, in effect, required by law to pray and have been regimented in their prayers. To establish such a religious exercise upon these citizens is an unconstitutional use of governmental authority. So the Supreme Court has wisely held. The decisive point of difference between a free government and a Communist or Fascist government is this—that the free government does not try to run everything. Certain matters are deliberately left to the personal conscience and decision of the people themselves. Religion is eminently one of these matters and the Supreme Court has now enabled us to keep it so.
HOLDING THE MONEY LINE
Believers in church-state separation will be heartened by this decision in their endeavor to hold the “money line" between state and church. Those who had hoped to advance public money for parochial schools by legislating a government-composed prayer will be disappointed. The attempt failed. Justice Black, speaking for the Court, gives every evidence not of relaxing but rather of tightening the ban on state aid to church institutions which he has repeatedly asserted in other opinions.
This matter receives even sharper articulation in the concurring opinion of Justice Douglas which stresses the unconstitutionality of money involvement between state and church. It is the expenditure of public funds to support a religious exercise, he declares, which provides the decisive constitutional test. If the miniscule expenditure of public funds involved in the preparation and implementation of the regents' prayer renders this program unconstitutional, then surely the channeling of many millions of dollars of public funds into church schools would be unconstitutional as well.
We come now to the question of a constitutional amendment which would have the effect of giving public officials certain authority in the religious field which the Court has now held they lack. Focusing our attention on the specific issue here, we may say that the proposed amendment would be designed to give the New York authorities in question authority to compose prayers and impose them upon schoolchildren.
We wish to register our opposition to any such amendment which might well open the door to further government intrusions in this area. We believe we speak for millions of our people and for a respected tradition of this country when we respectfully say to our Government: “The realm of religious experience is personal and private; please keep out.”
Dr. Louie D. Newton, President, POAU, Pastor, Druid Hills Baptist
Church, Atlanta, Ga.; Dr. Dick H. Hall, Jr., Vice President, POAU,
DORAN, MANION, BOYNTON & KAMM,
South Bend, Ind., August , 1962. Hon. JAMES 0. EASTLAND, Senate Office Building, Washington, D.C.
DEAR SENATOR : I hope that it is not too late to bring the enclosed broadcast into the record of your hearings on the proposed constitutional amendment to correct the Supreme Court's recent “no prayer” decision.
It can be conclusively shown, I think, that Justice Black's persistent declaration that the 14th amendment embraces the 1st is unsupported sophistry which perverts both American law and American history.
There was not enough time in which to document this thesis completely in the enclosed broadcast but I think I have made the point which should not be overlooked in your discussion about the amendment.
It seems to me that, as I have suggested, a more appropriate and immediately possible remedy would be to curtail the appellate jurisdiction of the Supreme Court as Senator Jenner tried to do a few years ago. With personal regards, I am, Cordially yours,
Must GOD GET OUT OF OUR GOVERNMENT
(By Dean Clarence E. Manion) When the Supreme Court decided to take God out of the Government last June 25, I was tempted to have my say then and there-along with those thousands of other people, great and small, who expressed themselves at once. Now I am glad I waited until all or nearly all of the votes have been counted for and against the Court's startling conclusion.
Immediately after the decision was announced, the President of the United States told us to respect it and be glad that we can still pray in our homes. None of the newspaper reporters who were present made the obvious retort, namely, that Khrushchev could have said the same thing to the Russians, to the Poles, or to the Hungarians.
After all, cannot Cardinal Mindszenty still pray in the cubicle of the American Embassy in Budapest, where he has been confined for 6 years in protection against the Communist government?
The popular reaction to this unfortunate Supreme Court decision was like that of children who have just been told by the sad and wise old family doctor that their mother has cancer: "I am so very sorry, my dears, but it is so; all of the scientific tests prove it." The Supreme Court was like that in its decision and the American people were like sad and simple children in their reaction to it. What can the American people know about their Constitution? Theirs is not to reason why; theirs is but to listen to the bad news from the expertsthe Supreme Court.
And so, school superintendents all over the country sorrowfully but nevertheless seriously, announced plans to reconsider time-honored customs such as invocations at high school football banquets, salutes to the flag (and, therefore, to God) at their morning convocations, and nondenominational sermons to their graduating classes on baccalaureate Sunday.
Recently someone published a book called “A Nation of Sheep.” I have read only the title, but I know now that the author is referring to the people of the United States.
Our reaction to this Supreme Court decision indicates that his conclusion is correct. We have permitted the Federal Government to shear us to the skin and we are ready to respond, like sheep, when a Judas goat—in this case the Supreme Court-leads us up for the slaughter of our spiritual and constitutional heritage.
The decision brought a deluge of editorial criticism, of course, but for the most part the editorials ended up like this one: "Those of us who believe the ruling of the Court to be in error will, nevertheless, obey this decision since ours is a government of laws.” When we all slavishly obey a Court decision that we know to be in error, we destroy our Government of liberty-protecting laws and substitute a government by arbitrary decree.
A Court decision is not the law of the land; it is merely the law of the particular case in which the decision was rendered and, of course, the parties to that lawsuit will be forced to observe it unless and until they can get the decision reversed.
But when the decision obviously is in error, and particularly on a subject that is as vital to our civilization as the relationship of Almighty God to the Government of the United States, then all Americans who respect the great Author of liberty are under a moral and patriotic obligation to blast the decision for the error that it is, and for what one J'ustice of the Supreme Court itself declared it to be, namely, “a misapplication of a great constitutional principle” and an attempt to divorce our constitutional government from its official historic “reliance on the protection of divine providence."
The decision of the Court as read by Justice Black is unsupported by any judicial precedents except those that Justice Black himself has made out of legal whole cloth during his long tenure on the Supreme Court.
I saw this error coming up 14 years ago and addressed myself to it then in a carefully documented criticism of one of Justice Black's 1948 opinions which now turns out to be a part of his foundation for this climactic sophistry (“The Church, the State, and Mrs. McCollum," Notre Dame Lawyer, vol. 23, p. 456).
The entire case made by Justice Black and his concurring colleagues against the New York Board of Education in the June 25 decision is based upon the gratuitous assumption that the first amendment to the Constitution which says, "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion" must now be taken to read : "No State or any subdivision or agency of a State (such as a local school board) shall make any law or rule respecting an establishment of religion.”
How does it happen that a plain constitutional prohibition against congressional action now turns out to be a prohibition against State action through the regulation of a local school board? By whose authority is the unmistakable language of the first amendment thus turned around and transformed?
The answer is that the language has been changed by the repetitious insistence of Justice Black that the 1st amendment which was added to the Constitution in 1791, was made operative against the States by the adoption of the 14th amendment which was added to the Constitution 77 years later, namely, in 1868.
Remember, please, that for 69 years before Justice Black became a member of it, the Supreme Court in a great number of cases had construed the 1st