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liberties can be determined. Historically, it reads like a Baptist document out of our yesterdays. It is filled with concepts and history which Baptists of a hundred years would thoroughly concur.
But more questions have to be answered. What is the relationship of this decision to a previous decision (Everson v. Board of Education) in which the Court ruled it constitutional to transport parochial school children to parochial schools? Is it constitutional to pay part of the bill for private schools to indoctrinate children for the benefit of one religious group and unconstitutional to make prayers to be read in the public schools? Does this ruling mean that no parochial school should ever constitutionally receive tax money? In a neighboring State a judgment was given by their high court that garbed nuns dedicated to just one religious group can teach in the public schools. How can a nonsectarian prayer be out and garbed nuns be in? Is the Government right in outlawing nonsectarian prayer in public schools and at the same time picking nip part of the check for parochial school systems across our country which teach a regular religious catechism? Is our constituency going to keep peace with ourselves when we outlaw nonsectarian prayer, the Lord's Prayer, and the reading of the Bible, while many teachers persist in using their classroom for denouncing religious truth? Is it wrong to represent religious truth in our schools and right to denounce them? These seem to be pertinent questions in the light of this recent and right decision.
What is the obligation of th church in these complex matters? The current problem of the church is similar to the family that pulled the old clock from the attic to grace their living room. It had been so long since used that they couldn't find the way to make it run. Therefore, it became only a piece of furniture in the living room. We have written in our past a fundamental concept of relation of the church and the state, but we are having difficulty determining how to apply it.
Baptists have never been “institutionalists." We do not stake God's ultimate purpose in one of two institutions. Rather, we have depended on a gospel preached and Christian witness to proclaim that “Christ is the way, the truth and the life." In this preaching of the gospel we have not depended on "church" to establish a fundamental concept of the mind of Christ. We have not depended on "state" to establish Christianity. We have tenaciously held to the autonomy of the individual and the priesthood of the believer as basic tenets in the propagation of the gospel.
We have established institutions for healing, teaching, training, and extending the purposes of the local church beyond our immediate communities. Yet, because of our understanding of how God deals with men, we have continuously insisted on separation of church and state. But as Baptists, we do not run the Nation—nor should any other religious group.
In the 186 years since the establishment of this country we have grown, but so has our Nation. And with its growth has come a heterogeneous population. Across this population has come the fundamental concept of separation of church and state and we have made the mistake of allowing others to define our position. We must come to do our own thinking on the current issues of religious liberty. Our forebears did well in their day, but they did not deal with our questions in our day. They stated the answers in general terms. We have suffered more confusion by accepting the instruction of legalistic, nonBaptists, and even, in many instances, non-Christian minds regarding the positions we should hold. It is urgent that we accept our own responsibilities and representations. We need to find ways and means of several things:
We need to find ways and means of establishing principles and policies that enable our institutions to be representative of our ideas and commitments. Correlation of policy is so necessary where hospitals, homes for the aged, homes for children, colleges, and all other institutions are implicated. Institutional policies as well as the local church policies should represent our commitment to Him who is "the life.”
We need to exchange thought and information between areas where Baptist policy is determined. Various State conventions need to avoid confusing the Nation and the political leadership as to what Baptists mean in the separation of church and state.
We need to educate our own people in the principle that adheres to our faith. The public press and mass media cannot do it. They are limited by compromise of political interests, and political pressures. The promotional efforts of civil liberty organizations can help make us good citizens but hardly good Baptists. We must, in this sense, find a process of cultivating civic competence and experience of our people. They have a responsibility for the Christian use of stewardship of influence.
We need to find ways and means of correlating our Christian influence, conviction, and witness with other religious groups who advocate and defend this fundamental American and Christian concept.
1. With regard to prayer in our public schools : The nonsectarian prayer composed by the officials of New York would be no advantage to a Baptist who believes in fashioning his own prayers and saying them from his heart. True prayers are not written or composed by others and read as a ritual. Our Lord gave us the fundamental in prayer when he said, “Ask, and ye shall receive, seek, and ye shall find, knock and the door shall be opened.” The Court has not not said, “No prayer." It has said that government has no business in composing prayer. Prayer must never be legalistic and ritual. It must be personal and sincere, from the heart. Our children can be taught prayer in our homes and in their churches and can have the example of lives of parents and teachers whose practices of prayer are evidenced in their moral conduct.
2. A Christian constituency can permeate our schools and can undergird public school education by a spirit of prayer for every child, every school administrator, and every teacher. If ours is a Christian nation, we have a right to assume that every facet of it wil be permeated by a spirit of prayer in our homes and in our churches and in the lives of public school personnel.
3. While our schools cannot promote any one church, it is inconceivable that public interest and concern could not be expressed pertaining to administrators and teachers who use their classroom to denounce religion and advocate atheistic ideas and immoral and unchristian conduct and behavior. The same interpretation which says, "Do not advocate or promote,” must also be interpreted, "Do not denounce or oppose.”
4. There is no law, or even any suggestion of any law that prohibits the prayer life of the church. Christian people can pray. They can pray anywhere. In Acts, chapter 4, two preachers, Peter and John, were forbidden to preach. The church gathered for prayer. The outcome was a complete dedication of themselves to carry God's message through their testimony and commitment. They prayed with such effectiveness that they brought their personal possessions and laid them down at the feet of the apostles. They were men of one heart and one mind and one purpose. This is as God would want it.
Three men had a leadership position in the formulation of the Declaration of Independence. Drafted by Thomas Jefferson, a Virginia landowner, and edited by John Adams from Massachusetts, it came to the hands of Benjamin Franklin of Philadelphia. Where Jefferson had written, "We hold these truths to be sacred and undeniable,” Franklin has penned out “sacred and undeniable” and wrote in “selfevident." This was the religious consciousness of those who formulated the document around which our Nation was founded. It was self-evident that this Nation's identity was wrapped up in religious truths. We must not chisel the inscription "In God We Trust” from our coins, nor delete "one nation under God, indivisible” from the pledge to our flag. On the contrary we must go back and find those roots and water them and nurture them and cultivate them. It is as true today as it was a long time ago that God waits to find the response of a people upon whom He has laid His hand to influence this world for Him.
"If my people, which are called by my name, will humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways * * * then will I hear from Heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.”
JAFFEE & JACOBS,
Toledo, Ohio, August 2, 1962. Hon. Estes KEFAUVER, Senate Office Building, Washington, D.C.
DEAR SENATOR KEFAUVER: Please note my objections to the proposed constitutional amendment on the Regents' Prayer case pending hearings in the Senate Judiciary Committee. You are requested to make my objections part of the record of the hearings. Yours very truly,
MARVIN K. JACOBS.
STATEMENT ON PUBLIC PRAYER IN THE PUBLIC SCHOOLS
The Supreme Court on June 25, 1962, handed down an important decision forbidding the use in the public schools of a prayer written by the New York State Board of Regents. The majority opinion, written by Justice Hugo L. Black, stated: “It is neither sacrilegious nor antireligious to say that each separate government in this country should stay out of the business of writing or sanctioning official prayers and leave that purely religious function to the people themselves and to those the people choose to look to for religious guidance."
We want publicly to endorse and support this decision of the Supreme Court. Although we might not agree precisely at every point in our reasons for opposing the use of public worship as a part of the public school's curriculum or practice, we nevertheless set forth the following 10 reasons for believing the Supreme Court decision is worthy of support by the American people, including those who hold religious convictions and those who do not:
(1) Prayer used in the public schools is bound to be offensive to some individuals and groups in our pluralistic society. These include not only persons whose approach to prayer is from a unique religious or denominational background, but also atheists, agnostics, and those who for other reasons are of the belief that prayer in the public schools constitutes a violation of the separation of church and state.
(2) The responsibility, both for religious education and worship, rests in the home, the church, and the synagogue. The delegation of this responsibility to the public school, an agency of the state, is but an invitation to promulgate a vague, watered-down, so-called nonsectarian religion, a non-Biblical, artificial faith that must, in the long run, constitute a grave disservice to religion.
(3) If prayer is reduced to a lowest-common-denominator approach in order to be inoffensive to different religious groups, by the same token it becomes theologically inadequate. Prayer thus is secularized through public policy so that public schools may have the appearance of being religious.
(4) This lowest-common-denominator approach to religion not only tends to establish as a new state-sponsored religion the residuum of religious belief acceptable to all faiths, but it relegates the minority of the religiously unaffiliated to a second-class citizenship. The Bill of Rights in the Constitution is intended to preclude such state invasion of the religious sphere as well as to safeguard the rights of minorities.
(5) If the State or public servants can constitutionally compose, require, or permit use of a prayer that is allegedly inoffensive to religious groups, what is to prevent government officials from using prayers that are patently offensive to some part of the population?
(6) Governments are by nature instruments of restraint and coercion to enforce justice and to promote the general welfare. The worship of God is by nature a voluntary expression and ought not to be associated with the coercive functions of the state. Governments should guarantee freedom of private and public exercise of religious conviction as well as freedom for the expression of objection to any or all religious doctrines. But governments must not be permitted to determine what is orthodox or heretical and hence must leave to the home and the church the ritualistic or doctrinal expressions of religious faith.
(7) When persons, in a captive audience, who do not approve of prayer or a particular prayer or the context in which the prayer is said, are involved in religious worship as a part of government policy, some are alienated from genuine religious expression and commitment. Others may become antagonistic to institutional religion and even intolerant, because of its readiness to rely on government coercion of children for external religious expression. In such cases a program designed to foster religious commitment may be responsible for retarding it and may even injure the religious freedom which we in this country so highly prize.
(8) It is important to have religious communities that are distinguishable from the political community. Too often the actions of Spain, Israel, or Eng. land have been identified with a dominant religious group in those countries. The danger is not only that religious groups will be identified with the mistakes and injustices of political units, but that prayer to a god of all nations may be used to hollow narrow nationalism. This merging of the religious expression with cultural and even governmental activity may mute the prophetic religious criticism that so genuinely serves the best interests of the state.
(9) Schoolchildren who object or whose parents object to their participation in religious practices in the public schools may hesitate to declare themselves as nonreligious or as members of a minority religious group. Pressure upon children in such circumstances is an invasion of the privacy of belief that so many consider essential to genuine liberty.
(10) Teachers ought not to be expected to perform public religious functions in public schools even if they should be qualified to do so. There is danger of overzealous religious activity as well as of prayer so perfunctory as to be a mockery of religion. Under some circumstances, teachers who are identified with a particular religious expression may even become for their students objects of ridicule or hostility.
Methodist, Kansas City, Mo.
Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.
Women of Greater Kansas City, Mo.
Paul School of Theology Methodist.
(Organizations are listed for purposes of identification only.)
by all the inhabitants of our land, of one Almighty God, such as set forth in the regents' prayer in New York.
Every nominee for the Presidency of the United States, to my own recollection, has called upon God to aid and guide him in his destined path of leadership of the United States.
All the courts, including the Supreme Court of the United States, has opened its proceeding in the name of God.
Our money is inscribed "In God we trust."
Our oath of allegiance to the United States of America includes the words, "One nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”
Prayer is recognized as an integral part of the traditional training of cadets at the U.S. Naval Academy, and is urged and practiced by regulation at the Academy, at all times. The oath on admission to the Naval Academy by the midshipmen, members of the civilian faculty, as well as the oath taken by a commissioned officer upon acceptance of office, states in these words:
"I * * * having been appointed a midshipman in the U.S. Navy, do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion, and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter, so help me God."
Likewise, the cadets at the U.S. Military Academy, West Point, N.Y., are required to attend religious services at the Academy. The oath of allegiance, administered to cadets on the day they enter the Military Academy and the oath of office, administered to the first class (senior) cadets on the day that they are graduated and commissioned, states as follows:
OATH OF ALLEGIANCE
“I * * * do solemnly swear that I will support the Constitution of the United States and bear true allegiance to the National Government; that I will maintain and defend the sovereignty of the United States paramount to any and all allegiance, sovereignty, or fealty I may owe to any State, county, or country whatsoever; and that I will at all times obey the legal orders of my superior officers and the rules and articles governing the armies of the United States."
OATH OF OFFICE
“I * * * having been appointed an officer in the Army of the United States, as indicated above, in the grade of
do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic, that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office upon which I am about to enter, so help me God.”
Without a doubt, the Government of the United States of America has seen fit to accept the dominion of one God over its trusted servants, in its requirements as contained in the above two oaths at its service academies, ending the oaths with the all-important words of heavenly askance, “so help me God."
It is reasonable to state that most all public proceedings are buttressed by reliance by a prayer and a call for divine guidance. These principles of public reliance upon religious strength, obtained from the word of God in the Bible, have always been enunciated with, and from, the inner conscience of the people everywhere, and unequivocably.
I must refer, as a matter of personal experience and knowledge, to Girard College, an orphan college established by a great American, Stephen Girard. I was the fortunate receipient of the benevolence of this patriotic citizen, and in that great institution for orphans there are nurtured boys from the ages of 7 to 18 years, who grow into young manhood with a constant background of reliance upon God and His word in the Bible. Every day, during approximately 10 years' time. and sometimes twice a day, religious services are held in the chapel of the college. And it is remarkable to note that the boys comprising the student body of over 1,000 comprise every religious creed. The young boys are indelibly impressed with the fact of God, one God, and the dominion of God for all. It is true that no clergyman, identified as such, is accepted in the college by the will of Stephen Girard, but the fact is that Stephen Girard believed it proper not to subject the tender minds of the boys with a particular creed but to give the boys understanding,