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Mr. Dowdy. I hope and trust, and, I dare to say,
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 cal) of the Chair.)
STATEMENT OF HON. JOHN B. ANDERSON, MEMBER OF CONGRESS, 16TH DISTRICT
OF ILLINOIS 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. 0. 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.
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES,
Washington, D.C., July 25, 1962. Hon. JAMES 0. EASTLAND, 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, Sincerely,
WALTER S. BARING, Congressman for Nevada.
STATEMENT BY CONGRESSMAN WALTER S, BARING IN SUPPORT OF HOUSE JOINT
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.
Washington, D.C., July 25, 1962. Hon. JAMES 0. EASTLAND, 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,
J. FLOYD BREEDING,
Member of Congress.
STATEMENT OF HON. J. FLOYD BREEDING, 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.
STATEMENT OF SENATOR HOWARD W. CANNON
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 spi 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.
STATEMENT OF SENATOR HOMER E. CAPEHART, OF INDIANA
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.
It is not my desire or intention to question the decision of our country's highest court, for to waive aside or to ignore such decisions would border anarchy.
Inasmuch as the decision has evoked vast correspondence from the people of my State, and I suppose from constituents of other Senators, it is my belief your subcommittee should provide opportunity for interested citizens to present their views in public hearings, in accordance with congressional custom and procedure.
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES,
Washington, D.C., November 15, 1962. Hon. JAMES EASTLAND, Chairman, Committee on the Judiciary, U.S. Senate, Washington, D.C.
DEAR MR. CHAIRMAN: I am very pleased to have the opportunity to submit a statement, to be included in the record of the hearings on the resolutions relating to prayers in public schools. My statement is attached. Sincerely yours,
STEVEN B. DEROUNIAN, Member of Congress. STATEMENT OF THE HONORABLE STEVEN B. DEROUNIAN, MEMBER OF CONGRESS,
SECOND DISTRICT, NEW YORK Mr. Chairman, the decision of the Supreme Court, on June 26 of this year, in ruling against the use of a simple, nondenominational prayer in the public schools of New York State, shocked the Nation.
To those of us who cannot accept this decision--and we are in the great majority—it has succeeded only in spreading confusion in its attempt to read into the first amendment of the Constitution a denial of the greatest single factor in the unparalleled progress of our country—the recognition of and our dependence upon a Supreme Being.
If we are to continue on the high moral plane that has distinguished this Nation and its people, the true meaning of the first amendment must be clarified beyond question.
Many proposals have been made by the Members of Congress and I have introduced House Joint Resolution 820, proposing an amendment to the Constitution of the United States in order to authorize the several States to permit the offering of a prayer in public schools and other public places.
We cannot teach moral values to our children if we are forced to ignore our heritage. “It is fallacy”—and I quote “to suppose that by omitting a subject you teach nothing about it. On the contrary, you teach that it is to be omitted, and that it is therefore a matter of secondary importance. And you teach this, not openly and explicity, which would invite criticism; you simply take it for granted and thereby insinuate it silently, insidously, and all but irresistibly.” I believe that to teach that prayer is to be omitted from our lives and is of secondary importance was exactly the intent of those who petitioned against the Board of Education of the Union Free School District of New Hyde Park, N.Y.-an area which I have represented—seeking to discontinue the use of the simple little prayer.
I challenge anyone to read into the prayer used in the schools of New York the establishment of any specific religion. In fact, in all that I have read since this decision, nowhere have I seen any denouncement of the words of the prayer by any religious body. For that matter, the Justices of the Supreme Court made no effort to show that the prayer actually did establish any specific religion. They simply could not have done so.
Throughout the honorable history of this Nation, every great soldier, citizen, and statesmen has publicly acknowledged his belief in God and at no time has such recognition ever imperiled the separation of church and state. Time and again our courts have ruled that the recital of a prayer is completely acceptable under our laws and within the meaning of the Constitution. But now, suddenly, and at a time when we are involved in a life struggle with atheistic communism, our Supreme Court shakes the very foundation of our Government. If we let this decision stand, we will be leading our country away from freedom and toward godlessness. I urge your careful consideration of this matter.
STATEMENT OF CONGRESSMAN GEORGE H. FALLON, OF MARYLAND, IN SUPPORT OF
HOUSE JOINT RESOLUTION 765 Mr. Chairman, I appear here today for the purpose of saying a few words in behalf of House Joint Resolution 765, introduced by me, providing for the free use of prayer in the public schools.
This resolution was required, Mr. Chairman, in consequence of the recent Supreme Court decision, outlawing the compulsory use of a nonpartisan prayer, in the State of New York.
As I see that decision, and as many persons see it, the Supreme Court has, in its defense of a minute minority, overstepped the rights of an overwhelming majority, by declaring against the invocation of God's will in the American public school classroom.
This cannot be borne, Mr. Chairman. The people will not have it. I, personally, have no doubt that when the Supreme Court enunciated the school prayer opinion of June 25, 1962, the several Justices acted in the hope of benefiting a minority, with no intention of harming anyone else, in any way. A miscalculation occurred, however. For the American people have come to attach great importance, over the years, to the presence of prayer in the classroom. To them, it represents a child's introduction to God, as much as does the entrance of a child into Sunday school. They—the masses of God-fearing American adultshave come to recognize the limited power of once-a-week religious exercises. They therefore believe in the necessity of prayer between church services; and who, after all, is better suited to lead such prayer than the schoolteachers of the land who have, traditionally, devoted their energies to efforts looking to the moral betterment of the younger generation.
House Joint Resolution 765 is aimed at returning to the schools a privilege long recognized and approved by public opinion. It is a resolution wholly in keeping with the spirit of American sentiment today, and the spirit of our forefathers, who also, in their time, had a good deal to say about religious freedom.
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES,
Washington, D.C., August 8, 1962. Senator JAMES 0. EASTLAND, Chairman, Judiciary Committee, U.S. Senate, Washington, D.O.
MY DEAR SENATOR: I deeply appreciate your kind invitation to appear before your committee in support of an amendment to the Constitution of the United States with regard to the offering of prayers in public schools and other public places.
Unfortunately, due to pressures here I was unable to appear personally. However, I do wish to submit a statement for the record, copy of which I am enclosing. Sincerely yours,
PAUL A. FINO, Member of Congress.
STATEMENT BY CONGRESSMAN PAUL A. FINO, REPUBLICAN, OF NEW YORK Mr. Chairman, I would like, at this time, to express my support for legislation now before your committee, proposing an amendment to the Constitution of the United States with regard to the offering of prayers in the public schools and other public places. I have introduced House Joint Resolution 766 in the House to accomplish the same purpose.
What this amendment would do, in effect, would be to reverse the Supreme Court decision of June 25, 1962, outlawing the reading of a nonpartisan prayer in the public schools of the State of New York, and implicitly ruling out the schoolroom prayer as a feature of American life. A reversal in this regard is not only eminently proper, but absolutely necessary if we are not to stand ashamed in the eyes of the Western World—as the champion of religious liberty, who dared not speak out openly in behalf of religious principle.
It is my belief, Mr. Chairman, that the rise of this Nation to international prominence was the direct result of divine will, and I, therefore, have no doubt of an existing relationship between our prayers and our successes.
Under these circumstances, at a time in history when the need for American success is all the more pressing, it seems to me particularly disturbing that we should, as the result of an astonishing judicial interpretation, be denied the privilege of invoking the will of God in that crucial training area, the schoolroom.