To the editor:
Terry Martin's April 21 letter to the editor and his confusing of current fiction with historic constitutional fact can hardly go unnoticed.Martin bemoans prayer in school, claiming that prayer in school "is in direct contradiction with the Constitution." In his best ACLU impersonation, he claims that "the Constitution of the United States guarantees a separation of church and state."
Martin would do well to read the Constitution. He'll look in vain for any wording about church-state separation.
The only body specifically prohibited by the Constitution from making any law "respecting an establishment of religion" is Congress. The First Amendment was specifically written to prohibit federal establishment of religion and federal involvement in state-established religions, which existed in seven of the states (surprise) when the Constitution was adopted.
Anti-prayer disciples seeking refuge in Jefferson's metaphor regarding a "wall of separation" need do little more than read his phrase within its original context: "I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof, thus building a wall of separation between church and state."
Martin objects that prayer in school might be part of taxpayer-financed education, declaring, "It better not be." Meanwhile, taxpayers are forced to fund the teaching of atheism, materialism, socialism, evolution and such essential educational pursuits as moral relativism, sex and death education, values clarification and situational ethics.
Whatever else we do in the name of public education, we must, at all costs, prohibit prayer. After all, a prayer in school might confuse children who are so dutifully learning how to kneel and genuflect before the altar of secular humanism.