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Welcome back to the Story of Liberty, this is John Bona. School prayer and Bible reading were
a great legacy of American History and our First Amendment, but school prayer and Bible
reading were removed from the United States Public Educational System by slowly changing
the meaning of the First Amendment, through a number of court cases over several decades
this happened. The following is a summary of three cases in the early 1960s.
There was the Regent’s School Prayer Engle vs Vitale in 1962. The New York Educational
system adopted school prayer to be said before the start of each day’s class, I remember that,
I was raised in Buffalo, New York, and we had school prayer. It was a simple prayer,
“Almighty God; we acknowledge our dependence upon thee, and we look for thy blessings
upon us, and our parents, and our teachers, and our country.” Well, it was abolished and
there was a lot of debate back and forth but eventually the case was won, and school prayer
was eventually removed the next year, in 1963, when the focus of Madeline Murry O’Hare,
who has now repented of this.
She was a militant left-wing atheist at the time, and she had close ties with the American
Communist Party. She filed the lawsuit against the School Board of Baltimore and at first
the local court; Judge Gilbert abundantly made it clear that the petition’s real objective was
to drive every single concept of religion out of the public school system. And The case went
further, to the Maryland Court of Appeals and the court ruled, neither the First nor the
Fourteenth Amendment was intended to stifle all rapport between religion and government.
Well, the school prayer case made its way to the U.S. Supreme Court.
Leonard Kirpelman addressed the court, he said that, “Prayer in the public schools has
been tolerated for so long that it had become traditional and that anything that is
unconstitutional does not become constitutional through tradition.” Well, he went on to
say that, “The constitution had erected a wall of separation between church and state,”
at which point the justice at the time, Potter Stewart; he interrupted; he asked, “Well where
does this wording appear?” Kirpelman was stumped. He was embarrassed, and silence
followed. When he regained his composure, he stated, “Well it wasn’t in the text, it wasn’t explicit on the point,” but that it had been interpreted by him to mean that.
Remarkably, the National Council of Churches and several Jewish organizations favored Madeline O’Hare’s case. Did you know that not a single Christian organization, at the time, filed a brief in support of school prayer? Well, the outcome was obvious. The Supreme Court ruled eight to one in favor of abolishing school prayer and Bible reading in the public schools. Justice Tom Clark wrote, “Religious freedom, it has long been recognized that government must be neutral and while protecting all must prefer none and discharge none.” The Federal Government considers atheism to be a religion, and the Supreme Court ruling favored atheism at the expense of the Christian majority. Well, we know the final analysis, school prayer and Bible reading was knocked out of the park.
The Pennsylvania School system complied with a state law requiring that ten verses of scripture be read daily. The readings were without comment, and any student could request to be excused, but the case went to the Supreme Court as the atheist pressed. This case came to the Supreme Court at the same time as the Murray [inaudible] case and the court ruled on them at the same time In a nutshell, in the final analysis; the Supreme Court ruled stated that school prayer and Bible reading were violations of the establishment clause of our First Amendment.
It’s ironic that the court established a secular religion for our school system. That’s what they did. And they violated the establishment clause of the First Amendment. Let’s look at some charts of what has happened in America since prayer and Bible reading has been removed.
Look at this chart for morality; Birth rates for unwed girls fifteen to ninteen years of age. Look what it was in 1963, before biblical reading was removed, look at it, it has tripled since 1963, what a shame and people say it has made no impact.
Okay, look at this chart now, violent behavior, violent crimes the number of offenses. Since 1963 till 1991 and by the way, the current stats are even higher. But, look at the number of offenses, it's gone ten-fold; it has increased ten times since Bible reading, and prayer have been removed from the public schools.
Look at this chart, our educational achievement, our SAT total scores have dropped from 980 in 1962-63, when the Bible was removed, to 910. Look at that downward spiral since the Bible and prayer have been taken out. Look at family stability, single-parent households, where the female is the head and there is no spouse present; look at the rise in one-parent homes, it’s sad. It’s sad to see that there were five million in 1962, but that has gone to over twelve million today, and the numbers are growing. Look at morality; sexually transmitted diseases, look at the chart, it’s unbelievable. It’s like a rocket shooting up here, look at this from 1963 all the way up to 1990.
Well look it folks, there’s no doubt what the results are when we attempt to remove God and his law, his word and prayer in our public schools this is what happens. This is what we’ve replaced and taken out the Ten Commandments, and now we have metal detectors to make sure our students aren’t bringing guns to school.
What else do we need to know?
Wake up America. It’s time to wake up, bring the Bible back, bring prayer back in our public schools.
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