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News-Sentinel.com Your Town. Your Voice.

Letter to the editor: House Bill 1024 isn't needed

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.The Associated Press
Wednesday, March 15, 2017 05:01 am
Kudos to the author of the “Do we need protection of student prayer?” editorial Feb. 22, especially for the fair and balanced treatment between the militant religionists and militant secularists. I argue that both are wrong. Yes! Both overlook the fact that America, as a country and as a concept, was truly founded by men by two different generations of leaders (the Puritans, among others and the Founding Fathers of the USA as a political entity) who had quite different views about church and state.

But Thomas Jefferson and James Madison and the other founders never imagined they were banishing religion from the public sphere. Never!

As it was in the beginning – Sept. 6, 1774 – so it has been since: An American acknowledgement of God in the public sphere. The bottom line is a simple fact: On Sept. 7, 1774, the delegates to the second session of the Continental Congress bowed their heads as they listened to the Rev. Duche, an Episcopal cleric, read a prayer to Congress. 

Because the Congress was “so divided in religious sentiments” “Presbyterians, Congregationalists, Episcopalians, and others,” John Adams wrote to wife Abigail: Because the motion to start the first session with a prayer was objected, after debate: “The motion was seconded and passed with affirmative,” wrote Adams, crediting Benjamin Franklin with naming this: “America’s public religion,” or as some call it today: our “civic” religion, which was distinctly nonsectarian and, even more importantly, ecumenical.

Back to the editorial’s question. The answer is “No!” The fact that our Founding Fathers debated whether to open the American saga with prayer is “wonderfully fitting for their conflicts are our conflicts (even today), their dilemmas our dilemmas,” wrote historian Jon Meacham.

Yes, they bowed their heads, yet “we must acknowledge that Christianity is only the thread in the American tapestry- it’s  not the whole tapestry.”

We can only hope that the Senate will not accept House Bill 1024, or the governor will veto it. It is simple put: Redundant – not needed. 

B.J. Paschal

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