Letter to the Editor,
Editorial page,
Seattle Post-Intelligencer
Wednesday, May 27th, 1998

Reprinted by Permission of the
Seattle Post-Intelligencer

Copyright © 1998,
Seattle Post-Intelligencer

Only a Religion Would Ban Teacher-led Prayer
Anatomy of the Religion: How God Works
Research Directory
When the Court Gives Up Its Superstitions
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PRAYER IN CLASSROOM: Cartoon illustrates the superstition that's driven U.S. law on religion.

Your editorial cartoon of the classroom praying to a multiarmed heathen idol shows what students get when parents ask for "organized school prayers." But it also neatly illustrates the superstition that has driven the American law on religion since 1947.

For example, in the 1962 Engel case, the U.S. Supreme Court found that prayer has a special power such that teacher-led prayer causes a coercion that "reciting historical documents" or "singing officially espoused anthems" cannot.

Hardly. As your cartoon suggests, there might be some danger from "handling the goat entrails" or drinking the contents of the coke can in the idol's hands.

But empirically any poem containing the words "God," "Lord," and "Amen" will evoke only secular powers-- unless the court establishes the religion that there is some God in the sky that will hear the prayer.

And as the court has no business establishing the religion that God is any more real than some Santa Claus with miraculous flying reindeer, the only logical option is for the court to treat religion as just what it secularly is--namely a particularly resilient form of secular politics.

And the federal courts should give up the superstition of banning the teacher-led recitations of poems that contain whatever arcane combination of "God," "Lord," and "Amen" that the majority of voters elect to waste their money reciting.

Evolutionist Responses

Engel v. Vitale,
370 U.S. 421, 435 & n.21(1962).

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