Frequently Asked Questions
Question: What about prayer in the schools, particularly amending the Constitution?
Answer: Yes, I have an opinion about that. First of all, I think that we have an instrument of government called the Constitution of the United States that is almost unmatched. And part of the value of that Constitution is its broadness. It has been possible for it to be flexible and an instrument of government for, well, since 1787, isn't it? You figure out how long that is. With very few changes in it, the first ten amendments came the first year, what is known as the Bill of Rights, and then the other amendments. So I myself am often hesitant to have additions in the form of anything as rigid as an amendment made to the Constitution. That's one thing.
I personally believe in prayer, but I do not believe that there should be a specified time in the public schools for prayer, even silent prayer. I just had a letter from a man who lives in another area who told me that for several years there had been prayer in a particular school about which he was aware, and that the prayer was a repetition of the Lord's Prayer. And then after that, the teacher went on and expounded his or her particular philosophy or religious ideas. I think there could be a danger that that could creep in. Now that's my own feeling and I must tell you that it does flow forth to me from within. Because to me there might be children who even didn't want to pray. And of course there are many religious leaders who are not in favor of prayer in the schools. It is a matter of opinion and you've asked for mine and I've given it to you. I think that the Church and the State should always be separate, I feel that's a very fundamental principle of this wonderful country of ours.