Letters to the Editor

'Welcome to pray'

Shirley Sybesma (letter April 24) lamented, "When will we Americans wake up and be consistent in allowing prayer any day in our schools." Her wish has been granted. Public school pupils are welcome to pray each and every day in their school classrooms. In fact, there has never been a law forbidding them from doing such, though the common misconception that "prayer is illegal" has been promoted by the religious right for some time.

What has been declared unconstitutional is not private, personal prayer by students, but rather government-led prayer in public schools. Surely those who desire student prayer support keeping each and every child free to pray or not, to preserve each child's First Amendment right to practicehis or her own form of worship and not be forced to worship in any one particular manner (or at all) by the government?

Unless by "prayer allowed in school" folks mean that public school employees must lead children in prayer, thus violating the First Amendment rights of both the employee and the children? But surely that cannot be. Surely we all can agree that the rights of every child and every adult are worthy of protection, just as we currently enjoy.

Linda Tolladay