Justice Potter Stewart, in his 1962 dissenting opinion in Engel v. Vitale, stated:
"For we deal
here not with the establishment of a state church, which would, of
course, be constitutionally impermissible, but with whether school
children who want to begin their day by joining in prayer must be
prohibited from doing so. Moreover, I think that the Court's task, in
this as in all areas of constitutional adjudication, is not responsibly
aided by the uncritical invocation of metaphors like the 'wall of
separation,' a phrase nowhere to be found in the Constitution. What is
relevant to the issue here is not the history of an established church
in sixteenth century England or in eighteenth century America, but the
history of the religious traditions of our people, reflected in
countless practices of the institutions and officials of our
Elizabeth Ridenour, Founder and President of The National Council On Bible Curriculum In Public Schools, wrote in the Feb. 2001 American Family Association Journal that:
"Our Founding Fathers never intended for the Bible to be removed from our public schools....
Former U. S. Chief Justice Warren Berger said that the Constitution
does not require complete separation of church and state. It mandates
accommodation, not merely tolerance, of all religions and forbids
hostility toward any.
While there are educators who serve their communities in truth and
fairness, due to misunderstanding and misinterpretation, many have
assisted in the denial of the Constitutional rights of students and
Gary Bergel, President of Intercessors for America, wrote in a May 1988 article for his organization that:
"America's moral decline rapidly accelerated following one event - the U.S. Supreme Court's removal of prayer from our nation's schools. On June 25, l962, 39 million students were forbidden to do what they and their predecessors had been doing since the founding of our nation - publicly calling upon the name of the Lord at the beginning of each school day…
The removal of prayer from our schools was a violation of the third commandment which commands us 'not to take the name of the Lord in vain.' By the judicial act of forbidding invocation, the Court audaciously elevated a secularized system of education beyond the authority, reach and blessing of God Himself. Worse than taking the Lord's sacred name in vain is treating it with contempt, denying it rightful place and stripping it from public use and even from the lips of children. Jesus' own expressed desire, 'Let the little children come to Me, and do not forbid them' was also violated by these judges, many of whom were raised in Christian homes….
After more than 25 years of severe moral decline is it not time to repent, reverence the name of the Lord, reinstitute and keep the third commandment?"
The American Civil Liberties Union stated in its 1996 paper titled "Constitutional Amendment on School Prayer or Moment of Silence," posted on its website, that:
to school-sponsored prayer is a bedrock principle for the American
Civil Liberties Union. As national board policy #81(a) states in part:
'The ACLU believes that any program of religious indoctrination --
direct or indirect -- in the public schools or by use of public
resources is a violation of the constitutional principle of separation
of church and state and must be opposed.'"
In Engel v. Vitale (1962), the US Supreme Court, in a decision written by Justice Black, held that:
"The First Amendment was added to the Constitution to stand as a guarantee that neither the power nor the prestige of the Federal Government would be used to control, support or influence the kinds of prayer the American people can say that the people's religious must not be subjected to the pressures of government for change each time a new political administration is elected to office. Under that Amendment's prohibition against governmental establishment of religion, as reinforced by the provisions of the Fourteenth Amendment, government in this country, be it state or federal, is without power to prescribe by law any particular form of prayer which is to be used as an official prayer in carrying on any program of governmentally sponsored religious activity."
Freedom From Religion Foundation stated in a 1995 article titled "The Case Against School Prayer," written by its co-founder Annie Laurie Gaylor, that:
definition, if the government suggests that students pray, whether by
penning the prayer, asking them to vote whether to pray or setting
aside time to pray, it is endorsing and promoting that prayer. It is
coercive for schools to schedule worship as an official part of the
school day, school sports or activities, or to use prayer to formalize