Letter to the Editor: The Courts Have Decided Church and State


To answer Mr. Marty Ansley’s central question in a recent letter, the answer could not have been more clearly written. “Under the U.S. Constitution, one is allowed to pray and worship anywhere under the religion of one’s choice with no interference from government.” 

In Missouri, the voters overwhelmingly passed a constitutional amendment allowing children of any religion to pray in school. That meant any religion. In Texas, one of the most conservative states in the country, there have been prayer rooms for years open and used by any denomination. In neither case are they an endorsement. They are an accommodation.

The Equal Access Act of 1984 was ruled constitutional in an 8-1 decision in 1990. The decision allowed groups of children to hold religious clubs in and on school grounds during lunch or other periods when class was not in session and it would not be an endorsement of any specific religion. Only a fervent zealot would continue to argue from an indefensible point of view.

The entire diatribe is meant to obscure the U.S. Supreme Court decisions. Listing opinions and views aren’t facts and issues outside the U.S. have no bearing on our Constitution. No reasonable person would deny these facts, nor support forcing one’s religious beliefs on someone else, that’s what starts wars. I could easily take the bait and divert to discussing the IRA, Sunni and Shite problems but those are all irrelevant here.

People who disagree should be humble enough to acknowledge the genius of the founding fathers. Under their plan, no one is forced to pray, believe or attend any church. They are only expected to not interfere with anyone else’s beliefs. Those who disbelieve and force their way on others are no different than a religious fanatic who goes door to door preaching salvation and expects to find new followers.

Nowhere in the letter was a specific one religion preferred over another. That would be an endorsement and discriminatory, both of which would be unconstitutional. The courts have clearly adjudicated the meaning of separation between church and state and any further challenges is a frivolous endeavor. I doubt there will ever be enough people who believe in outlawing prayer rooms in schools but they will still need to pass a Constitutional amendment. Anyone who continues to overthink the issue will experience needless anxiety.

Just because someone may be offended doesn’t make it illegal.


Ray Anderson