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Some backwoods, right-wing preacher? No, my friend, those ringing
words fell from the lips of the Democrat icon, long considered the
Senate’s foremost authority on the U.S. Constitution — Sen. Robert
Byrd, the new president pro tem of the U.S. Senate!

And that’s not all; he openly declared war on the ACLU’s position on
school prayer by courageously criticizing federal judges for “moving
closer and closer to prohibiting the free exercise of religion in

“It chills my soul,” said Sen. Byrd.

At last, at long blessed last, a greatly influential senator — one generally casting all his
votes with the left side of the Senate aisle — has spoken out powerfully in favor of the
liberty protected by the First Amendment: “Congress shall make no law respecting an
establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.”

And how wonderfully fitting it is, that a latter-day Virginian (though of the western variety)
who wields such influence in government, should echo the concern of Virginia’s two term
President Thomas Jefferson, whose statement is engraved publicly on his monument in
Washington, D.C. “God who gave us life gave us liberty. And can the liberties of a nation
be thought secure when we have removed their only firm basis, a conviction in the minds
of the people that these liberties are the Gift of God? That they are not to be violated but
with His wrath? Indeed, I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just; that His
justice cannot sleep forever.”

Perhaps both gentlemen were aware of the prophet Isaiah’s dire warning “If you do not
stand firm in your faith . . . you will not stand at all.” [Isaiah 7:9]

Surely, Sen. Byrd, with his great grasp of our history, knows that President Jefferson
would have been appalled at the very idea of school children being denied the precious
right to pray voluntarily during a school day — or any other time — when he connected
our liberties to “a conviction in the minds of the people” that they are the gift of God.

How do you develop that conviction in children while you deny them the freedom to pray?
I’m guessing that Sen. Byrd, nearing the end of his illustrious career, wants to correct the
warped, perverse, and completely false notion that his Virginia predecessor — so often
deemed author of the very “separation of church and state” concept — believed that the
First Amendment was ever intended to stifle religious expression anywhere, anytime.

    Jefferson most assuredly did not believe that. He said,
    speaking of religion, “it is deemed in other countries
    incompatible with good government and yet proved by
    our experience to be its best support.”

    I hope, I pray, that millions of Americans will contact the
    good senator to thank him and encourage him to enact
    legislation declaring that school prayer is legal and
    constitutional. America’s Prayer Network, P.O. Box
    98214, in Washington D.C. 20090, is organizing tens of
    thousands of “Thank You” cards to be sent directly to
    Sen. Byrd. Hopefully, hordes of us will write there, ask for
    cards, and join in the campaign. Others may just want to
    write him directly, but some cards may get “lost.” The
    impact, the encouragement, will be much greater if
    thousands of cards arrive “en masse.”

Such legislation will surely be challenged in court, which will send the issue back to the U.
S. Supreme Court, where the current makeup may just end the prohibition of voluntary
prayer for our school kids for the first time since 1962. As always, those who don’t wish to
participate won’t have to; but the vast majority of kids and teachers who do want to, will
be able to again.

Why is that so important? I’ll let this teacher applicant’s letter speak
for me, describing her response after being interviewed by the local

Let me see if I’ve got this right. You want me to go into that room
with all those kids, correct their disruptive behavior, observe them
for signs of abuse, monitor their dress habits, censor their T-shirt
messages, and instill in them a love for learning. You want me to
check their backpacks for weapons, wage war on drugs and
sexually transmitted diseases, and raise their sense of self-esteem
and personal pride. You want me to teach them patriotism and good citizenship,
sportsmanship and … check their heads for lice, recognize signs of antisocial behavior,
and make sure that they all pass the state exams.

You also want me to provide them with an equal education regardless of their handicaps,
and communicate regularly with their parents in English and Spanish by letter, telephone,
newsletter, and report card. You want me to do all this with a piece of chalk, a
blackboard, a bulletin board, a few books, a big smile, and starting salary that qualifies
me for food stamps.

You want me to do all this, and then you tell me I can't pray?

The prophet Isaiah again: “Woe to those who make unjust laws, to those who issue
oppressive decrees.” [Isaiah 10: 1]

The facts are stark and incontrovertible. Since 1962, when one angry atheist woman,
Madelyn Murray O’Hare, convinced the High Court that school prayer was
“unconstitutional”, this country has experienced historic and frightening rises in juvenile
crime, teen pregnancy and abortions, drug abuse by our children, significant drops in all
learning, and a wholesale unraveling of America’s moral fabric. Our kids spew profanity,
dress lewdly, drive wildly, drink disastrously, cheat, lie, and rebel against authority.

    Why is this important? If you have to ask, you need
    prayer yourself. Matter of fact, we all do, in or out
    of school, on or off government property, and
    especially in Congress and in our courts.

    God bless you, Sen. Byrd, and grant you success
    on our behalf. Perhaps, as Mordecai said to
    Queen Esther, "Who knows but that you have
    come to the kingdom for such a time as this?” As
    president pro tem, you can leave a Jeffersonian
    legacy, a crown jewel in your historic service to this
The eColumn appears on
courtesy of Pat Boone.

During the early years of
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As one of the top
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Through the years, Pat
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...Senator Byrd Speaks Out on Prayer

“It seems to me that any prohibition of voluntary prayer in
school violates the right of our school children to practice
freely their religion. And that’s just not right.” These words
resonated on the U.S. Senate floor over a year ago now,
but went largely ignored by the media.

Please read that again. And then look again at who said
those words. Judge Roy Moore? Jerry Falwell? James
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