To the editor: A public high school’s football coach promotes his Christian faith with post-game prayerfests staged on the gridiron’s 50-yard-line, My question for those who think he has a constitutional right to do so:
Would you back similarly pious stunts by, say, a coach who’s a devout member of the Church of Satan? Bear in mind that this fringe faith is blessed with the same governmental recognition — tax-exempt status — that mainstream religions enjoy.
Behold the gospel truth: If Christians want schoolkids exposed to religious advocacy, private faith-affiliated schools provide a viable — and constitutional — option. In our secular democracy, public school facilities and functions should be off-limits to religious promotions.
P. Jane Weil, Sacramento
To the editor: Jesus’ command in Matthew Chapter 6 for his followers to pray secretly in a closet was meant to address the seeking of one’s own glory rather than God’s.
Jesus himself prayed everywhere, especially in public settings and on the Sabbath. Moreover, Scripture enjoins Christians to “pray without easing.”
Also, the 1st Amendment prohibits a state religion like the Church of England, not the “free exercise” of religion.
Peter S. Krimmel, Glendora
To the editor: I am in total agreement with Professor Randall Balmer, who reminds us that Jesus asked us to pray privately, and that prayer has never been “banned” in public schools.
As a teacher for more than 40 years, I prayed privately each day for God to guide me in my work. My students sometimes brought Bibles to school and prayed independently or in student-initiated groups as taught by their parents.
Of course, no one is prohibited from prayer in school. What is prohibited is praying that is forced on the student. That should be understood by every American. Parents who want religion to be part of the daily instruction often send their children to religious schools.
I am always perplexed why so many Christians pray publicly on Facebook and other places, when Jesus expressly asked followers not to do this. Do they not know of this Biblical teaching, or do they decide to do otherwise?
Linda Mele Johnson, Long Beach