letters to the editor - 10/27/02 - F7

October 28, 2002

What do you know, prayer IS allowed in school

Tuesday, the 15th of October, in open meeting, I made the following remarks to the Board of Education. I hope that my remarks will put the rest the question of whether or not private, personal prayer is allowed in public schools.

There's a petition circulating through the community. The third sentence of it reads, "We are circulating a petition to get prayer back into the public schools." The seventh sentence of the petition reads, "Today adults and children are not permitted to mention God in schools, not even on school buses."

The petition states that they are trying to get 10,000 signatures and that the petition and signatures will be presented to local congressmen so that the congressman may get it to the proper legislative committee for serious work. I called our local congressman about two weeks ago and at that time I was told that those circulating the petition are ready to present it to the local congressman and are looking for a suitable time to present it.


In recent months I have tried to explain to people that personal private prayer is allowed public schools. Some of the people I talk to seem to feel that I do not understand what I'm talking about. What can be done to convince the thousands of people who have signed this petition that prayer is already allowed in public schools? I have developed a testable hypothesis to find out if prayer is allowed in public schools.

My testable hypothesis is that private personal prayer is allowed in public schools. I have been testing this hypothesis.

Sometimes when I go to a public school, after I enter the building I privately and quietly pray to God, thanking him for my safe arrival and asking him for his help in doing whatever it is I am planning to do in that school. In three different schools I have then gone to the principal of that school and confessed to the principal that I quietly prayed in their school. In each of these three cases the principal looked at me and said some variation of, "Why are you telling me this? If you are quietly and privately praying in this school it is no concern of mine."

I now have a confession to make to the people who are here assembled. I wish to publicly confess that I have quietly and privately prayed in the central office of the Board of Education. Last Friday, after I received my board packet, I went to the central office library and quietly and privately prayed to God that, as I read my packet, he would help me make wise decisions. At the beginning of this meeting, during silent meditation, I prayed to God thanking him for allowing me to safely drive my car to this meeting.

So I have now publicly confessed to you that I prayed in individual schools and that I have also prayed in the central office. In this meeting in the central office I have also now publicly mentioned God. If this petition is correct in saying that prayer is prohibited in public schools and that the mention of God is prohibited in schools then people may reasonably expect to read in the morning paper that I have been arrested and that my wife is trying to raise bail money for me.

If this petition is correct people may reasonably expect that shortly the police will come, charge me with both mentioning God and praying in school facilities, read me my rights and, in handcuffs, remove me from the meeting.

However, if this petition is wrong, then people may expect to watch the rest of the meeting and see absolutely nothing happen to me. By the end of this evening everyone here or watching on TV should have a very clear understanding of whether or not private, personal, prayer is allowed in public school facilities and whether or not the mention of God is allowed in public school facilities.

I say to everyone in the TV audience, "Don't change the channel, this is one TV show you do not want to miss!"

(As of 10 p.m. Oct 15 there has been no evidence that the police have any interest in arresting me for praying in and mentioning God in public school facilities.

Russell Williams


For Hagerstown, Townsend is the best choice

With the upcoming election on Nov. 5, there are a number of issues that are of significance to the future of Hagerstown and Washington County. Therefore, considering and voting for the candidates who have indicated their support for matters related to our needs is critical and deserves to transcend political party lines.

Upon review of the positions of our candidates for governor, I firmly believe that Kathleen Kennedy Townsend's commitment to this community maker her worthy of your vote and here are my reasons:

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