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Day of Prayer, Day of Sorrow

May 11, 1986

May 1 was a sad day in Downey. Sad because our public schoolchildren were not allowed to be informed at school that the President had proclaimed it to be a National Day of Prayer for America.

I know this only because I sent a note that day to my children's grammar school principal suggesting that she might announce this to the children and encourage them to pray for our President and our country as he had asked. She phoned me later to say the district would not allow this because it would violate the separation of church and state.

It is alarming that a few people have decided that the mention of the word "prayer" is a violation of the "separation of church and state" clause. This has gone too far. It is past the time when all God-fearing people of our city and our nation should stand up for their rights. Our children deserve to hear some good news about our country and our leaders; they have that right.

What's happened to our "government of the people, by the people, and for the people" anyway? How did we slip into this position where a handful of objectors are controlling the majority who very much believe in God?

Have we gradually forgotten that America was settled and established by men and women who came seeking religious freedom? Our schoolchildren are censored from learning about God-fearing leaders, those from the past and the present. And now this, that a teacher and principal dare not talk about a national day of prayer for fear some ignorant of America's history, and the spirit of the Constitution, will yell "separation of church and state!"

If we don't protest now, the minority of godless people in our land will someday decide that the singing of "God Bless America" is a crime against the state. Perhaps these people would prefer that we watch Communist military parades on May 1 instead of observing a day of prayer for our beloved country.

--PATTI SHARPE

Downey

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