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PLATFORM : '20 Gods or No God'

May 12, 1991|MAURICE OGDEN | MAURICE OGDEN, a minister of the Unitarian-Universalist Church of Orange County in Anaheim, commented on the the recent California Supreme Court decision banning prayers at public-school graduation ceremonies

Christians and proponents of religious freedom should welcome the decision by the state Supreme Court. Jesus rejected the Pharisee's public prayers and instructed his followers to pray in strict privacy.

The principal architect of American freedom of conscience, Thomas Jefferson, fought to win and protect absolute church/state separation and the right to believe in "20 gods or no God." Any other course, he warned, invited the return of tyranny and the decline of religion.

Jesus and Jefferson were right. In the colonies, the established churches were widely feared and hated. Barely one person in 20 belonged to any religious body. Today's vigorous, free pluralism engages about one in two Americans, who can pray in the privacy of the heart wherever they like (even in school).

Moreover, any sectarian group that wants a religious graduation celebration is free to hold one for those who choose to attend.

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