Saying the nation's youth need better moral training, Rep. Howard Nielson, R-Utah, joined other House conservatives Thursday to introduce a constitutional amendment to allow prayer and teaching Judeo-Christian values in schools.
The "Community Life Amendment" would allow local, public school districts to decide whether to allow prayers and teaching of such things as the Ten Commandments and biblical accounts of the creation of the Earth.Nielson said, "I believe the majority of the people in Utah and throughout the nation support the idea of allowing voluntary prayer in public schools. I think the Supreme Court has done this country a great disservice by rendering a series of decisions that have denied our schoolchildren any formal recognition of a supreme being," Nielson said.
"I believe it's significant that since the first anti-prayer decision was handed down by the court in 1962, there have been dramatic increases in teenage suicide rates, premarital sex activity among teenagers, pregnancies and abortions among teenagers, use of drugs among teenagers, teenage runaways and other indicators that indicate our youth have lacked in proper moral training."
He added, "It is significant that in the same period, there has been a dramatic drop in the SAT (Scholastic Aptitude Test) scores achieved by our high school graduates."
The bill's main sponsor, Rep. William E. Dannemeyer, R-Calif., said at a press conference with his cosponsors, "Intellectually deprived youths, materialistic attitudes, child abuses, teenage pregnancies and abortions are just some of the fruits born when values and ethics are separated from their source, God."
Another co-sponsor, Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, R-Calif., said, "It's ironic that we in Congress start every day with prayer, but our schools are denied that right."