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PUBLIC PRAYER EXPANDS EDUCATION

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The idea that all religious music should be removed from the repertoire of the West High School A Cappella because of the principle of "separation of church and state" is not constitutionally sound.

The First Amendment to the Constitution says "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof." Clearly, the Founding Fathers were not trying to remove all religion from government institutions. Instead, they wanted to prevent what happened in England (where the Church of England was established as the official religion and other churches were not tolerated) from occurring here in our nation. These men recognized the importance of religion in all areas - both private and public. To this day, the Supreme Court and the Congress of the United States begin each session with prayer.I don't see how singing Christmas songs in school (or any songs of religious nature) is in any way establishing a specific religion or imposing religious doctrines on students. The same goes for the studying of art or literature with religious themes. Refusing to allow anything with a religious background in our schools would be promoting ignorance toward something that has been an integral part of our society and heritage. Should I be allowed to prevent a biology teacher from presenting the theory of organic evolution, just because I do not believe in it?

Why should school be a place where barriers of intolerance are built for other cultures and religions different than our own? Instead, it should be a place where we can learn about and experience a wide variety of cultures and ideas. This is what the Founding Fathers intended.

Jonathan Brinton

Student, West High School

Salt Lake City