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School-prayer ruling correct

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Another constitutional expert has spoken in the letter from Tyler Hokanson (July 23), as he states his opinion that the Founding Fathers never intended the denial of religious expression in our public institutions. He states that the Constitution intended to prohibit a state-church such as the Church of England, and then he chides the Supreme Court for its recent ruling in the matter of the Santa Fe School District in Texas for misinterpreting the First Amendment's clause prohibiting the "establishment of religion."

Unlike Mr. Hokanson, I am not a constitutional expert, but common sense tells me that the Supreme Court's recent ruling was, in fact, a ruling against the "establishment of religion" in a community where one religion is dominant, in this case Southern Baptists. Those bringing suit against the school board had been subjected to verbal abuse and intimidation by members of the "majority" religion without proper recourse by the school administration, and the prayers given over the public address system at the football games were just one more reminder to the minority that the persecution would continue unchecked.

As a member of Utah's dominant religion and as a former resident, it is my belief that this kind of intimidation was not the norm in Utah, although there is a definite majority religion there. I'm not so sure that non-members of the LDS Church would agree with my assessment, however.

Mr. Hokanson's assertion that the authors of the Constitution wanted to avoid rule by the minority is, in my opinion, a twisting of the intent of that document. The Constitution was intended, first and foremost, as a protection of individual rights, whether they be in the minority or the majority, and the forcing of one's beliefs onto another, whether through intimidation or through sheer force of numbers, is a direct violation of that intent.

K. Lamonte John

Burke, Va.