Prayer in the schools;


The legislature cannot mandate any time for silence, prayer or mediation. That would be contrary to the establishment clause of the Constitution and the separation of church and state.

However, one must consider that in 1864 we added "In God we trust" to our money.
It was determined that those words were not an establishment of religion. And the reason is that God is not religion. Religion is a bureaucracy for the promotion of some particular spiritual philosophy, i.e., Christianity, Buddhism, Islam, Judaism. "In God we trust" does not establish one religion over another. Remember the issue in Europe was not God, but religion, i.e., Catholicism v. Protestantism. No one said that God did not exist. The arguments and wars were about which was the true religion. So we could not place "In Jesus we trust" on our coins" because that would establish Christianity. But we can say "In God we trust."

In 1953, we added "under God" to the pledge of allegiance. Again, that did not establish a religion. "under Buddha" would have.

So we can have a moment allocated to God but not a moment allocated to religion. If we cannot have a moment allocated to God, then we need to take "under God" out of the pledge of allegiance and "In God we trust" off our coins.

My position is that school districts can determine to set aside a moment for God if they desire. The legislature cannot mandate anything. The school districts cannot reference any particular religion and so the prayers and/or the designation of the time of silence must be sanitized so that they do not contain any references to any particular religion. 

(What is interesting here is that Buddhism, Taoism and Hinduism consider God as the Infinite unknowable and Judaism, Christianity and Islam see God as an all knowing, all present male anthropomorphic supreme being. So in truth the God of the Eastern religions is beyond definition and so they really do not understand the concept of a Western God who is finite by the fact that He can be described. The Tao says "The God that can be defined is not the infinite God.  A close look at the atheist position reveals that they do not believe in an anthropomorphic God; they are silent on the Eastern all inclusive concept of God.)

As governor, I would allow moments of silence and prayers to God but none supporting a particular religion. If a school district violated any state laws by acknowledging God in this manner, I would pardon them and thus effectively stop their prosecution under state law while I was governor. 

In regard to the Federal law and Constitution, if the issue became that important to the population, I would select a school and personally go and hold a moment of silence to God in order to force the U S Supreme Court to consider the issue under the guidelines that I have stated above. This would allow me personally to suffer the consequences. I would not advocate or ask anyone else to do this in my place.

The law is dynamic and not static. The law is ever changing. We have a conflict in the application of the law in that we have "In God we Trust" on our money and "under God" in our pledge of allegiance and at the same time we are not allowing a moment to acknowledge God in our schools. The only way to resolve this (federally) is for me as governor, to stand up for what I believe the law should be and create a fact situation for the U S Supreme Court to rule on. The courts are not allowed to rule on a hypothetical fact pattern. That is why it would be necessary for me to lead the school prayer.

This is the difference between WorldPeace and Perry/ Sanchez. It is the difference in web pages where they have slick campaign "sound bites" and I have in-depth discussions of important issues. It is the difference between standing up for what you believe and saying what you think will get you elected. And it is the ability to carefully review and evaluate issues and positions as opposed to selling out a position to the highest bidder.

John WorldPeace
The next governor of Texas
November 3, 2001