October 2, 2014

Prayer in Schools: 1944 to 2014

The year was 1944. World War II was raging, and students in schools throughout the country were collecting tins cans for recycling to produce armaments for our nation’s defense.

In January of that year, the six, seventh and eighth grade students at Lincoln School in Gettysburg Pennsylvania collected 28,903 tin cans to win Adams County School Honors for collecting the most cans. Melvin Sease topped individual collectors with a total of 2,724 cans.

In a formal presentation service in March, Sease was given the honor of accepting the Tin Can Salvage Flag in behalf of all students.

The program was held in the school auditorium and Judge W. C. Sheely, the master of ceremonies, introduced the speaker, Dr. A. R. Wentz, president of the Gettysburg Theological Seminary. 

The program was opened with the reading of the Bible followed by the reciting of the Lord’s Prayer, the salute to the flag and the singing of “Come Thou, Almighty King.”

It’s been fifty-two years (1962) since the U.S. Supreme Court first ruled that government-endorsed prayer in public schools is unconstitutional. Over the years since 1962, the vacuum that decision created has been filled by what is known as “limited public forums”… faith based student clubs who share their message now with clubs for atheists, humanists, agnostics, Wiccans and Satanists.

Our pubic schools have gone from reading the Bible and prayer to clubs for followers of Satan in sixty-two years. My how times have changed!