of prayer is recognized by people of faith in nearly all of the world's
religions," Byrd said, according to the Daily Mail newspaper. "Yet, in
America, prayer is increasingly barred from public life,” based on the
argument that it violates the First Amendment."
the nation's courts pay too much attention to the clause in the First
Amendment that says, "Congress shall make no law respecting an
establishment of religion," and disregards the second part about
"prohibiting the free exercise thereof ..."
"I believe that,
in ruling after ruling, the U.S. courts have been moving perilously
close to prohibiting the free exercise of religion in America,” he
Byrd said the
"ingrained predisposition" in the courts against religious or spiritual
expressions is contrary to the intent of the country's founding
fathers. Byrd discussed this point with Supreme Court Chief Justice
"It seems to me
that any prohibition of voluntary prayer in school violates the right
of our school children to practice freely their religion," the senator
reportedly said. "Any child should be free to pray to God, of his or
her own volition, whether at home, in church or at school."
Byrd also said
that voluntary school prayer would help in "getting the country back on
the right track,” reported the Daily Mail.
will go to the Senate Judiciary Committee for consideration. The
Supreme Court struck down prayer in schools in 1962.
the eighth time in 43 years, Sen. Robert Byrd (D—W.Va.) has proposed
that the U.S. Congress adopt a constitutional amendment allowing
voluntary prayer in public schools. Byrd introduced the amendment in
the U.S. Senate April 27.