Topics in the News: School Prayer

Hillary Clinton on School Prayer: (Education Nov 8, 2016)
Unconstitutional to post Ten Commandments in schools

Q: Should it be legal to display the Ten Commandments in public schools?

Clinton: In Mrs. Clinton's Senate race in 2000, Mrs. Clinton stated that the posting of the Ten Commandments in public schools is a violation the Constitutional separation between church and state. Source

Click for Hillary Clinton on other issues.   Source: 2016 AFA Action iVoterGuide on 2016 presidential hopefuls

Ted Cruz on School Prayer: (Principles & Values Jun 30, 2015)
First Amendment's purpose is not hostility toward religion

In 2003, the Supreme Court reviewed a decision that the Pledge of Allegiance cannot be recited in public schools. A lower court ruled that, because the pledge says "one nation, under God," it violates the First Amendment clause about "establishment of religion."

The decision was deeply misguided. It was typical of those on the left who are intent on eradicating any vestige of religion from the public sphere. The First Amendment was not adopted to create government hostility to religion; rather, the First Amendment exists to protect the religious liberty of every American.

Texas proudly took the lead in defending the Pledge of Allegiance. My team and I wrote an amicus brief that all fifty attorneys general signed, the first time that every state has signed a single brief submitted to the Supreme Court. And five months later, the Court unanimously reversed the decision of the lower court. We won, and children were once again free to pledge their allegiance to "one nation, under God."

Click for Ted Cruz on other issues.   Source: A Time for Truth, by Ted Cruz, p.147-8

Stacey Abrams on School Prayer: (Principles & Values Mar 3, 2014)
Oppose monument to Ten Commandments at State Capitol

Legislative Summary: A BILL to provide for placement of a monument depicting the Ten Commandments at the Capitol Building. Subject to the availability of funds, there shall be placed within the capitol building or grounds a historic granite monument depicting:Gifts and donations from private individuals, organizations, or foundations shall be accepted.

Legislative Outcome: Passed Senate 40-10-3 on March 12, vote #619; passed House 138-37-5 on March 3, Rep. Abrams voted NO; vote #663; signed by Gov. Deal April 29.

Click for Stacey Abrams on other issues.   Source: Georgia legislative voting records: HB 702

Ted Cruz on School Prayer: (Principles & Values Jul 17, 2011)
Defend Ten Commandments and "under God" in the Pledge

Ted Cruz repeatedly defended the right to free speech and religious expression, including in a landmark decision protecting the Texas Ten Commandments monument. That US Supreme Court victory set a vitally important precedent for the right to display similar monuments across the nation. In addition, Cruz led the way on several cases that preserved the words "under God" in the Pledge of Allegiance and allows students to observe a moment of silence in schools.
Click for Ted Cruz on other issues.   Source: Campaign website,, "Issues"

Jesse Ventura on School Prayer: (Education Apr 1, 2008)
Requiring the Pledge of Allegiance brainwashes students

When the MN legislature passed a Pledge of Allegiance bill that would have required public school students to recite the Pledge, I had my veto pen ready again. That was the way my 4th and final, legislative session ended. Let me expand on my reasoning a little bit. Take the "under God" part of the Pledge. If there is a child in school whose parents are atheists, why should there be a reference to God that they are forced to say? Yet what kid won't do so, rather than face that pressure from their peers if they refuse?

Especially at these young ages, I call it brainwashing to make it mandatory to recite the Pledge of Allegiance. If a teacher wants to make this part of the classroom, all they need to do is simply say, "You know, I'm very patriotic. And every morning when you come into class, I'm going to stand up and say a Pledge of Allegiance to my country. You're welcome to join me if you'd like."

Click for Jesse Ventura on other issues.   Source: Don`t Start the Revolution, by Jesse Ventura, p.187-188

Barack Obama on School Prayer: (Principles & Values Jan 15, 2008)
Despite attack email, pledges Allegiance & uses Bible

Q: There is a lot of false information about you circulating on the Internet. One e-mail in particular alleges that you are trying to hide the fact that you are Muslim; that you took the oath of office on the Koran and not the Bible; that you will not pledge allegiance to the flag. How does your campaign combat this kind of thing?

A: First of all, let’s make clear what the facts are. I am a Christian. I have been sworn in with a Bible. I pledge allegiance and lead the Pledge of Allegiance sometimes in the US Senate, when I’m presiding. But you know, in the Internet age, there are going to be lies that are spread all over the place. Fortunately the American people are smarter than folks give them credit for. My job is to tell the truth, to be straight with the American people about my vision for where the country needs to go. If I’m doing that effectively, then I place my trust in the American people that they will sort out the lies from the truth and they will make a good decision.

Click for Barack Obama on other issues.   Source: 2008 Democratic debate in Las Vegas

Barack Obama on School Prayer: (Families & Children Oct 1, 2006)
Listening to evangelicals bridges major political fault line

Today, white evangelical Christians are the heart and soul of the Republican Party’s grassroots base. It is their issues-abortion, gay marriage, prayer in schools, intelligent design, Terri Schiavo, the posting of the Ten Commandments in the courthouse, home schooling, voucher plans, and the makeup of the Supreme Court-that often dominate the headlines and serve as one of the major fault lines in American politics. The single biggest gap in party affiliation is between those who attend church regularly and those who don’t. Democrats, meanwhile, are scrambling to “get religion,” even as a core segment of our constituency remains stubbornly secular, and fears that the agenda of an assertively Christian nation may not make room for them or their life choices.

The evangelists’ success points to a hunger for the product they are selling, a hunger that goes beyond any particular issue or cause. They need an assurance that somebody out there cares about them, is listening to them.

Click for Barack Obama on other issues.   Source: The Audacity of Hope, by Barack Obama, p.201-2

Marty Walsh on School Prayer: (Principles & Values Sep 20, 2005)
Voted YES on 'one nation under God' in pledge of allegiance

Massachusetts Democratic Party Platform indicates voting NO in Part I: CIVIL RIGHTS:Clause 7: Church & State. [State Rep. Walsh, a Democrat, voted YES].

A Resolution, filed by Rep. Jones (R, North Reading), would reaffirm the reference to "one nation under God" in the pledge of allegiance.

The relevant part of the MassDems Platform is Part I, clause 7: CIVIL RIGHTS AND CIVIL LIBERTIES: We reaffirm our commitment to the constitutional guarantee of separation of church and state, and of the freedom to worship without governmental interference.

Bill H.4402 ; vote number H205

Click for Marty Walsh on other issues.   Source: Massachusetts House voting record via

Mark Sanford on School Prayer: (Education Nov 1, 2002)
Endorses teacher-led prayer & displaying Ten Commandments

Click for Mark Sanford on other issues.   Source: 2002 S.C. Gubernatorial National Political Awareness Test

Jesse Ventura on School Prayer: (Education Jul 2, 2000)
Public schools can’t advocate religion; private prayer OK

By being so afraid to go anywhere near a religious event or topic, the government soon begins to look like it’s discouraging religious practice. The issue over school prayer is a prime example of how sticky this can get. The Supreme Court has repeatedly said no to public school systems that have tried to start their school day with a reading from the Bible or a nondenominational prayer-as well they should: Public schools have no business using their authority to advocate religion. But how far do you take that? Do you want to say that nobody can pray if they’re inside a public building, in case they might offend somebody?

If you go tell a bunch of school kids they’re not allowed to pray when they feel like it, you’re directly violating the “free exercise” clause. I bet we could reach some middle ground. How about a “quiet room,” that could function as a nondenominational chapel?

Click for Jesse Ventura on other issues.   Source: Do I Stand Alone, by Jesse Ventura, p.107-11

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