Letter to the Editor

Legal critique regarding prayer - opposing view

Friday, December 26, 2003

To the editor:

I appreciate Todd Diebold's critique of Lee v. Weisman. However, I disagree with his conclusion that the court's opinion was flawed.

There are two questions: 1. Is it obstructing the rights of a member of a religious group (or an atheist or agnostic) to have a public school participate in a prayer for a god or a religion that he or she does not believe in? 2. Is it infringing the rights of a member of the group that the prayer was going to represent to deny the public prayer?

I disagree with Diebold's argument that the answer to question No. 2 is yes and that the answer to question No. 1 is no. I have often heard arguments that members of other religious groups can pray quietly to themselves. However, the argument runs both ways. If the member of a minority religious group can choose to pray to himself, then the members of the majority religious group could likewise pray to themselves.

I believe a single prayer to a god that many people do not believe in is an establishment of religion. Praying silently is still a religious practice, and that right is not infringed upon. As long as there are tests, there will always be prayer in public schools.


Madison, Wis.