Education: The Offensive Prayer

"Almighty God, we acknowledge our dependence on Thee, and we beg Thy blessings upon us, our parents, our teachers and our country."

Is this 22-word prayer an encroachment on the right to religious freedom? Recited in unison by schoolchildren, the prayer begins each school day in the suburban Long Island school district of Herricks. Last week five property owners in the district brought suit in the New York State Supreme Court to end the practice, waited for a ruling later this month.

The American Civil Liberties Union backed the suit, and Attorney William Butler, presenting the property owners' objections in court, contended that...

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