A golden moment of silence

I commend the author of the article ``Moments of Silence Gain Ground,'' Jan. 23. As an agnostic Republican, I would like to comment on statements made by Barry Lynn.

I do not believe the connection between a moment of silence and school prayer is unmistakable. Nor do I believe it is a foot in the door to state-sponsored school prayer. In the numerous times the Supreme Court has ruled on this issue, both liberal and conservative members of the court have issued firm decisions against any form of school prayer. In addition, none of those decisions have sought to expel ``God'' or religion from the classroom.

Rather, in each instance the court has always correctly cited the separation of church and state - very simple, the state should not express a view on religion.

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It is too often overlooked that a moment of silence can be used for any purpose - to pray, meditate, or twiddle one's thumbs. It is the choice of the individual. And the moment teachers or instructors promote any form of prayer, they are in blatant violation of the Constitution.

The First Amendment provides for the freedom not only of religion but from religion. For anyone to believe school prayer is what is needed to help instill positive values in our nation's children and curb our social ills is either sadly mistaken or fundamentally naive. A moment of silence truly is golden. Mike Manning, Washington

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