America's National Day Of Prayer Should Include All Religions

America's National Day Of Prayer Should Include All Religions

I read with appreciation the front-page article ''New Revival in National Day of Prayer,'' May 4.

I strongly support the National Day of Prayer. However, I find its present form to be exclusive rather than inclusive of the diverse religious and spiritual backgrounds of the people of the United States. I am a Christian. But I find great benefit from joining in prayer with people from the Hindu, Muslim, and Buddhist religions.

If May 4 is truly to be a National Day of Prayer, it needs to include people of all religious faiths. Establishing a National Day of Prayer that is exclusive of many religions will not contribute to peace and harmony.

Jim Thomas, Ben Lomond, Calif.

Government officials who participated in the National Day of Prayer ceremonies were not only acting contrary to the constitutional requirement of church-state separation, but they were also sending a message of disrespect and exclusion to members of minority religions. To prevent these harmful and un-American messages, government officials should follow the example of Thomas Jefferson. He wisely opposed official prayer and said that prayer should be left in the hands of the people, ''where the Constitution has deposited it.''

Joseph C. Sommer, Columbus, Ohio

Prisons shouldn't be luxurious places

I disagree with the opinion-page article ''Why US Prisons Should Keep the Barbells and TV,'' May 2. The nation's prisons are already overcrowded, with more inmates being added daily. Obviously, to have such a great number of criminals, something must be wrong with the judicial process. We allow prisoners the luxuries of television, athletic centers, and counseling facilities to keep them ''occupied.''

We need to make prison as uncomfortable a place as possible. Those who commit crimes should not have an easier life than those who work for a living. Perhaps it is time that we return to the old-time chain gangs. Make the punishment fit the crime.

Amanda Parker, Windsor, Conn.

Chain gains are inhuman

Regarding the editorial ''Chain Gang Reaction,'' May 5: Treating prisoners as shackled slaves is inhuman in the extreme. That such treatment may ''save money for the state of Alabama'' only displays in hyperbole the blinding stupidity of believing that ''the bottom line'' should dominate basic human values and rights. Those responsible for such a heinous policy should be placed in the stock for all to see and to shame.

French philosopher Jean Jacques Rousseau was right: The chains of ignorance and crippling racial prejudice are more destructive of human freedom than iron shackles. Real chain gangs have produced rousing songs of freedom. The oppressive chain of permanent poverty is worse than chafing shackles.

Allan Shields, Mariposa, Calif.

The great legacy of Ginger

What the author fails to mention in the article ''Ginger Rogers Waltzed and Acted Her Way Into Americans' Hearts,'' April 28, is the reason Ginger was unique. She was probably the most versatile actress in the history of show business. She did it all -- and did it brilliantly -- for more then six decades. Her talent was exceptional and boundless. She leaves behind a film legacy of great style, sophistication, and elegance.

William Beyer, Belvidere, Ill.

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