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President Kennedy Address School Prayer Controversy

June 27, 1962 - An effort to calm the storm over the Supreme Court’s school prayer decision was made today by President Kennedy. At his news conference, the President pointed out that the decision left the individual free to pray by himself, in his home or church, and said it should encourage Americans to engage in more private religious activity. The President said: “We have in this case a very easy remedy, and that is to pray ourselves. And I would think that it would be a welcome reminder to every American family that we can pray a good deal more at home, we can attend our churches with a good deal more fidelity, and we can make the true meaning of prayer much more important in the lives of all of our children. That power is very much open to us.” The President urged the public to support the decision even though they might disagree. In Congress and elsewhere, fears have been expressed that the court’s decision would mean the elimination of all sorts of religious activity in schools and other public places — readings from the Bible, prayers in Congress itself, and so forth.


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