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Prayer in New York Schools Held Legal

July 7, 1961 - The New York Court of Appeals ruled today that it was legal for public schools to open each day with the non-sectarian prayer recommended by the Board of Regents. The state's highest court voted 5-2 on the constitutionality of the use of the prayer. The prayer in dispute reads as follows: "Almighty God, we acknowledge our dependence upon Thee and we beg Thy blessing upon us, our parents, our teachers and our country." Chief Judge Charles S. Desmond said the prayer "is not 'religious education' nor is it the practice of or establishment of religion in any reasonable meaning of those phrases." Associate Judge Charles W. Froessel, agreeing, said that calling the prayer unconstitutional would be "to stretch the so-called separation of church and state doctrine beyond reason."


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