Rep. Nick Rahall re-introduces amendment to protect prayer in sc - Beckley, Bluefield & Lewisburg News, Weather, Sports

Rahall re-introduces amendment to protect prayer in school

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U.S. Rep. Nick Rahall, D-W.Va., announced this week that he would recognize May 2, National Prayer Day, by re-introducing a constitutional amendment to protect voluntary prayer in public schools.

Rahall's resolution, which he sponsored with the late U.S. Sen. Robert C. Byrd, D-W.Va., in previous Congresses, reads: "Nothing in this Constitution, including any amendment to the Constitution, shall be construed to prohibit voluntary prayer or require prayer in school, or to prohibit voluntary prayer or require prayer at a public school extracurricular activity."

Rahall said Americans have often turned to prayer for comfort, for inspiration and for strength at some of the nation's most trying times.

"As Christians, we know what a powerful tool prayer can be to heal and focus our national energies in common cause, and so did our Founding Fathers," Rahall said in a news release.

He said the current constitutional language has been used to prevent voluntary prayer in schools, something he said he thinks is contrary to the true intent of the Constitution.

"As a Christian and a public servant, I am convinced that the Constitution was intended to ensure that the government not dictate religious practices or prevent individuals from worshipping as they choose – like praying voluntarily in school," Rahall said in the news release. "Many, including early English settlers, came to America to escape governments that established religions or discriminated against certain religious practices, and our Founding Fathers reflected on that when they crafted our government's guiding document.

"Our nation's framers clearly appreciated the value of religion, and I believe the Constitutional intent was to ensure its free practice unimpeded by government interference."