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News Eagle - Hawley, PA
  • One person bullied School District into banning prayer

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  • To the Editor:
    It was with great disappointment that I read the headlines in The News Eagle on Saturday August 24, 2013.
    The Founding Fathers of our Country envisioned a government that guaranteed that there would be no state affiliated religion. It did not ban the belief in a God, Spirit, or Supreme Being or the practice of religion; it guaranteed that government would not force a state religion on anybody or everybody.
    The significance of starting meetings, and celebrations with a moment of prayer has been ingrained in Wallenpaupack's history and heritage. The Eagle points out that for 50 years the Wallenpaupack School District started graduation with an Invocation and ended with Benediction , the Hawley High School since 1879. They believed those practices important to the well being and decision making process of the graduating class, hoping it would help guide them through life. The Congress of the United States starts it's sessions with a prayer, recited by a paid Chaplain, a chance to reflect and choose actions for those reflections. Up until the August School Board Meeting the Wallenpaupack School Board started each meeting with a prayer, now replaced with a moment of silence.
    Governing in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania is a bottom-up process where laws are envisioned and created through a process starting with the general population, thus granting all, including the majority, a say in how laws are created and enforced.
    The Wallenpaupack School Board took a minority dissent, "that we should BAN Prayer at Graduation", expanded it to all prayer, and enacted that policy.
    According to the Eagle the "FREEDOM FROM RELIGION FOUNDATION", has a national membership of over 19,000 members. The population of the Wallenpaupack School District exceeds 20,500.
    The Population of our LOCAL, MID sized school district Exceeds the national membership of an non elected organization who questions our values and traditions.
    Our School Board has acquiesced it's authority and responsibility by not representing the majority of their constituents but rather surrendering to a minority organization's beliefs whose national membership is less than that of the District.
    Disagreeing constituents and students do have options, the State of Pennsylvania offers CYBER Schools, which those students can attend at no personal cost.
    Why should the majority be BULLIED into changing our historical and cultural values ?
    The only thing necessary for a minority to successfully bully its beliefs on the majority "is that good men do nothing!"
    (Signed)
    Robert C. Nied
    Tafton, PA
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