The recent decision of the Supreme Court regarding religious exercises in the public schools was not unexpected. The General Assembly of the United Presbyterian Church in the United States of America scooped the denominations by stating at their 175th assembly that “Bible reading and prayers as devotional acts tend toward indoctrination or meaningless ritual and should be omitted for both reasons.” Acceptance of the statement was not unanimous, and most of the arguments over the report of the Committee on Church and State were on this question.

There would be no disagreement on the part of a large segment of the Church on the arguments given for omitting Bible reading and prayer in the public school: that we live in a pluralistic society in which people of all beliefs and of no belief attend our public schools; that we do not want our public schools to be part-time churches; that we would not like to live in a society, such as Spain or some of the South American nations, where religious doctrines are crammed into the minds of those who attend government schools; that merely to read a few verses of Scripture and have a prayer that makes no mention of Christ becomes a mere routine with little vitality of religious devotion.

Responsibility Of The Home

We would agree wholeheartedly that the responsibility for the religious training of the child is first that of the family, and second that of the church. Certainly the Scriptures support this fact. We read: “And what great nation is there, that has statutes and ordinances so righteous as all this law which I set before you this day? Only take heed, and keep your soul diligently, lest you forget the things which your eyes have seen, and lest they depart from your heart all the days ...

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