The little red schoolhouse seems an unlikely place for a showdown on major national issues. But the American race controversy has had many a classroom climax in recent years. This fall, a new cause for furor in the schoolhouse was to be found in the U. S. Supreme Court’s ruling against compulsory devotions.
It was not termed defiance as such, but as pupils resumed classes there were large pockets of resistance to the court ban.
Seventy per cent of the American public disapproves of the court’s decision, according to a Gallup poll published a few days ago. Only 24 per cent approves. Six per cent gave no opinion.
In Idaho, the practice of daily Bible readings was scheduled to continue as usual, according to D. F. Engleking, state superintendent of public instruction. Engleking said he saw no reason to change, “unless some court tells me otherwise.”
The Delaware State Board of Education, guided by an opinion of State Attorney General David P. Buckson, announced that Bible reading and recital of the Lord’s Prayer would continue in the state’s public schools. Buckson said the Supreme Court’s decision of June 17 banned religious exercises only in Pennsylvania, Maryland, and Florida.
The attorney general of Arkansas, Bruce Bennett, also advised the public schools of his state to continue devotional exercises. He said Arkansas law is permissive and “a far cry from that which was considered in the notorious Abington [Pennsylvania] case.”
Public school officials in Alabama were ordered by the State Board of Education to establish daily readings of the Bible as part of a prescribed course of study.
One of the most detailed analyses of the Supreme Court ruling came from Attorney General Edward Brooke of Massachusetts. Brooke’s twenty-two-page ...1
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