Example: [Collected on the Internet, 2002]
PLEASE SIGN THE PETITION BELOW AND PASS THIS ON UNTIL THERE ARE 500 NAMES, THEN SEND TO: President@whitehouse.gov.
Please do not let this petition drop. If you do not want to sign it please just pass it on to someone else. Thank you.
Dear President Bush:
Many of us were deeply touched to hear you recite a portion of
We the people of America are requesting that you lift the prohibition of prayer in schools. As the pledge of our great country states, we are to be "One nation, under God." Please allow the prayers and petitions of our children in schools without the threat of punishment. Currently, adults and children in the schools are prohibited from mentioning God unless of course His name is uttered as part of a curse or profanity. Madeline Murray O'Hare is dead. Let her legacy of atheism in our schools die with her!
Sincerely, The People of America
Origins: No federal law, as claimed in this petition, prohibits students (or teachers) from praying or mentioning God in American schools. The 1963 Supreme Court decisions in the cases of Abington School District v. Schempp and Murray v. Curlett held that requiring students attending public schools to read from the Bible or recite prayers violated
The delivery of a message such as the invocation here — on school property, at school-sponsored events, over the school’s public address system, by a speaker representing the student body, under the supervision of school faculty, and pursuant to a school policy that explicitly and implicitly encourages public prayer — is not properly characterized as "private" speech.
Nonetheless, those who feel that organized school prayer has a place in public schools should consider whether signing an
- The putative recipient of this petition, the President of the United States, cannot effect the change desired. Organized prayer is prohibited in public schools because the Supreme Court of the United States has ruled it a violation of the first amendment to the U.S. constitution. The president is head of the executive branch of our government and has no power to change either the contents or the interpretation of our constitution. Lifting the ban on organized prayer in public schools could only be brought about by the judicial branch (through a case which would provide for judicial review by the Supreme Court of previous interpretations of the establishment clause of the first amendment as related to school prayer) or the legislative branch (through the approval of a proposed constitutional amendment by two-thirds of both houses of Congress and ratification by three-fourths of state legislatures). The president has no direct role in either of these processes — he cannot choose which cases the Supreme Court will hear, nor does he propose or approve constitutional amendments. (He can, of course, influence these processes indirectly through means such as appointing new justices to the Supreme Court, or using his political influence to line up congressional votes behind a proposed constitutional amendment.)
- The method of delivery of this petition is particularly ineffective. Simply e-mail the completed petition to President@whitehouse.gov? As always, results are proportional to efforts, and merely spending a few seconds affixing one's name to an
Last updated: 5 January 2008