Originally created 05/30/99

Says religion won't deter violence 053099 - The Augusta Chronicle

Over the last few weeks the responses concerning the Littleton tragedy in the letters section have often stated that the answer to preventing such events is to bring religion back into the schools and to have school prayers.

I believe Andy Reese in his recent letter argued persuasively against this simplistic approach. However, I wish to add some further observations.

The 1940s and '50s were not the Golden Age of Religious Respect and Childhood Obedience that some writers seem to imply. We had our teen-age killers. Remember 1958 with Charles Starkweather and his girlfriend? Perhaps in Georgia and South Carolina there were daily school prayers and religious instruction in public schools in the 1950s. I went to school in the 1950s in Texas and Louisiana and I remember no daily prayers and I remember no religious instruction in public school and we turned out pretty well.

The only prayers which I remember hearing at school events were the prayers over the speaker system at the start of football games and the interminable, windy, and self-serving prayers that a local minister or priest would drone out at the high school graduation ceremonies. Because my family believed in strict separation of church and state (render unto Caesar that which is Caesar's and to God that which is God's) I was deeply offended by these few public school prayers.

There are many causes for violence in our society and we can debate the issues for another hundred years without achieving consensus as to which ones are the most important. However, while we are trying to arrive at root causes we need to address the logistics of keeping guns out of the hands of children and mentally unstable persons. In Europe the people are less ostensibly religious than are Americans but they have a fraction of our violence. Among reasons for this is that they strictly regulate access to firearms. ...

F. D. Martin, Evans


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