This relates to your article Dec. 17 about a poem, The New School Prayer, read by a school principal in Clarke County, Ga., which you state was the subject of much controversy and received national coverage in dozens of newspapers and on television across the country.
The article said that some people complained that the poem was offensive and hateful, and crossed the line of separation between church and state.
Why does your article tell us everything, and the identity of everybody involved, but not the substance of the poem? If the incident is newsworthy, so are its facts!
Gould B. Hagler, Augusta
(Editor's note: Thank you for the suggestion. Various versions of the poem are well-circulated on the Internet, and its origins are in dispute. The version read by principal Thomas Craft of Cedar Shoals High School in Athens is below.)
Now I sit me down in school
Where praying is against the rule.
For this great nation under God
Finds mention of him very odd.
If Scripture now the class recites,
It violates the Bill of Rights.
And anytime my head I bow
Becomes a federal matter now.
Our hair can be purple, orange or green,
That's no offense; it's a freedom scene.
The law is specific, the law is precise.
Prayers spoken aloud are a serious vice.
For praying in a public hall
Might offend someone with no faith at all.
In silence alone we must meditate,
God's name is prohibited by the state.
We're allowed to cuss and dress like freaks,
And pierce our noses, tongues and cheeks.
They've outlawed guns, but FIRST the Bible.
To quote the Good Book makes me liable.
We can elect a pregnant Senior Queen,
And the "unwed daddy" our Senior King.
It's "inappropriate" to teach right from wrong,
We're taught that such "judgments" do not belong.
We can get our condoms and birth controls,
Study witchcraft, vampires and totem poles.
But the Ten Commandments are not allowed,
No word of God must reach this crowd.
It's scary here I must confess,
When chaos reigns, the school's a mess.
So, Lord, this silent plea I make:
Should I be shot, my soul please take!