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W. Deen Mohammed Weekly Articles


Bilalian News

On Prayer In Schools And Separation Of Church And State

Imam W. Deen Muhammad


{Editor's note: following are excerpts from Imam Warith Deen Muhammad's appearance on "Hotline," a Chicago call-in program heard on radio station WVON and hosted by Renee Pruit, The program was aired Jan. 28, 1981.)



There seems to be a growing interest because the question of my feelings on prayer in public schools keeps coming up. I feel that it would be too much of a problem to come to an agreement. There are too many denominations and too many different religious views.

I think the court should stay out of it, I think we should ask people who represent the American people, and especially religious people, to speak out on it. If we ask them to voice their opinion, I believe we will find most of them saying that they are against formal prayer in the public schools.

I am sure they would be agreeable for a moment of contemplation, or a statement that would express the highest concept of the human aspirations in the field of education. I don't think they would want to have anyone suggest a prayer because that prayer is not going to represent all of us.

I would hope that people in the audience tonight who have pastors or ministers they respect would encourage them to speak out on this issue so different opinions can be aired openly and publicly.



Although 1 don't accept the separation of Church and State, Church "administration," and State "administration" should be separated. 1 think this country has gone too far in advocating separation of Church and State.

It has become now an idea that religion has its place in the secular world and government has its place, and the jurisdictions are so clean-cut that we shouldn't even hint religion or say anything that would suggest religion in the secular body or where governmental supervision is.

I don't think this is healthy for the country, simply because most Americans are God fearing people and they respect religion. To have that idea of separation of Church and State puts religion in an inferior light to government and secular life, when religion in the hearts of most of the American people is above government and above secular life.

The position of the Church in the hearts of the American people and in the hearts of the Christian people should be supported by the government; and really I think the Christian significance is supported when presidents are elected.

When they are officially brought into their office they do show respect for God. There is a kind of holy ceremony that is performed, but once that is done then it seems that religion has no real place in the secular world, and that is not true. The secular world for Christians is still a world that God is in. God is present in the whole life of the Christian people.

Though we don't execute judgment from the pulpit on the land or on the people, we do expect that the majority of the American people would follow some kind of Christian discipline or religious discipline. The significance of the religious life, the Church life, has been played down over the last couple of decades and that has to be corrected.



President Reagan was nominated and elected by a strong Christian movement to bring in respect for the Christians of the United States. I believe these Christian religious bodies have a right to demand that kind of respect because they do make up the majority in the country and they should be respected.

President Carter, in my opinion, better represented Christians in this country—from what I've seen so far of Reagan. We can overdo it, you know, and it makes some people feel that maybe they are going to be persecuted because we all don't believe in the same thing.

If we see too much religious zeal in the President of the United States,  I think would be a cause for some of us to be alarm* or to be somewhat disturbed.

I believe that President Reagan is a good President but I believe that he is still an actor too. I think he is inclined to overdo things. He is not comfortable in the presidency yet and he has to keep a strong image of himself until he can establish his image as President of the United States. I believe his strategy now is identify strongly with the God-fearing people.