Newspaper Editor letter exchange Part 1 - Continued

Dear Editor

Letters to the editor -- 1986 to 1989

Before this letter, I never found it necessary to write letters to the editor. I never belonged to any freethought organizations or groups, looking back I wished that I had. When the battle over prayer in public school football games started, we (as a family) were own our own. The following is the first letter to a newspaper that I've ever written. In this letter I tried to appeal to the idea that Christianity was good. Wow, I certainly learned otherwise. This letter is a little sloppy, but over time, I've gotten a little better -- I hope. Many letters were written to the editor since this first one.

Douglas County Sentinel September 30, 1986 - Front page heading - Jager - Christians are intolerant of other views

Edited's Note: William Jager is the father of Doug Jager, the Douglas County High School student whose lawsuit resulted in a federal Court ruling prohibiting an invocation at Douglas County High School football games. The Sentinel contacted Mr. Jager for his comments on the court ruling and the community's response to the lawsuit and court ruling. Mr. Jager submitted the following written statement to the newspaper Friday afternoon:

It was too much to ask of you just to be Christians.

What did we do? Stood up for our rights under the First Amendment of the United States Constitution. That seems to have been a terrible thing to do in the eyes of Southern Protestant Christians. For us, that has taken much courage because we already knew and predicted what you would be like, and you sure did not disappoint me. I can understand why it is that very few people will take that stand, for it's even dangerous to those who will show support.

Public events such as football at public schools is not a place for us to pray. Go to the church of your choice. Pray all you like I don't mind. Pray to yourself, since prayer is a very personal thing. I don't mind.

There is no way that the speaker can represent all the religions of the world. At best all that he or she could represent is the Christian faith, plus one would have to look at the speaker, for it would be the symbolic representation of his or her religion, both acceptable and unacceptable to the people of the audience.

If a Buddhist gave a nondenominational prayer, would that he acceptable? By the standing and bowing your had in prayer, you become a part of that worship. That is interesting. I would like to see you stand and worship Buddha without protest.

Southern Protestant Christians are unsympathetic and intolerant of any religion or point of view other than their own. That makes you a very closed minded group of people. Granted, some of you are reasonable even if we don't share the same point of view, but I can count these on one hand. I don't need much of an education to count that far. Because of situations like this, the First Amendment of the United States Constitution is very necessary.

People of Douglas County have been confused, at loss, and angry with the recent ruling of the federal court. The phone calls I have received reflect just that. It also reflects a lack of understanding about the United States Constitution. That tells me something.

I have received many telephone calls from irate Southern Protestant Christians telling me to leave the country (the best I can do there I guess is`go back to the reservation, your ancestors stole all my land).[Alaska had only one reservation that I know of, Karluk about 27 miles from my home village]. I find this very interesting since this is coming from people from people who claim to love this country and think that it is great. Without the United States Constitution this would not be a great country. Read it -- study it -- then if it is not to your liking you may as well pack your bags.

Christian principles: For those of you who say you are Christian and then in the next breath excuse yourself for not living up to the Christian principles by saying you are not perfect. I have found in my life people are just as perfect as they want to be, no more and no less. I do not buy your cop-out excuse, go tell it to another Christian and furthermore, I am not a Christian. Don't tell me to live up to those principles that you fail to live up to yourself.

Would any of you Southern Protestant Christians care to listen to your fellow Southern Protestant Christians who called up on my phone demanding prayer to continued at the football games. Listen to their nasty, mean, threatening comments, It is all on tape and you Southern Protestant Christians can be very proud of them in your continuing battle to keep the prayer at football games.

For those few Christians who called up in support, this is not meant for you. I respect you greatly.

William Jager

Comment: The next four letters to the editor are a typical cross section of Douglas County, GA. These letters represent the bigoted hysteria from some Christians in Douglas County, Georgia, on pre-game prayer in public schools. One letter to the editor is from a young 14 year old girl, concerned parent, an angry hostile male Christian and a preacher. This should give the reader some idea why we received so many threatening calls on the days the church serviced ended.

Douglas County Sentinel September 30, 1986 - Times may have changed, but God is still the same


I would like to comment on the federal court decision regarding prayer at the Douglas County foot ball games.

The first thing that I would like to say is that the courts failed to include the rights of the Christians and Protestants of this country. I guess that the only thing that we are ever concerned with is mixing religion and state. I would like to ask each of you parents how many times you have asked the question of what is wrong with this country and the kids today. I believe that this could he one of the problems.

I just wonder if eventually we are going to have to take the statement from our money which says "In God We Trust." And don't forget the Star Spangled Banner and God Bless America. I guess they are unconstitutional as well.

I wonder if God does bless America. I realize that times have changed and that people change, and unfortunately the morality in this country has changed, but God has not.

If in the l700s someone had objected to prayer in our schools or anywhere else, they probably would have been flogged. Think about it.

Shelly J. Carter, Concerned parent

Douglas County Sentinel September 30, 1986 - Church, state separation isn't in Constitution


If there is anyone in Douglas County with a backbone stronger than a noodle, now is the time for you to stand up for what you believe.

It is almost impossible to believe than anyone who has passed the Bar or has a law degree can speak of "separation of church and state."

Let me try and put it so even an A.C.L.U. attorney can understand it - "It doesn't say that in the U:S. Constitution!" The phrase "separation of church and state" is nowhere, I repeat, nowhere, to be found in the U.S. Constitution.

What the constitution says is this: "The federal government shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof." We are not wanting to make a law that says you have to pray before a football game. We are wanting our right to exercise our religion.

"The wall of separation between church and state is a metaphor based upon bad history, a metaphor which has proved useless as a guide to judging. It should he frankly and explicitly abandoned," according to Justice Rehnquist of the U.S. Supreme Court, Lawsuits such as this do not show neutrality toward religion. They show a definite hostility toward religion.

Maybe the A.C.L.U. got confused while they were reading the Karl Marx papers a other communist literature However they got their erroneous ideas, I beg to differ With them.

The U.S. Was not founded upon the idea of separation of church and state. This nation was founded upon the Christian religion. Justice Douglas of the Supreme Court stated, "We are a religious people whose institutions presuppose a supreme Being (God)."

He added, "We have prayers in our legislative halls, we have appeals to God by our chief executives. We have the proclamation making Thanksgiving Day a holiday, we have 'In God We Trust' on our money, and 'So Help Me God' in the oaths of our elected offices."

Justices Douglas added, "One might even he so foolish to object to how the Supreme Court opens every session with "'God Save the United States and his Honorable Court."'

If you as a citizen do not let people know where you stand, we will continue to have one or two people telling an entire school what to do.

I want to make this perfectly clear to everyone involved In these types of lawsuits and to officials who bow down a personal whims. To me, you are a disgrace to the great United states of America and the justice system.

Dan Spruiell, Winston

Douglas County Sentinel September 30, 1986 - Other things will follow if prayers are taken away


My name is Kelly Rivers and I am 14 years old. I go to Douglas County High School, I am writing on the issue of eliminating the pregame prayer.

I believe that it is not right to eliminate this prayer. The First Amendment gives us freedom of religion, speech, press and assembly.

Freedom of religion - it doesn't hurt anyone to pray, or it wouldn't have been included in the amendments passed to us by our forefathers.

Also, have you ever taken the time to listen to what you say when you pledge your allegiance to the flag? This is what you are saying: "I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the Republic stands, one nation under God indivisible with liberty and justice for all."

Our nation is based on the leadership of God, according to the pledge of allegiance. What would happen if you were to forget about God, as some people have. Our nation would he very bad off. For who created man? God did. Who created the earth and breathed the breath of life into man, and who created the heavens and the animals and trees? God did.

So if you took prayer away from something as simple as a football game, asking God to look after the boys as they play, then I ask why is there prayer on national TV on channels you vetch every day?

If you take prayer away, then something else will be taken, and then something else. And soon we will be living under a dictatorship with no freedom at all.

So please don't let prayer be taken away from the football pregame routine. Someone needs to do something about it.

Thank you,

Kelly Rivers

Douglas County Sentinel September 30,1986 - All denominations should take a stand for God


As a minister, pastor, Christian and citizen of Douglas county, I would like to make a denominations to make a stand for God.

Have all your people, your friends and neighbors sign a petition against individuals break the tradition of prayer at our football games. These boys need our prayers.

Citizens of Douglas County, are you going to sit and let this happen to us? Let's all stand up for God's rights.

I am the Pastor of Mt. Carmel Church of God, and I am making this plea to all people. Let's get this petition signed and to the judge as soon as possible. We live in a democratic world where. the majority rules. Prayer definitely won't hurt our schools.

Rev. J. Pascal Armstrong

These are but a sampling of the letters to the editor that continued for months during and after the pre-game prayer court lawsuit ended.

Bill Jager

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Newspaper Editor letter exchange Part 1 Continued