While the speeches at the Democratic convention concentrated on the economy, health care, and national security as reasons to support the Democrats over the Republicans, Paul Ryan provided a reminder that voting Democratic is also important to preserve our heritage of separation of church and state. Ryan spoke out in favor of prayer in the public schools while campaigning in Utah:
Republican vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan said Wednesday that he supports prayer in public schools.
The Wisconsin congressman addressed the issue during a brief stop inside a Republican volunteer center in Provo, Utah. He was in the state to attend a fundraiser.
Asked by a volunteer whether he supported giving states the right to allow “prayer or pledge” in schools, Ryan said he did.
“That’s a constitutional issue of the states, moral responsibility of parents, education,” Ryan continued.
“Exactly, so I am hoping to try and push that,” said the volunteer, 40-year-old Jenny Free, of Highland, Utah, a mother of nine.
“You know in Utah, I would think you would have a pretty good chance,” Ryan responded.
The remarks are generally in line with GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney, who said last year that he supports prayer in public schools as well. Romney told an Iowa audience that there should be more prayer in schools and more “religious ornamentation” in the public square.
This is an example of how radical this Republican ticket is. Back in 2007 Mike Huckabee questioned the need for prayer in public schools:
The family that prays together doesn’t have to worry about the absence of government-mandated prayer in public schools, Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee told a group of reporters today.
The comments from Huckabee, who recently stepped down after a successful decade as Arkansas governor, were something of a surprise coming from the former Southern Baptist minister who has enjoyed support from Christian conservatives in his political climb — and hopes to do so again in his bid for Republicans’ 2008 presidential nomination. Decades after the Supreme Court struck down prayer in public schools as an unconstitutional violation of religious freedom, the issue continues to rankle Christian conservatives.
But Huckabee said he never could understand why so many people “railed against (the absence of) prayer in schools when they didn’t even pray at home.”
The former governor’s remarks on prayer came as he answered a question on whether the U.S.—contrary to Bush administration policy — should be diplomatically engaging Iran and Syria to address the Mideast conflicts. “Generally I don’t think talking to someone is a sign of weakness. It’s a sign of strength,” Huckabee said. Then, in making the point that people should seek out different points of view, as an aside he noted that fellow conservatives often had asked him why he and his wife sent their children to public schools rather than to Christian schools.
“I felt it was not the schools’ job,” he said, to teach his children to pray, but the family’s. For himself, Huckabee quipped, “I prayed in school every time I took a math test.”