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Letter to the Editor

Sen. Hutto: Massey Sides with ACLU against the Lord's Prayer

web posted October 14, 2008
Dear Editor,
I recently read with interest the convoluted explanation that Sen. Shane Massey wrote attempting to justify why he voted against displaying the Lord's Prayer in public schools and other government buildings.  Rather than simply admitting that he in fact voted against the posting of the Lord's Prayer together with other historic documents, he gives a tortured interpretation of his decision. 

My amendment to add the Lord's Prayer to a list of documents that should be posted in schools and government buildings was adopted by a vote of 30-12. This means that it was supported by over seventy percent of the Senators voting, including a majority of the Republicans and a majority of the Democrats. The amendment was offered along with others to allow our students to have the opportunity to be exposed to a broad array of documents that have historical importance to us as a nation.  Sen. Massey simply did not want our students exposed to the Lord's Prayer in school, because he was worried what a court may say about the constitutionality of the bill.  

Sen. Massey says he voted as he did to "ensure" that the other documents in the bill could be displayed.  I did not realize that school boards, county and city leaders needed the permission of Sen. Massey to display items in the public buildings that they were elected to control.  What Sen. Massey is saying is that he voted against the Lord's Prayer, because he wanted to make sure that the Declaration of Independence could be posted in schools. This is ludicrous.  Sen. Massey was simply cowering to the threats of the ACLU and liberal interest groups who opposed the insertion of the Lord's Prayer in the bill.  It appears either that he agrees with the position of these liberal groups or doesn't want to challenge them in Court.

I believe in "Home Rule", the concept that local elected officials are capable of handling local decisions without permission from Columbia.  It is true that I argued against the entire bill.  It was nothing more than another attempt by the "know-it-alls" in Columbia trying to tell the school, city and county officials what "we" thought "they" should do.  I believe that these decisions regarding what should be displayed in a public building should be left to the elected officials that the voters have entrusted to
oversee those buildings.  I lost that debate, and it was clear that we were going to set forth a "list" of acceptable documents.  In that case, I thought that the original list was very limited and should be expanded to include a list of many more documents that are important to Americans.

Does anyone doubt that the Lord's Prayer should be on that list?  The answer apparently is yes - Sen. Massey and the ACLU do.  

Sen. Massey often uses the cliché phrase 'Shaking Up Columbia'.  I guess by that he means he wants to make sure that the ACLU dictates the agenda, that the words "prayer" and "school" should not be used in the same sentence, and that he will vote against things that he fears may be challenged in Court. Sen. Massey should just admit that he did not want the Lord's Prayer displayed in our schools and that is why he voted against it. 

Sen. Brad Hutto (D)
District 40, SC Senate. 

Editor's note: Sen. Massey's letter referred to can be found here.

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