Proposed Resolution #7 for the U.S. Congress and the Legislatures of the Several States:
Recitation in the Public Schools
In the face of the debate over prayer in the public schools, all local school districts are free, if they so choose, to include in their school days a public recitation or acknowledgment of the following words from the Declaration of Independence:
“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.”
We recognize that the word “Men” as used in the Declaration is understood in its best literary sense as inclusive of all humankind – men, women and children. It was this commitment to unalienable rights as endowed by God that enabled the United States to overcome inherited evils. Especially, it has allowed us to legally emancipate Blacks and women to fully participate in our democratic republic. And the same is needed for Native Americans. These words from the Declaration form the basis for the U.S. Constitution’s concept of civil rights.
We believe that such a public recitation addresses two equal concerns among the citizenry:
- It is not a prayer, and it is completely free of any establishment of religion in accord with the First Amendment; and
- It reflects the historical belief of our nation’s founding fathers that human rights are given by the Creator, the expression of which is consistent with the free exercise of religion in accord with the First Amendment.
We also believe it would be good to have the recitation of the First Amendment itself in the public schools:
“Congress shall make no law respecting the establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.”