Minnesota’s constitution says no prayer in public schools

Your Jan. 27 editorial says âÄúOfficials are wrongly seeking to regulate prayer in a Minnesota charter school.âÄù Are you sure? Charter schools receive tax money from the state. The crystal-clear language of Article 13, Section 2 of the Minnesota State Constitution says: âÄúIn no case shall any public money or property be appropriated or used for the support of schools wherein the distinctive doctrines, creeds or tenets of any particular Christian or other religious sect are promulgated or taught.âÄù This Constitutional barrier obliged penniless Irish immigrant families to pay the expenses for Catholic parochial schools in the 19th century, and it ought to apply equally to the 21st centuryâÄôs Somali immigrant families if they want Islamic schools. If you donâÄôt like it, feel free to begin the process of amending the Constitution. In the meantime, should the law be flouted? If Muslims get exempted from the law, why shouldnâÄôt every other sect? Your editorial further asserts that âÄúfederal guidelines allow for prayer in school.âÄù It would be most informative if you were to identify those guidelines, if they exist, and explain how they relate to various United States Supreme Court decisions regarding state-sponsored prayer or other religious exercises in public schools. âÄúGuidelinesâÄù are nice, but decisions of the Supreme Court on constitutional disputes, interpreting the Constitution itself, are the law of the land. Oliver Steinberg St. Paul resident