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Atheists Attack CT City Clerk's Statement That Prayer in Schools Would Make Crime 'Go Away

Faith

"We have to let God in, instead of keeping him out."

Now that the drama surrounding nativity scenes on public grounds has begun to simmer, atheists are setting their sights on other purported violations of church and state.

In New Haven, Connecticut, the Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF) is showcasing its disdain for a recent address from City Clerk Ron Smith that called for prayer to be put back into schools as a way to fight crime.

During Smith's inaugural address, he explained the importance, in his view, of prayer to sustaining society's moral framework.

“You want crime to go away?," he asked. "Put prayer back in schools.”

This statement, made by a public official, has created angst among FFRF leaders. The group sent a letter to Mayor John DeStefano Jr. voicing its frustration with Smith's statements. The letter condemns his words as offensive, "ignorant" and “unconstitutional if put into practice.”

FFRF Co-President Annie Laurie Gaylor, who wrote the letter, went on to claim that Smith was likening non-believers to criminals -- something she obviously took issue with. To counter this idea, she provided information in her letter that allegedly proves that secular nations have lower murder rates than religious ones.

Read her letter, below:

“The purpose of schools is to educate, not to promote religion,” Gaylor continued.

Despite the FFRF's vocal opposition, Smith is standing by his statements on prayer in schools. He believes that prayer in the education system would help prevent crime on the streets. He also acknowledged that each student should be free to say his or her own type of prayer based on his or her beliefs.

“We have to let God in, instead of keeping him out," he said. When we put prayer back in school I believe you will see a change. I’m not stomping on anyone’s religion."

DeStefano released a statement reassuring the FFRF and citizens that prayer will not be placed within public schools. That being said, he went on to state his belief that the religious community could play a positive role in supporting students outside of the school setting.

Gaylor, of course, was overjoyed with the mayor's announcement. “I’m just goin’ to say ‘amen’ to that," she said.

(H/T: NBC Connecticut)

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