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Paul Ryan Supports Prayer in Public Schools: 'A Constitutional Issue of the States

The House Budget Committee's ranking Republican Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., listens to comments on Capitol Hill in Washington, March 15, 2010, during the committee's markup on the Reconciliation Act of 2010. (AP Photo/Haraz N. Ghanbari)

PROVO, Utah (TheBlaze/AP) -- It's been a big week for faith in the 2012 election cycle. On the same day that the Democrats rushed to insert "God" back into their platform, 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.

"I'm not looking for teachers to have prayer every day in the classroom, but I do think at special ceremonies -- graduation, football games and the like, that calling on our creator is a good idea," he told CNN.

Ryan's comments were made on the same day that the Democrats decided to put God and Jerusalem back into their platform, after sparking protests for originally removing both. Romney called the initial omission into question, claiming that it "suggests a party that is increasingly out of touch with the mainstream of the American people."

In the early 1960s, the Supreme Court struck down government-mandated prayer and Bible study in public schools. Voluntary, individual student prayers are still legal in public schools.

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