Become a digitalPLUS subscriber. 99¢ for 4 weeks.
News Opinion Readers Respond

The framers would have rejected Erhlich's views on public prayer [Letter]

In his zeal to make the case supporting the propriety of public prayer, former Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. bases his argument on two falsehoods ("Freedom of, not from, religion," June 1).

First, he says "the framers never used the phrase 'separation of church and state' — except that Thomas Jefferson coined that phrase, approvingly, in his letter to the Danbury Baptist Church.

James Madison used the same language in his letter to Robert Walsh. Since these men are, respectively, the authors of the Declaration of Independence and the Bill of Rights, I believe they do qualify as the "framers."

Second, Mr. Ehrlich says the context of the First Amendment precludes a religious minority from claiming an "alternative right to be free from offensive practices." Madison, however, used exactly that reasoning in his letters to Rev. Jasper Adams and to Edward Livingston. Madison favored no government intrusion into any religious matter so as to shield religious minorities from possible abuse.

Nor did Madison believe religion should be injected into government proceedings, including legislative assembly prayers, which he called "a palpable violation of equal rights, as well as of Constitutional principles."

Mr. Ehrlich can espouse his support for teacher-led prayer in public schools and government-sanctioned prayers at assemblies. But he cannot state that those views are consistent with the framers' beliefs or their Constitutional intent.

John E. Beasley, Baltimore

To respond to this letter, send an email to Please include your name and contact information.

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
Related Content
  • Middle class value claims are a 'joke' [Commentary]
    Middle class value claims are a 'joke' [Commentary]

    It's the political season, which explains another column of "Things That Bug Me." Herewith my latest list for your consideration:

  • Ehrlich mistaken on tax burden
    Ehrlich mistaken on tax burden

    Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. does not look at the big picture. Is this because he is not interested in giving a fair presentation? In his most recent column (tax bill for government at all levels.

  • What Obama should have said
    What Obama should have said

    Here is what President Barack Obama should have said when he addressed the American people after his party's massive losses in Tuesday's election:

  • American values under Obama
    American values under Obama

    Two columns ago, I passed on a series of political observations from the heartland. Today, a snapshot of American values and viewpoints a decade and a half into the "new" millennium.

  • Hillary all over again
    Hillary all over again

    With the exception of President Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton is the most recognized American politician of this era. Today, she is far and away the Democratic front runner for president. Many believe she is the odds on favorite to win it all — a view supported by a variety of public...

  • Ehrlich's delusions of grandeur
    Ehrlich's delusions of grandeur

    The Sun's front page recently carried the article, "Ehrlich entertains presidential hopes" (Dec. 3), yet it was not April 1. Surely, this was a joke. It's even more preposterous than Martin O'Malley running for president!