As an American, my reaction to the Sandy Hook school shooting was one of sorrow and sympathy, and a shared pain in my soul thinking about what that horror must have been like.

I was again pained to read a letter to the editor stating that putting prayer into our public schools "may have saved the lives of 20 precious children." Apparently the shooter is not responsible, but those who removed the Christian God from tax funded public schools are.

There is much wrong with this argument. God was never removed from public classrooms. The idea that mere mortals could escort an omnipresent God from any building is absurd. Such statements are really stating that the government, the same one they want out of their lives, is no longer forcing Christian religious beliefs upon our children.

Our country was founded on freedom of religion; this means your government cannot force religious instruction on "we the people." That slogan belongs to all Americans, right and left.

The founding fathers have given us the right to teach our children about our God in our homes, in our chosen religious private schools and in our tax exempt churches while being free from a government sponsored religion being shoved upon us all.

Putting God back into public schools would not save our children, but in reality will separate us more as a nation. Whose God would our government be forced to teach in public schools using public tax money?

Saying secularism in schools has signaled to God that he is not wanted and has removed his protective influences is absurd. The thought that innocent children would be allowed to be brutally murdered due solely to our government not force feeding Christian religious teaching upon them is preposterous. It is most probable that one or more of those children believed in God, yet the letter on Sunday more or less stated that they had to die because God was not wanted at their school.

The Sandy Hook incident will be used as a tipping point for tougher gun control. I fear it will be used as a tipping point for forcing religious teaching into our public schools. Stay away from our right to not have a public funded government influenced religion forced upon our children in public schools.

Children are allowed to pray; they just cannot be instructed to do so by a school official.

Paul Johnson

Mount Airy