The late Jackie Rice was an historian and a Bible scholar. He passed Feb. 11, 2019, at the age of 61. 

He'd taught history at Albertville and in Columbia in South America. 

His father Bobby Rice, a retired teacher himself, found this letter to the editor that Jackie once wrote for another newspaper and he wanted to share it one more time in Jackie's memory. 

"He really studied the Bible," Bobby said. "He read it all the time."

Here's the letter:

Read the Bible

before tackling

the issues

Dear Editor:

Did you know that there are no laws in the United States that ban prayer in public schools? There never has been and even if there were such a law there is no possible way to enforce it. 

Someone once said jokingly that as long as there are tests, there will be prayer in schools. They may have been joking, but you know what they say about things said in jest.

However, there are laws that prohibit school-led prayer. That is prayer led by a school official or student over the PA system or at an assembly.

In fact, the first law prohibiting such prayer pre-dates the Supreme Court decision in Abington Township School District vs. Schemp decided on Dec. 17, 1963, which was the second so-called "school prayer" decision (the first came a year earlier in Engel vs. Vitale).

In fact, the first laws prohibiting such prayer pre-date any Supreme Court ruling and even the United States. It was written some 2,000 years ago in a book quoting the teachings of a man which pseudo-Christians claim they are trying to preserve. In case you didn't catch it, that is the Bible. 

The people who are screaming from the mountaintops that the government and schools have become Godless institutions because school prayer has been banned are contradicting the teachings of Jesus Christ. In the book of Matthew, chapter 6, verses 5-8, it is clearly stated that any public prayer is prohibited. 

"(5) And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men Verily I say unto you, they have their reward.

"(6) But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to the Father which is in secret; and thy Father, which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly.

"(7) But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen; for they think they shall be heard for their much speaking.

"(8) Be not ye therefore like unto them: for your Father knoweth what things ye have need of, before ye ask him."

People should actually read the Bible before they go flying off the handle half-cocked espousing religious dogma that has absolutely nothing to do with their religion. Christianity is supposed to be based on the teachings of Christ and not pretentious, ostentatious rituals just to impress their neighbors. 

I don't know what motivates these people. Could it be they have such weak religious convictions that they have to make a public spectacle out of worship?

The controversy over prayer is but one of many issues over which people take up arms based on their emotions and more importantly the teachings of man rather than Christ. 

When faced with the unspeakable horror that occurs in the world today, it is easy to abandon things like "love thy enemy" and "turn the other cheek."

We often forget that Christ taught compassion and forgiveness. Before you start reciting from the book of Leviticus and Moses, remember Christianity is supposed to be based on the New Testament and more specifically the word of Jesus Christ.

Before defending one's religion, one should know what one is defending.

Jackie T. Rice

Albertville 

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