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Kennedy Urges Americans to Pray at Home or Church; Avoids Other Comment

President John F. Kennedy today declined to state whether he personally agreed with the Supreme Court decision banning prayer in the public schools. He was asked this question at his press conference.

Mr. Kennedy, in explaining his views on amendments proposed yesterday in Congress to sanction prayers and Bible reading in public schools, said that he had not seen such measures and would have to make detemination of the effect on the First Amendment. He said that some agreed and others disagreed with the Supreme Court judgment and that if Americans support the Constitution even though possibly not agreeing with the decision, they can make religion more meaningful through prayer at home or church.

Experts on constitutional procedures indicated that the odds were substantial against adoption of such an amendment, which involves a two-thirds vote in both the House and Senate and ratification by legislatures in three-fourths of the states. The procedure has taken years in approval of some amendments to the Constitution.

Washington newspapers today editorially voiced reservations concerning the Supreme Court decision. The Washington Evening Star said it thought “school authorities in Washington should not act hastily to abandon religious exercises in the city’s public schools. ” The Washington Daily News said the decision was “another case in which the law and common sense collided head-on, with the law coming out on top. “

The Baltimore Sun took exception to the Supreme Court ruling, stating editorially that “any study of American history makes clear that our country was founded by religious men and women and that our Government was based on religious as well as democratic principles. “

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