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To Pray or not toPray

By JUDITH BROWN

Special to USAfrica The Newspaper, Houston
USAfricaonline.comand NigeriaCentral.com


The Supreme Court opens with a prayer...
The Congress opens with a prayer...
We have 'In God we trust' on all of the U.S currencies...
Yetprayer is almost totally prohibited in schools. It seems the onlyclear separation between church and state is in the school system. Adouble standard clearly exists. It will be 40 years on June 25, 2002since the Engel vs. Vitale court case which removed prayers frompublic schools. Texas, Virginia, Ohio, Illinois, just to mention afew, have all proposed laws and bills in the last few years to allowprayer back in schools. The ongoingbid by the state of Louisiana started in 1999. At that time,Louisiana lawmakers passed a law allowing praying out loud in schoolsbut in June 2000, a federal judge declared it unconstitutional andthe ruling was upheld by the U.S. 5th circuit court of appeals.

Now, Louisiana is looking at another house bill attempting toreinstate the original state law thatallowed schools to hold a moment of silent meditation or prayer eachmorning. The vote was 100-0 in favor of the bill. The bill now goesto Senate for considerationÖ but the American Civil LibertiesUnion (ACLU) criticizes the bill. The ACLU believes that publicschools must be neutral in such 'matters of conscience' and that theplace to promote religion is in the home and places of worship chosenby parents.

Remember Madalyn Murray O'Hair who led the charge to remove prayerfrom public schools? She sought to live her entire life in a mannerconsistent with atheism yet in the secrecy of her diaries, sheadmitted it was impossible.

In 1827, atheist, Robert Ingersoll wrote, 'The book, called theBible, is filled with passages equally horrible, unjust andatrocious. This is the book to be read in schools in order to makeour children loving, kind and gentle! This is the book they wish tobe recognized in our Constitution as the source of all authority andjustice.'

Au Contraire, Ingersoll! More than a century later, with no prayeror bible in schools, we see an exponential decline: teenagepregnancies are on the rise, AIDS is spreading, drug use is rampant,and kids carry guns which they donít hesitate to use! The listgoes on and on.

If prayer will help instill 'matters of conscience' in ourchildren, must we not adopt the 'by any means necessary' philosophy?Although we 'claim' not to want prayer in our schools, we tend toturn to prayer publicly in times of trouble and sorrow. After theColumbine shootings and September 11th, there was a call for anational day of prayer. Our children who have been told theycanít pray in schools (publicly) watched the leaders of theircountries, and people of all religions, races and creeds all prayingto God! Yet, prayer in schools is controversial. Go figure!
Brown, contributing editor of USAfricaonline.com and USAfrica TheNewspaper, has published original research papers in pharmaceuticaljournals and holds a doctorate of pharmacy degree from the Universityof Texas at Austin where she is pursuing a graduate degree inPharmaceutics. She writes on health and faith matters for USAfricaMedia Networks, Houston.


INSIGHT
The Middle East and the Isle Of Polyphemus. By Prof. Wole Soyinka.
The irrationalities of the Israeli government and the United States have been mind-boggling - they would be ludicrous if they were not fraught with such predictable tragic consequences. Their insistence for instance, at the early stages of the recent intifada, that the Palestinians observe at least a week of violence-free moratorium before peace talks could begin, was surely apparent to all beings with a claim to reasoning - except those two world leaders - as a demand of unbelievable infantilism, long before Sharon recognised and acknowledged its futility. What my brief stay among ordinary Palestinians did was simply to compel me to revisit that, and allied policy statements by the Israeli government, promoted with such galling insensitivity by the United States government.... Numerous were the accounts of women who gave birth at checkpoints because of the inflexible control that was exercised over the movements of ordinary people, of deaths that occurred right within ambulances that were trapped in convoys or at checkpoints.... Was I sufficiently detached during this visit? Of course. And then again, of course not. It is not possible to take a purely clinical, objective view of the situation in Palestine. When human beings are being blown up in restaurants, in hotels, and especially with a singularly grotesque sense of timing - while sitting down to a holy feast, such as the Passover - one experiences both rage and horror at the perpetrators.


Why Powell's mission to the Middle East failed. By Jonathan Elendu
Nelson Mandela, Tribute to the world's political superstar and Lion of Africa. By Chido Nwangwu 
Winnie Madikizela-Mandela's burden mounts with murder charges, trials

Why Bush should focus on
dangers facing Nigeria's return to democracy and Obasanjo's slipperyslide
TRIBUTE
A KING FOR ALL TIMES: Why Martin Luther King's legacy and vision are relevant into 21st 21st century.




DIPLOMACY Walter Carrington: African-American diplomat who put principles above self for Nigeria (USAfrica's founder Chido Nwangwu with Ambassador Carrington at the U.S. embassy, Nigeria)

The Economics of Elections in Nigeria
HUMAN RIGHTS AND DEMOCRACY
How far, how deep will Nigeria's human rights commission go?
Rtd. Gen. Babangida trip as emissary for Nigeria's Obasanjo to Sudan raises curiosity, questions about what next in power play?
110 minutes with Hakeem Olajuwon

DEMOCRACY'S WARRIOR
Out of Africa. The cock that crows in the morning belongs to one household but his voice is the property of the neighborhood. -- Chinua Achebe, Anthills of the Savannah. An editor carries on his crusade against public corruption and press censorship in his native Nigeria and other African countries. By John Suval.

Africa suffers the scourge of the virus. This life and pain of Kgomotso Mahlangu, a five-month-old AIDS patient (above) in a hospital in the Kalafong township near Pretoria, South Africa, on October 26, 1999, brings a certain, frightening reality to the sweeping and devastating destruction of human beings who form the core of any definition of a country's future, its national security, actual and potential economic development and internal markets.


22 million Africans HIV-infected, ill with AIDS while African leaders ignore disaster-in-waiting

In a special report a few hours after the history-making nomination,
USAfricaonline.com Founder and Publisher Chido Nwangwu places Powell within the trajectory of history and into his unfolding clout and relevance in an essay titled 'Why Colin Powell brings gravitas, credibility and star power to Bush presidency.'

Powell named Secretary State by G.W. Bush; bipartisan commendations follow.

AFRICA AND THE U.S. ELECTIONS
Beyond U.S. electoral shenanigans, rewards and dynamics of a democratic republic hold lessons for African politics.
CONTINENTAL AGENDA
Bush's position on Africa is "ill-advised." The position stated by Republican presidential aspirant and Governor of Texas, George Bush where he said that "Africa will not be an area of priority" in his presidency has been questioned by USAfricaonline.com Publisher Chido Nwangwu. He added that Bush's "pre-election position was neither validated by the economic exchanges nor geo-strategic interests of our two continents."

These views were stated during an interview CNN's anchor Bernard Shaw and senior analyst Jeff Greenfield had with Mr. Nwangwu on Saturday November 18, 2000 during a special edition of 'Inside Politics 2000.'
Nwangwu, adviser to the Mayor of Houston (the 4th largest city in the U.S., and immigrant home to thousands of Africans) argued further that "the issues of the heritage interests of 35 million African-Americans in Africa, the volume and value of oil business between between the U.S and Nigeria and the horrendous AIDS crisis in Africa do not lend any basis for Governor Bush's ill-advised position which removes Africa from fair consideration" were he to be elected president.
By Al Johnson


It's wrong to stereotype Nigerians as Drug Dealers

Private initiative, free market forces, and more democratization are Keys to prosperity in Africa

Should Africa debates begin and end at The New York Times and The Washington Post? No
Johnnie Cochran will soon learn that defending Abacha's loot is not as simple as his O.J Simpson's case. By Chido Nwangwu
Apple announces Titanium, "killer apps" and other ground-breaking products for 2001. iTunes makes a record 500,000 downloads.

Steve Jobs extends digital magic

Since 1958, Achebe's "Things Fall Apart" set a standard of artistic excellence, and more. By Douglas Killam

Nigerian stabbed to death in his bathroom in Houston.
Cheryl Mills' first class defense of Clinton and her detractors' game