Daily Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country
of West Texas
Tuesday, September 14, 1999
By Peggy McCracken
Granny D getting closer to
her goal in Washington, D.C.
Granny D. crossed the Mississippi River west of Memphis, Tenn.,
Tuesday, marking the 2,000th mile in her trek across the country in support
of campaign finance reform. That's two-thirds of the 3,000-mile trip from
California to Washington, D.C.
You may remember that Granny D, aka Doris Haddock, a feisty 89-year-old
widow from Dublin, N.H., stopped in Pecos back in the spring and spoke
at the Relay for Life sponsored by the American Cancer Society.
She told me then that her purpose is to memorialize her late husband
and a friend who died last year by arousing the American people to rid
Congress of "soft money," campaign contributions from corporations that
erode our one-person, one-vote democracy.
I looked up the Bipartisan Campaign Finance Reform bill that was supposed
to be debated in the House last week and in the Senate in October, but
I couldn't understand it. You know, most of those representatives are lawyers,
and they write bills that are so full of legalese it is hard to figure
out what they mean.
But as I understand Granny D., she wants the laws changed so that big
contributors don't control the votes of our representatives. That seems
a worthy goal, and I admire Granny for putting feet to her prayers.
Granny walks 10 miles a day, rain or shine. She gets up early to get
in as many miles as she can before the heat of the day, and quits about
11. Along the way, individuals and businesses have provided lodging and
meals, either in their homes or in motels. Some people drop what they are
doing and walk a little way with her. I noticed on her web site that a
14-year-old boy whose family put her up in their motel was so excited,
he walked with her two days. Another drove 200 miles to see her in person.
"People bless me with their hopes for America," Granny said while in
Texas. "They are not bitter, but they are disturbed. They are Americans,
so they are relentless in their determination to be the free citizens of
a beautiful democracy."
Can you imagine anyone with arthritis and other pains of old age getting
up at 5 a.m., putting on walking shoes and a bright vest, then heading
into the sunrise to plod 10 miles down the road? Every day? Six days a
Granny told me she didn't want to sit in front of the TV and eat bon-bons
for the rest of her life. She aims to walk into our nation's capital on
her 90th birthday, Jan. 24, 2000, one year and three weeks after leaving
Los Angeles. If I were a gambler, I would bet that she makes it.
Editor's Note: Peggy McCracken is a reporter and webmaster
whose column appears monthly. E-mail your comments to
School Prayer belongs in schools
Prayer belongs in American schools.
It belongs in the class room at the beginning of the day and it belongs
on the grid iron when coaches and players invoke the Lord to watch over
However, it is not the place of the local school board to defy state
law and expose the school district to the costs of litigation.
It is the school board's job to act in the best interest of the school
system and it has done so.
None of this, however, makes the ban on school prayer right and certainly
doesn't relieve us of the duty to fight this backward interpretation of
the First Amendment prohibition against establishment of a state religion.
The First Amendment reads in part, "Congress shall make no law respecting
the establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof;..."
That is then entire clause upon which the ban on prayer is based.
A quick glance back in history clearly shows that this part of the First
Amendment was written as a protection against an official state church.
It was written in response to the official Church of England and the taxes
levied by the government to support that church.
It was a prohibition on the state founding a church, compelling worship,
and compelling support of that church through taxes.
That is the original intent behind this portion of the First Amendment.
And nothing more.
The authors did not intend to completely divorce religion from government
— and realized that such a divorce was impossible.
As it is, we are simply substituting state supported agnosticism/atheism
For now, we are faced with this ACLU-supported, fools' interpretation
of the First Amendment.
Is the war over?
But the first shots have been fired and those that feel this prohibition
on prayer is wrong need to organize and fight back.
Asking our school board to defy the ban and allowing our school system
to bear the brunt of this fight is foolish. That is a battle the school
system must loose in a court of law and is similar to cutting off your
nose to spite your face.
But there are ways to fight smart.
This interpretation of the First Amendment is nothing more than a product
of the government we have elected and the judges that government has appointed
over the past decades.
It is an interpretation by people who are willing to corrupt the Constitution
in favor of their own beliefs rather than going to the trouble to amend
it. (Or perhaps they realize that they cannot gain the support needed to
amend, so corruption is their only option).
And just as such people can be elected and appointed, different people,
those willing to abide by a common sense interpretation of the Constitution,
can be elected and appointed.
In other words, vote. Write your elected officials. Call them. The Enterprise
prints many of their phone numbers on this page every Tuesday. Organize.
Work to elect congressmen, senators and a president or governor who
will support the Constitution rather than bending the words to fit their
Form a political action committee. Solicit funding and contribute to
Or just disobey. Civil disobedience has been the trump card of the ACLU
for years — often for just and righteous causes. This time the ACLU is
wrong, but that doesn't mean its tactics are invalid or ineffective.
This is how the no-prayer faction got where it is. It didn't happen
overnight. It happened over the course of decades.
There is no quick fix to turn this tide. If prayer is to come back to
Texas schools it will be through the sweat and sacrifice of individual
citizens fighting for what is just.
The people of Pecos have done it again! They really pulled for us this
year and helped make the 1999 Jerry Lewis MDA Telethon a winner with $53.1
million in pledges and contributions!
By taking part in local MDA events, by calling in pledges to the Telethon
broadcast on KWES-TV, Channel 9, by helping "my kids" in other ways, Pecos
Enterprise readers have made a huge difference for families throughout
Texas and across the nation.
They've helped speed MDA-funded research and around the globe. Moreover,
they've helped maintain the national network of clinics that resulted in
MDA becoming the first organization honored by the American Medical Association
with a lifetime achievement award "for significant and lasting contributions
to the health and welfare of humanity."
For making the 1999 MDA Telethon a bell-ringer, thanks, Pecos!
National, Chairman, Muscular Dystrophy Association
Oasis of West Texas proves to be a success
Greetings from Balmorhea "The Oasis of West Texas". I just wanted to thank
all involved in making this year Labor Day Festival a resounding success.
It is hard work but the satisfaction comes from watching friends and family
have fun. In today's E-World it's important that we connect as family,
friends and community. The Oasis of West Texas Labor Day Festival is our
once a year connection bonanza. We hope you enjoyed it.
Back to the E-World, if you have suggestions or comments contact me
a firstname.lastname@example.org or P.O. Box 53 Balmorhea, TX 79718.
PAT BRIJALBA, JR.
P-B-T just following law on prayer ban
Mr. Matt Williamson's address to the P-B-T School Board concerning prayer
at Football games was nothing short of thugery and bullying. For a professed
Christian who publicly chooses to follow the Lord, his tactics and methods
were unchristian. In fact, they had all the flavor of barspeak (The loose,
rude, belligerent and boastful and lying variety.)
He and his group failed to find the facts regarding the issue. The truth
is that neither P-B-T board members, administrators, employees, nor students
are involved in the law suit which gave the State of Texas the ruling that
prayer was not to be allowed at Football games. This is not opinion, but
law. Local School Boards throughout Texas were not polled nor was consent
given by any School Board outlawing prayer. Unlike, Mr. Williamson, I have
polled our Superintendent, our School Board members, many of our professional
and para-professional staff and students. No one I spoke with is in favor
of this ruling. Another fact that Mr. Williamson failed to recognize is
that the School Board as a governing body and Superintendent as its chief
administrator are bound by an oath to obey all the Federal, State and Local
Laws, regardless of personal opinions. This, I believe, is a very Christian
As Community leaders, we must set the standard. I do not believe it
appropriate that those we have elected to assure the enforcement of all
the laws take it upon themselves to break those laws they disagree with.
Such behavior when it relates to our children smacks of disobedience and
disrespect. Again our kids get that same message from adults; Do as I say,
not as I do.
Yes, I believe in prayer to the Father, Son and the Holy Spirit. I pray
to Our Blessed Virgin Mother, and to the Saints. I believe that everyone
should be allowed to pray when and where they want. Sadly, the Federal
Courts and I are at odds on this issue. And no amount of self-serving sermonizing
is going to change the facts.
Count me as a believer of Prayer and Petition as the mightiest tool
at our disposal. Ask me to join in prayer asking God to remove all obstacles
to allow the Law to reflect what is in our hearts. I'll gladly join. Try
to bully me. I'll ask you to meet me behind the bar or cantina of your
Board should not be held liable for new law
For at least several reasons, I don't believe that the Pecos-Barstow-Toyah
School Board has the authority to act on school prayer. In our society
the government works for you and me, not the other way around.
It is not the prerogative of our government to act apart from the will
of the people. Right now we are telling our School Board (through our court
systems) that we don't want prayer in our schools.
If we really want prayer, then we need to let the folks who establish
law, and the folks who interpret the constitution know, in no uncertain
terms, how we feel and what we will accept.
Personally, I feel prohibition of public prayer in a school system or
any other government system violates my right to free speech (I have a
right to the public expression of my viewpoint) and, ironically, ominously,
establishes a state sponsored religion (The state, in restricting public
expressions of faith, is establishing an appropriate civic religion where
one thing with respect to faith is appropriate and another is not. See
the case of Lee et al. v. Weisman, 112 S. Ct. 2649 (1992).
Finally, it would be convenient to ask our School Board to stick their
necks our on behalf of prayer, while we, the general public do nothing.
I've heard of no legal defense fund being set up, or any call of boycotts,
or have heard of no parent pulling their child out of extracurricular activities
or even out of school over the lack of prayer. Calling for the School Board
to act in this case is akin to cheering Jesus on his way to the cross,
thanking him for what his sacrifice means to us, and then refusing to pick
up our own cross and follow him.
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York M. "Smokey" Briggs, Publisher
Peggy McCracken, Webmaster
Division of Buckner News Alliance, Inc.
324 S. Cedar St., Pecos, TX 79772
Phone 915-445-5475, FAX 915-445-4321
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