As usual, Herb Silverman’s July 16 letter about Sen. Larry Grooms and the Lord’s Prayer nails it. I want to expand on Silverman’s statement: “The Lord’s Prayer, which Sen. Grooms believes unites us, is even controversial among Christians.”
When I was in public school, 1940-52 in Rhode Island, we were forced to recite that prayer daily. Jews were told it “was good for them.” Rhode Island then was the only state where Roman Catholicism was the majority religion. The Catholic influence pervaded public schools because perhaps 75 percent of the faculty were Catholic.
Young Irish and Italian girls had only two real choices of a profession in those days: nursing and teaching. In junior high we were made to say the prayer in Latin because “that’s the way it’s supposed to be said.” We were given copies of the Paternoster, which of course did not include the Doxology, the ending used by me and most Protestants.
Several of us went to the Latin teacher, religion undisclosed, and asked her for a Latin translation of the Doxology, which she promptly did. We made copies and distributed them to classmates we knew were Protestant. The next day during the saying of the prayer, the teacher was visibly upset when we finished the prayer with our little addendum, but to his credit, he said nothing.
But, contrary to Sen. Grooms, there was nothing in this forced saying of the Lord’s Prayer that united us.
David D. Peterson