-THE PROBLEM WITH PRAYER PROJECT- A call for Atheists to give their personal accounts of t

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-THE PROBLEM WITH PRAYER PROJECT- A call for Atheists to give their personal accounts of the problem with school prayer to our country's leaders May 4, 1995 (The National Day of Prayer) to June 17, 1995 (32nd Anniversary of the School Prayer Decision) American Atheists, Inc. P. O. Box 140195 Austin, TX 78714-0195 Telephone: (512) 458-1244 FAX: (512) 467-9525 ***************************************** On May 4 -- by presidential proclamation the National Day of Prayer -- American Atheists will begin THE PROBLEM WITH PRAYER PROJECT. To document the negative effects of school-sponsored religion, THE PROBLEM WITH PRAYER PROJECT will gather the personal, true narratives of Atheists and nonbelievers affected by school prayer. All testimonies should be received by June 17, the thirty-second anniversary of _Murray vs. Curlett,_ the Supreme Court decision which removed Bible reading and prayer recitation from the public schools. These first-person histories will be assembled into a unique and moving documentation of THE PROBLEM WITH PRAYER. Presented with resulting compilation, Congress and state legislatures will be able to hear the individual voices of Atheists and nonbelievers on this important and divisive topic. THE NEED FOR THE PROJECT School prayer advocates have long portrayed objections to school prayer as coming from a disgruntled few -- or even from only "the woman who took prayer out of school," Madalyn O'Hair, founder of American Atheists. THE PROBLEM WITH PRAYER PROJECT means to prove them wrong by collecting and disseminating the actual statements of Atheist students, parents, teachers, and school administrators who object to prayers, moments of silence, religious exercises, and religious instruction in public schools. It is more than just a mere "disgruntled few." Citizens from all walks of life see the problem with prayer. School prayer advocates claim that mandatory prayers and religious exercises cause no harm to students forced to mouth what they do not believe. THE PROBLEM WITH PRAYER PROJECT will assemble the accounts of Atheists who had to suffer through government- sanctioned religion in schools. These testimonies will show the insulting and demeaning nature of forced religious observances. THE RESULTS OF THE PROJECT The compiled essays and testimonies received by THE PROBLEM WITH PRAYER PROJECT will be printed in bound volumes. The actual manuscripts submitted will be reproduced in these volumes in order to preserve the unique tone of each. The compilations will then be presented to members of the U.S. Congress after they return from their July 4 recess. Later in 1995, copies will be sent to members of state legislatures considering school prayer or moment of silence laws. SUBMISSION GUIDELINES Essays and testimonials on the following themes are eligible for submission: **Your experiences as a student in a public school in which there were or are prayers, moments of silence, religious exercises or instruction, or other promotions of religion. **Your experiences as an Atheist parent whose child is or was in a public school in which there is or was prayer or another First Amendment violation. **Your experiences as an Atheist teacher, employee, or administrator in a public school in which there is or was prayer or another state/church separation violation. **Your explanation of why school prayer or other religious ceremonies infringe on your civil rights as an Atheist. Only nonfiction will be accepted. Your essay should accurately depict your experiences, reactions, and opinions. ELIGIBILITY All Atheists are invited to participate in THE PROBLEM WITH PRAYER PROJECT. You need not be a member of American Atheists for your submission to be considered. Submissions from minors will be accepted. To be included, you must be a U.S. citizen or resident. Submissions from the following persons are particularly encouraged: **Current public school students **Former public school students **Parents of children who attended or are attending public school **Public school teachers, employees, or administrators WHAT NOT TO SUBMIT The following types of material will not be used in THE PROBLEM WITH PRAYER PROJECT: **Fiction and poetry **Hearsay. Your account must be from your own personal experience, not from that of friends or relatives. **Accounts of religion in private schools. THE PROBLEM WITH PRAYER PROJECT deals only with religious intrusions into the public school system. **Accounts of religious activities in colleges, junior colleges, or universities. Material will be used which deals with religion only in grades K-12. FORM Manuscripts should be typed or neatly printed in ink on white paper no larger than 8 1/2 by 11 inches. Maximum length is 750 words. Manuscripts must be in English. If selected for inclusion, your manuscript will be reproduced as is, so it is important that it be legible and neat. PHOTOGRAPHS THE PROBLEM WITH PRAYER PROJECT invites the inclusion of photographs with written submissions. Photographs of yourself now or at the time you were in a school with school prayer would enhance your entry. Photographs should be no larger than four inches by four inches. RULES All submissions to THE PROBLEM WITH PRAYER PROJECT must be accompanied by the official submission form. American Atheists, Inc. reserves the right to reject any submission to THE PROBLEM WITH PRAYER PROJECT at any time for any reason. No donation or fee is required with any submission to THE PROBLEM WITH PRAYER PROJECT. PUBLICATION OF PERSONAL INFORMATION No personal address or telephone numbers will be published as part of this documentary project. Only names and states of residence will be given. The address of a participant will be disclosed only when permission is given by that participant. DEADLINE The deadline for inclusion in THE PROBLEM WITH PRAYER PROJECT is June 17. Submissions received after that date will be considered for future resources produced by THE PROBLEM WITH PRAYER PROJECT. WHERE TO SEND YOUR SUBMISSION Submissions must be mailed to: American Atheists, P O Box 140195, Austin, TX 78714-0195. Fax and electronic submissions will also be accepted. ************************************ ************************************ THE PROBLEM WITH PRAYER PROJECT SUBMISSION FORM Mail to: American Atheists, Inc., P.O. Box 140195, Austin, TX 78714-0195 FAX: (512) 467-9525 RELEASE I hereby submit my true narrative (and photograph) for inclusion in THE PROBLEM WITH PRAYER PROJECT. I certify that my submission represents my personal experiences and opinions regarding religion in the public schools. I understand that American Atheists is not obligated to include my submission in the final compilation of submissions. I herewith give my permission for inclusion of my story (in whole or in part, together with my photograph). I understand that I am to receive no money or royalty for the same. I understand that if the results of THE PROBLEM WITH PRAYER PROJECT are published or offered for sale in book form that I will receive no royalties. I am motivated only by the principle of advancing the understanding of separation of state and church and expect no monetary or other rewards of any nature whatsoever. PUBLICATION OF NAME AND STATE If my submission is selected for inclusion in THE PROBLEM WITH PRAYER PROJECT documentary project, I agree that my name and state of residence will be published. [ ] Yes, I agree. [ ] No, I do not agree. PERMISSIONS RELEASE OF INFORMATION TO LEGISLATORS: If a member of Congress or state legislator requests my address or telephone number, THE PROBLEM WITH PRAYER PROJECT may release it to him/her in order that I may be contacted directly. [ ] Yes, I agree. [ ] No, I do not agree. RELEASE OF INFORMATION TO MEDIA: If a representative of the news media requests my address or telephone number, THE PROBLEM WITH PRAYER PROJECT may release it to him/her in order that I may be contacted directly. [ ] Yes, I agree. [ ] No, I do not agree. Signature:.................................. (This form must be signed to be accepted.) Name:......................................... Address:...................................... City:......................................... State:...................Zip:................. Daytime Phone:................................ Evening Phone:................................ Fax:.......................................... Email:........................................ ************************************ ************************************ DONATION (Donation NOT required with any submission to THE PROBLEM WITH PRAYER PROJECT.) [ ] I want to help! I understand that there will be costs for printing and distributing the results of THE PROBLEM WITH PRAYER PROJECT. I am sending, freely, a donation to help with those costs. Name:......................................... Address:...................................... City:......................................... State:...................Zip:................. [ ] Enclosed is my check or money order (payable to American Atheists, Inc.) for $........... [ ] Charge my [ ] VISA [ ] MasterCard for a donation of $......... Card #:........................... Expiration Date:........................... Signature:........................... Donations to American Atheists, Inc. are tax-deductible. *********************************************************************** * * * American Atheists website: http://www.atheists.org * * PO Box 140195 FTP: ftp://ftp.atheists.org * * Austin, TX 78714-0195 * * Voice: (512) 458-1244 Dial-THE-ATHEIST: * * FAX: (512) 467-9525 (512) 458-5731 * * * * Atheist Viewpoint TV: avtv@atheists.org * * Info on American Atheists: info@atheists.org, * * & American Atheist Press include your name and mailing address * * AANEWS -Free subscription: aanews-request@listserv.atheists.org * * and put "info aanews" in message body * * * * This text may be freely downloaded, reprinted, and/other * * otherwise redistributed, provided appropriate point of * * origin credit is given to American Atheists. * * * ***********************************************************************

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