When the Supreme Court declared prayer in schools unconstitutional in 1962, Senate Majority Leader Robert Byrd from West Virginia, who was born this day, Nov. 20, 1917, gave a moving address to Congress. He stated: “On the south banks of Washington’s Tidal Basin, Thomas Jefferson still speaks: ‘God who gave us life gave us liberty. Can the liberties of a nation be secure when we have removed a conviction that these liberties are the gift of God?'” Sen. Byrd concluded: “[Jefferson’s words are] a … warning that to remove God from this country will destroy it.”

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