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Ryan supports prayer in schools if states agree

Republican vice presidential candidate Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., arrives at a campaign event at the Dallas County Courthouse in Adel, Iowa, Wednesday, Sept. 5, 2012. (Mary Altaffer / Associated Press)
Republican vice presidential candidate Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., arrives at a campaign event at the Dallas County Courthouse in Adel, Iowa, Wednesday, Sept. 5, 2012. (Mary Altaffer / Associated Press)
By Steve Peoples Associated Press

PROVO, Utah (AP) — Republican vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan said Wednesday that he supports prayer in public schools.

The Wisconsin congressman addressed the issue during a brief stop inside a Republican volunteer center in Provo, Utah. He was in the state to attend a fundraiser.

Asked by a volunteer whether he supported giving states the right to allow “prayer or pledge” in schools, Ryan said he did.

“That’s a constitutional issue of the states, moral responsibility of parents, education,” Ryan continued.

“Exactly, so I am hoping to try and push that,” said the volunteer, 40-year-old Jenny Free, of Highland, Utah, a mother of nine.

“You know in Utah, I would think you would have a pretty good chance,” Ryan responded.

The remarks are generally in line with GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney, who said last year that he supports prayer in public schools as well. Romney told an Iowa audience that there should be more prayer in schools and more “religious ornamentation” in the public square.

“I’m not looking for teachers to have prayer every day in the classroom, but I do think at special ceremonies — graduation, football games and the like, that calling on our creator is a good idea,” he told CNN.

In the early 1960s, the Supreme Court struck down government-mandated prayer and Bible study in public schools. Voluntary, individual student prayers are still legal in public schools.

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