Sunday Gazette-Mail from Charleston, West Virginia on July 13, 1975 · Page 2
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July 13, 1975

Sunday Gazette-Mail from Charleston, West Virginia · Page 2

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Charleston, West Virginia
Issue Date:
Sunday, July 13, 1975
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Page 2
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2-4 Julv 1X1975 * . - Madalyn Murray O'Hair Deep in Mail Prayer Petitions Floodi ng Into Space Center SPACE CENTER. Houston tAP Somewhere, somehow, someone started a rumor about prayer ia space and Madalyn Murray O'Hair and the nation's astronauts are now suddenly chin-deep in mail. No one knows how it started. But Cyril E. Baker, the chief administrator of the astronaut office, says letters and petitions are coming in by the ton from all over the country. Since January, the astronaut office at the Johnson Space Center has received almost a million pieces of mail on space prayer. Already in July, says Baker, there have been more than 200.000 letters. Many of the petitions, he said, have similar wording, suggesting thay may have coaae from a common source. The petitions state that militant atheist Madalyn Murray O'Hair is collecting 27,000 signatures to prevent astronauts from praying or reading the Bible in space. "You can stop her." said one petition. "At least one million letters are needed." Baker said he didn't know of any plans by the Apollo astronauts to pray or read the Bible in space during the joint U.S.-Soviet mission which starts Tuesday. Nor, he said, does he know anything about Mrs. O'Hair's 27,000 signatures or why one million letters are needed. Like many rumors, this one does have some remote factual basis. In December 1968. three astronauts circled the moon on Christmas eve and publicly read from the book of Genesis in the Bible. Later. Mrs. O'Hair filed suit to forbid the astronauts from exercising any religious expression in space. The suit, however, was rejected by the U.S. Supreme Court in March 1971, says Baker, and since then there has been no legal action on the matter. Since 1968, said Baker, there have always been some letters supporting Bible reading in space. He estimates there have been a total of about four million. But since January', the mail has been coming in an avalanche. "It just boomerranged all of a sudden," he said. "It seems like every organization in the country -- churches. Boy Scouts. Knights of Columbus, fraternal organizations -- are getting into the act. Some of them are sending them in in bundles." Many of the letters arrive addressed simply "the astronaut office." Some are mailed with Christmas seals instead of stamps. Others have dimes taped on as postage. ' Baker said at first the astronaut office attempted to acknowledge each letter by sending a reply card. But now his staff is trying to just open and sort. Many of the letters include money "from dollars to dimes," said Baker. "We separate those out and return them." "People are also seeding ia religious cards and prayers." be added. "One eveo sent a translation of the Bible ia Russian ." The administrator said the flood of mail has forced him to put clerks on overtime and to bring in extra help. What happens to the prayer petitions and letters after they're sorted? "We destroy them." he said. "There's just not room to keep them all." Sunday Gazette-Mall Entered os second doss :norter o! the Post Office ot Charleston. W. Vo.. under the oct of March 3. 1897. Independent newspaper published each Sunday morning by the Daily Gazette Company and Daily Moil Publishing Co., a subsidiary of Clay Communications, Inc., in Charleston. W. Vo. 25330 Sunday Gazette-Mail is a member of The Associated Press Ihe Associated Press is entitled to the use of all local news for reproduction. Telephones: Classified Advertising 348-4848 Circulation Department 348-5151 All Other Departments 348-5140 DASH TO STONE'S FAMOUS NAME SWIMWEAR SALE ENTIRE STOCK REG. 16.00 TO 36.00 SALE 10.66 TO 24.00 V We all sometimes find that we've gotten in "over our heads," where money is concerned. But Stone's is having a u giant" swimsuit sale of Junior and Misses styles that lets you save enough to see a "good movie or buy a No. 1 Best Seller." One and Two piece swimwear, coverups and more in yummy fabrics and "beach bait" colors of the season. Junior Sizes 5 to 13 and Misses 8 to 20. Great Savings... Gredt Styles. It's a Sale you can really u sink your teeth into!" JUNIOR AND MISSES SWIMWEAR--Second Floor ;i OUR MOST FAMOUS BRAND SUMMER SPORTSWEAR 4.66 * 25.33 m REGULARLY 7.00-38.00 Out of the water and sitting on the beach or riding a bike, maybe you could be taking a walk or just soaking up some sun, you'll be glad you came to Stone's and got in on our famous maker sportswear sale! All in easy care fabrics like polyester, cotton, terry and more. And in bright sun kissed colors for the prettiest looks this summer ... no matter what you're doing. Come see and save. Misses sizes. CHOOSE FROM: Pants · Halters · Shorts · Culottes · Blouses · Jackets · And Much More SPORTSWEAR--Second Floor Shop Mondays and Fridays 10 to 9 Other Weekdays 10 to 5 Phone 346-0981

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