The Post recently printed a story about a 23-year-old who is suing the state of Maryland {Metro, Dec. 4}. As a practicing atheist, he felt he would suffer emotionally during a nondenomina- tional prayer given at his University of Maryland graduation ceremony. Naturally, the American Civil Liberties Union came to his aid with a squadron of eager young lawyers. (Where were they when Jerry Falwell needed them?) Should his hurt feelings change something appreciated by most longtime taxpayers and tuition-paying parents?

Believers don't expect everyone to pray. They know that to live by faith is a choice. And they may disagree with atheism. But they'll fight to defend their right to make that choice.

As to the timing of the ACLU's decision to take on my old university, doesn't it usually spend all of its time attacking manger scenes and Hanukah candles at this time of the year? These modern-day Herods seem to get really offended at this time of year. Isn't it enough that they also have a secular Christmas to celebrate? How about protesting Santa Claus coming down the chimney and decorated trees? Not to mention the office Christmas party where they can get smashed. Aren't Christians expected to accept these? As for their very own holidays -- how about New Year's Eve?

Our Founding Fathers enjoyed singing real Christmas carols. They enjoyed manger scenes and telling of the first Christmas from a book our kids today are asked not to bring to school. I'm sure they would have liked their descendants to enjoy the same things. Let's hope they can and that Maryland wins the big one.

WILLIAM WHITE Oxon Hill