Its a scary expression: “Prayer in School”.
The first amendment guarantees that government won’t pick and choose a particular religion above others. It’s meant to protect the public from the government choosing a religion that they may not like. Its also meant to protect those who would chose a different religion, or none at all.
Oh it’s all well and good when the government chooses the majority religion. Christians make up like 80% of this country. If the Government (state or federal) came on TV tomorrow and said, we’re choosing Christianity as the nation’s religion and tomorrow every school day will start and end with a prayer.
There would be a small backlash from the unfaithful, but I’m doubtful there would be riots in the streets.
Now – imagine if the government said, “Okay the religion we were choosing is Islam, and tomorrow school will start and end with reading from the Koran, and the children will bow to the east before lunch”. I can almost guarantee many kids would stay home from school, angry suburban moms would flood the parking lots with their giant SUVs and the police would be called to deal with angry hordes and mass parking issues.
It doesn’t feel good when it’s not YOUR choice, then, does it?
Imagine my concern when I saw a poster on one of my local stores that is encouraging people to come out and “Rally for a return of Christian Prayer to our public schools”. Look, I’m cool with someone having religion at home, or on Sunday, or Saturday, or whenever. But it is not the government’s responsibility to choose one religion over another, nor is it their job to pick WHICH religion and force it on students. That’s mom and dad’s job.
They say they want prayer brought back into school because of a steady moral decline. I blame some of the moral decline on the church. Example:
You can’t teach sex education in my state. Oh sure, you can teach reproduction, with it’s zygotes and ovum and sperm, and the development of the fetus and the parts of the body. You could teach it with zebras for all the information about human reproduction they get. Its the same process. Two animals do it, and a baby gets born later.
But that’s not SEX education. They still split the boys and girls up and talk about their body parts and the changes of puberty. Thats human development, not SEX education. Knowing all about growing hair on your naughty bits and having to shave doesn’t help a teenager figure out what to do when he’s in the back seat of a car firmly on third base, heading towards home.
So we have pregnant teens in our schools, why? Because of the church. If the religious folk would relax a little and figure out that you can tell a kid all you want “abstinence is the best answer, no sex until marriage”, that given the chance a percentage of them WILL be bumping uglies before they put on those wedding bands, maybe you could give them a chance at growing up without a baby in the way. Telling kids “Look, the best thing to do is wait, but if you don’t, these are the options available to prevent pregnancy,” is a smart thing to do, but no, the church won’t let us. If a kid does get pregnant, abortion is right out, because of the stigma put on it by the church, not to mention the band of crazies out in front of the clinics hell-bent on forcing their views on any woman coming in the door, and maybe taking potshots at doctors once in a while.
Because of all these worries, I sent an email to the people holding the rally, and the response was really less than I was hoping for. Worried that they would sniff me out as a trouble-maker, I had to disguise my motives (my apologies to the pastafarians) with some clever believer’s language:
Hello, my name is Steve and I live in X County. I saw your flyer in a store and have a few questions. I won’t be able to attend the rally as I will be out of town, but the idea of returning prayer to school is intriguing, and I would like to know a little bit more about what your ideas are for prayer in schools. In particular:
Everyone pretty much agrees that children and teachers can pray on their own, and students can have their own religious-based clubs. But, you may be fighting a losing battle when it comes to school-lead prayer. Who do you see leading the prayers? Will it be a teacher? Will it be something over the announcements by the principal, for example? Will a religious leader come into the school to do the prayers for the school? How are you going to get around the “separation of church and state” that will surely be brought up?
Will the prayers be something the children bow their heads and listen to, or will they be reciting prayers as well, as a group?
What about children or parents that object, like children who say they are atheists or wiccans or something else? Will they be expected to join the group, will they have to go in the hall or just keep quiet while the rest of the kids enjoy their prayer time? Will they be forced to participate? Will there be bible-based lessons, like memorizing psalms and such, or are you only suggesting prayers at the beginning and end of the day, and at lunch?
What about other religions? Once you open the door to Christian prayers in school, everyone is going to want a turn. What about the Muslims? How are you going to keep to Koran out of our public schools, or things like Odin-worship, Wiccans, Satanists, or that farcical “flying Spaghetti Monster” mess? How are you going to make sure its ONLY Christian prayer?
I look forward to hearing from you!
Have a blessed day.
Their response? This: