Supporting Prayer In Public Schools Essay

1068 words - 4 pages

“Our Father…” Denied
For centuries, the debate has existed whether or not to allow prayer in public schools. Many Americans feel it is not right of the schools to teach religion. With all the diversity associated with the United States, public schools cannot select one standard religion to practice, due to the cultural and religious differences in the country. Not only are schools the storm center of controversy involving religious differences, they are the principal institution charged with transmitting the identity and mission of the United States from one generation to the next. If we fail in our school policies and classrooms to model and to teach how to live with differences, we endanger our experiment in religious liberty and our unity as a nation.
According to the First Amendment of the Constitution, Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof (usconstitution.net). The writers of the Constitution made it an important point in protecting freedom and religion. The writers then even stressed the importance of being able to be in any religion that suited a person. “The First Amendment of the Constitution removes government from the realm of religious belief and practice so that the state can neither subvert nor manipulate religion to serve secular, public ends” (Keynes and Miller 177). It is pure ignorance for someone to think that one religion is accepted throughout the world. No man or woman should be forced into a specific religion, quieted by peers, or not allowed to gather as a group of students just to pray. “A Congress that allows God to be banned from our schools while our schools can teach about cults, Hitler and even devil worship is wrong, out of touch, and needs some common sense.” Rep. James Traficant, (D-OH) 1999-APR-27 (religioustolerence.net). Prayer should be recited only in the privacy of one’s own head or home. To allow individual prayer at one’s own choice is legal. To mandate standard prayer is illegal. The good thing about this is one can choose to pray, or not, to whatever God they choose. Therefore someone praying to Allah, Buddha, or Satan cannot require a Christian or a Jew to participate. Atheists have the right to choose not to participate. A teacher or a government official cannot stop someone from praying silently. Public schools are for all children, regardless of their race, sex, or religion. Schools are supported by all taxpayers. The U.S. Supreme Court has replaced freedom of religion, guaranteed by the Constitution, for freedom from religion. To ban school prayer diminishes the religious freedom of students who would like to pray and forces them to act according to the dictates of a non-religious minority. School prayer would result in many societal benefits. The public school system is tragically disintegrating as evidenced by the rise in school shootings, increasing drug use, alcoholism, teen pregnancy, and HIV transmission. School prayer...

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