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This Essay Is All About Going Against School Prayer.

767 words - 3 pages

Public schools exist to educate, not to proselytize. Religion is private,and schools are public, so it is appropriate that the two should not mix.Our public schools are for all children, whether Catholic, Baptist, Quaker,atheist, Buddhist, Jewish, agnostic. The schools are supported by alltaxpayers, and therefore should be free of religious observances. Whenreligion has invaded our public school system, it has singled out the loneJewish student, the class Unitarian or agnostic, the children in the minority.Individual, silent, personal prayer never has and never could beoutlawed in public schools. It is dishonest to call any prayer "voluntary"that is encouraged or required by a public official or legislature. Bydefinition, if the government suggests that students pray, whether bypenning the prayer, asking them to vote whether to pray or setting asidetime to pray, it is endorsing and promoting that prayer. It doesn't seemright for schools to schedule worship as an official part of the school day,school sports or activities, or to use prayer to formalize graduationceremonies. Such prayers are more "mandatory" than "voluntary."At the time the U.S. Supreme Court issued its 1962 and 1963 decreesagainst school-sponsored prayers and bible-reading, it is estimatedreligious observances were unknown in about half of the nation's publicschools. For nearly half a century, the United States Supreme Court,consistent with this nation's history of secular schools, has ruled againstreligious indoctrination through schools (McCollum v. Board of Education,1948), prayers and devotionals in public schools (Engel v. Vitale, 1962) andprayers and bible-reading (Abington School District v. Schempp, 1963),right up through the 1992 Weisman decision against prayers at publicschool commencements and Santa Fe v. Doe (2000) barring student-ledprayers at public school events .Our political system is a democratic republic in which we usemajority vote to elect certain officials or pass referenda. But we do not usemajority vote to decide what religion, if any, our neighbors must observe.The "majority" is free to worship at home, at tax-exempt churches, on theway to and from school, or privately in school. There are 16 school-lesshours a day when children can pray, not to mention weekends. Many inthe "majority" do not support school prayers. And if the majority religiongets to choose which prayers are said in schools, that would mean a lot ofProtestant kids will be reciting Catholic prayers!...

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