So said Austin Saxon some years ago. He was right then,
Austin, in this case, referred to the practice of bowing one's head over the test and asking silently for divine intervention to guide the hand and thoughts of the poor student in hopes of getting a passing grade and on up the academic ladder to the point where honor students pray they'll maintain their honor status.
So I ask you, do you support prayer in school? Before you answer, read this.
Now I ask you again, do you support prayer in school?
I then refer you to the toon at right, an image which I have enlarged a bit for my buddy Art and an image which will not
I never said I supported it. I merely use the illustration to make a point. But to answer your unasked question: I am not a Christian - any more. I am a follower of the man we call The Christ. Further, this is exactly why I will not support prayer in schools.
"Huh?" you ask.
Jesus never forced Himself on anyone nor did He demand anyone believe. He offered and suggested and even told us if our GENTLE EFFORTS do not work "Shake the dust from your feet."
Do you know what it says?
First Amendment: Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
Let us now jump to the 14th Amendment.
This applies the Constitution to the various states. So, the prohibitions on religion as enumerated in the First Amendment
This next may get a bit confusing. I will try to make sense. If I don't, please, post comments and I'll try to clarify.
Public education in the US receives federal dollars.
With federal dollars comes federal oversight.
As the federal government CANNOT pass laws saying which religion is appropriate and which is not, it then cannot pass laws regarding prayer in school.
Lost my mind you say? Wrong, you say?
The same set of affairs applies to state government. Public education in this nation receives state tax dollars.
With that comes state oversight.
The states are also restricted, thanks to the 14th amendment, by the first amendment.
You may say I am still wrong.
Federal and state governments have the right to dictate educational matters to the local districts.
You don't like that, fine. Form a private school. There
Fact is, you take their money, you play by their rules.
The rule says, government cannot say which religion is correct, right and appropriate.
Since government CANNOT say which religions are suitable, the same coin says government cannot say which religions are not suitable. Subject to intelligent laws like banning human sacrifice and so forth.
So the question then is:
Are you willing to allow prayer in schools?
If the government can't point to one religion as appropriate, it must, by default, either refuse to accept any religion or accept all religions.
Allowing only Christian prayer is a direct contravention of the Constitution. Doesn't matter what the Constitution is based on. Fact is, it prevents government from taking an active role in religion.
Just to debate, let's say Christian prayer.
All you Baptists out
"Well, sure," you say.
Catholic? Knowing Catholics pray to the saints (not worship the saints) will you allow '
"Uh. Not if it will disrupt the other students in class," you say.
Hold it right there! If I can't raise my hands and speak in
What about Jehovah Witnesses? They believe in Christ, but reject the idea Jesus is part of the Holy trinity. They do not accept Jesus as God.
Can they pray?
We haven't even left Christianity and you are beginning to wonder.
Could Jews pray? How about Samaritans? Samaritans, in case you don't know, are Jews who believe only the first 5 books of the Bible are canonical. They believe in the sacrifice of animals. Before you object, I remind you animal sacrifice is part of the Bible. So is Human Sacrifice, but we shan't go there right now 'cause that would sprain some brains even beyond what is already happening.
Can the Samaritans sacrifice a pair of doves as part of prayer?
How about Muslims? Can they unroll a prayer rug, bow toward Mecca and pray?
Getting uneasy yet? We haven't even left the Judeo theological model.
What about Buddhists?
If you refuse to allow one, just because you are in the majority, what happens when your brand of religion is in the minority and the majority bans your prayer?
If you say "
Besides which, that statement sounds a lot like some extremist Muslims who kill Christians simply for being Christian.
Furthermore, is that really fair? The Constitution is set up to provide parity and equality and to be fair. All religions are treated exactly the same under the Constitution.
When you start treating one religion differently, then you violate the Constitution.
When you start forcing your brand of belief on others (which is exactly what happens with government-sanctioned prayer), then what makes you any better than a Muslim beheading a Christian?
|Anton LaVey - |
Did you know the US military books for chaplains include sections on how to hold Satanic rituals? Reckon they should be allowed in school? Would it surprise you to know I read Anton LaVey's "Satanic Bible" in school? (It is quite droll, BTW).
Uh oh. Those pesky First and 14th amendments!
Isn't a good thing that we can't require prayer in school? If we did require it, can you imagine the consternation of Baptists everywhere when I showed up to lead them to baptism in the holy spirit so they could pray in tongues? Or a Catholic priest shows up to teach the rosary? Or a JW shows up to teach that Jesus is not really God?
It's no step at all from requiring a certain form of prayer in school to mandating the teaching of a specific form of religion.
All that said, as long as there are math tests, there will be prayer in schools. It'll just be a quiet, one-person prayer with no government oversight, injunction or regulation.
That kind of prayer, I believe we can all support.