Pros and Cons of Prayer in School

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What are the pros and cons of prayer in school?

The pros and cons of prayer in schools remain a widely debated topic. The First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution says "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 people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."

Known as the establishment clause, the First Amendment has been the basis for the controversy. In 1962, standard prayer was removed from all public schools. Since then, there has been increased hatred toward religion, and dangerously proclaiming not "freedom of religion" but "freedom from religion." Many have jumped on the bandwagon screaming "separation of church and state."

"Separation of Church and State" is not in the U.S. Constitution. Its source (a personal letter) and meaning has been totally misconstrued. A prohibition of school prayer violates the democratic choice of students. Our founding fathers' idea of a separate church and state has been taken out of context; thus, why many say prayer in school should be allowed, but not required. At the heart of every religion, there is a way to express one's deepest thoughts and feelings - prayer.

The year after prayer was taken out of schools, the pregnancy rate for girls under fifteen increased from 5,000 per year to 27,000 per year, and SAT scores plummeted. Since then, violence exploded and drug use skyrocketed. A mere coincidence? Not at all!

A recent poll showed that 55% of those surveyed said there was too little religious influence in American life. And during the 2004-election year, other polls state that 80%+ of all Americans claim to be religious and pray. So how can we take prayer out of schools when the basis of our Bill of Rights comes from the teachings in Exodus, Matthew, Isaiah, and the words of Paul? The very foundations of our society are based on the Bible. It says "Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God" (Philippians 4:6). And in 1 Thessalonians 5:17-18 we are instructed to "Pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus."

To allow individual prayer, at one's own choice of participation is legal. To mandate standard prayer is illegal. The good thing about that is that one can choose to pray, or not, to whatever god they choose. Therefore one praying to Allah, or Buddha, or Satan can not require a Christian or Jew to participate. Atheists have the right to choose not to participate at all. However, we must look at this ban vs. the condition of public schools since. Has the Supreme Courts decision in 1962 really been a good thing? Have they disregarded the insight of the framers of our Constitution? So it seems.



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