Friday, March 18, 2011

Do We Really Want Prayer In School?

This is the last of the series Should We Bring Prayer Back in School?   Today I will write my opinions--yes, more than one.

A little clarification:  The law does not prohibit prayer in schools.  It prohibits mandated prayer in schools. 

Let me begin by saying that I am first a Christian.  I accepted Christ as my personal savior and believe that is the only right I have to go to heaven when I leave this earth.  I am second an American.  I believe that we live in the greatest nation on earth.

At church last Sunday, after I had started this series, I heard a woman say "America was founded as a Christian nation and if they don't like it, they should leave."  I agree in theory, however, that is not the way it is in reality.  America is predominately a Christian nation, but the Constitution says nothing about America being a Christian nation.  Rather it says "Freedom of Religion".

"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."
It took four months to write the Constitution.  It was written in rooms with no windows to prevent someone from overhearing the discussions, which had a tendency to become very loud.  It took four months to write an eleven page document.  WHY?  Because these wise men took the time to consider every scenario which could possibly harm this nation and include protection from that in the Constitution. 

We, as Americans believe we are right--that is why we are Americans.  The Pilgrims were being forced to worship in a way that they did not believe.  They attempted to worship in their own way, but were prohibited.  Therefore, they left England.  When writing the Constitution, they wanted to be sure no one would be forced to make that choice again.  They included Freedom of Religion, not Christianity.  Were these men Christians?  Probably.  Why did they not include Christianity in the Constitution?  Because the goal was to establish a nation where no one could be forced to worship in any particular manner or at all.  At that time there was no other nation using that concept. 

There has been much talk about President Obama's beliefs.  He claims to be a Christian. The talk after the election was that he only professed Christianity as a way to win votes.  Let's look at this as a hypothetical scenario:
We have elected a non-Christian President.
We have no protection of Freedom of Religion in the Constitution.,

Would our President have the power to order every citizen to be schooled in the religion of his choice?  Would Christians be told by our leader "This nation is established in my religion and if you don't like it, you should leave"? 

My opinions of having prayer in school:
As a Christian, I say yes because I believe in prayer.
As an American, I say no because I believe in the Constitution of the United States.
As a mother, I say no because I believe it is my job to teach my children to pray.  I came to this conclusion after moving into a neighbor where my family were the only ones of our faith.

As Americans we are given a great many rights.  One of those is to pray any ole time we please.  Just because I am not kneeling, looking up to the ceiling, and chanting, does not mean I am not praying.  I have prayed in a lot of meetings with angry parents and teachers.  We have the right to send our child to any school we choose.  If we believe prayer should be in school, we should send our children to a school established by our faith.  If we believe something is wrong with our government, we have the right to disagree in the voting booth or in some cases, seek action to have a ruling overturned in the courts. 

One right we do not have is the right to force our beliefs on another.  In today's society, I am very grateful for that.
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