Posted by: Rachel | August 1, 2011

To Pray or Not to Pray

Want to know one of my pet peeves? Yes, I thought you did! Here goes: I get very frustrated when I hear people say that we need to get God back in our public schools. If a Christian is in a public school then God is there too. But the idea that public school teachers should be leading prayers or reading the Bible is ridiculous.

Imagine that the teachers would one day start praying to God before the start of classes. Everyone is happy right? Except they wouldn’t be, because it wouldn’t be a “Catholic” or “Protestant” or “Baptist” or “Mennonite” prayer. There would be arguments over the proper theology, and people would get huffy, and no-one would be any closer to God than they were before. Growing closer to God has nothing to do with a school-sponsored prayer.

The biggest reason that I think Christians themselves should be glad that there isn’t school-sponsored prayer is because in the USA we have freedom of religion, and so if a “Christian” prayer can be uttered, then so can a “Muslim” or “Buddhist” prayer. Oh the outrage that would bring when all the little Christian children would come home from school with Muslim prayers floating around in their noggins. There is no way that any non-Christian prayers could be outlawed, it would go against everything our great country stands for. One of the reasons many of our Anabaptist forefathers came to America was because they wouldn’t be killed for following their beliefs. The countries they came from had state-sponsored religions. If you didn’t follow the religious whims of the current King, well then, off with your head, or some other atrocious tortuous death.

It isn’t too hard to imagine that if we had school-sponsored prayer/religion that soon we would have government-sponsored prayer/religion. The school is a function of the government and government is to be separate from religion.

There are those who make it sound as if a Christian isn’t even allowed to pray in school. This isn’t correct, one just isn’t allowed to force others to participate in their prayers. If you want to take a Bible to school, fine, put it in your backpack. If you want to pray before you take a test, go ahead, say a little prayer under your breath before you start your quiz. But don’t tell me that you aren’t allowed to pray in school.

Above all, if you really want to have your child praying and hearing the Word while in school, send them to a private religious school. But I warn you, the Lord’s Prayer does not a perfect school make.

Now that I’ve told you my side of the story, (which is to say the correct version) what do you think? Do you have a reason that tax-payer money should be going to teachers so that they can pray in public schools?

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