Monday, February 26, 2024

Balancing Acts – Navigating Prayer, Belief, and Law in Public Schools.

February 10, 2024 by  
Filed under BM, Christian Talk, News, Opinion, Weekly Columns

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( Many of us can remember the arguments made about taking prayer out of the schools. If your parents were “devout” Christians, the argument was simple…removing prayer from schools would unleash hell in a sense. Many that argued for prayer to be in the schools had no regard for the rights of citizens that were not Christians. In some places children who came from Muslim families had to exist in spaces of education that did not respect their beliefs.

Black Americans, Asian Americans, Mexican Americans and White Americans: Balancing Acts - Navigating Prayer, Belief, and Law in Public Schools.

The truth is prayer in schools, or not, was more regional and community based, because unless the school was a private religious school prayer was voluntary. No one has ever had the right to enforce prayer in a public school. I know this won’t sit well with some, but the truth of this matter would prevent arguments that infringes on the rights of others. For parents that feel anyone should be able to pray in school as their faith dictates…you are so much closer to the law. The thing is anyone can pray in the school…the school just can’t sanction such.

No one has been denied the right to pray in school. This is a point that needs to be understood. Example, if your child prays over their food before meals, they can do this at school. What cannot happen is the school saying “everyone bow your head” while make the children all repeat a prayer before lunch. It’s understandable that given the state of society some parents may want the extra moral presence that they feel prayer in the schools would provide. Unfortunately, that is not a guarantee to help deter the violence we’re seeing in schools, but it does guarantee that someone’s rights be it student, facility, or staff will be infringed upon. This even extends to clubs at school…if the Fellowship of Christian Athletes is allowed to exist at a school…a club of any other belief must be allowed to exist also even if it’s a satanist club, as has recently been proven. If you feel strongly that your child needs school sanctioned prayer and religious activities that solely reflect your religious beliefs private school is an option, as this cannot be achieved in a public school. It might be difficult to come to terms with, based on what has been taught to some, but America is not a Christian nation, and our laws reflect such. Freedom of religion exist because are not a Christian nation…public schools must reflect this.

One thing we must consider is ways to equip our children for school, while still respecting the law. As previously mentioned, students can gather on their own to pray. They can have bible discussions / study during their lunch time if they choose. However, parents might want to also fortify the children at home. One can argue we might be asking the schools to do too much. The constant in a child’s life is the parents. School is a part of their community that does have an influence, but the school is not responsible for rearing the children. It can be argued that a lack of prayer in school might not be the issue, as much as the need for more hands on parenting. The school can’t call for prayer, but maybe the family can pray together before school. Be careful in making the argument that there is simply too much to be done in the morning before school, because if that’s the case the school can definitely say the same…it’s too much.

Whether public or private school is the choice we must not try to force the law, nor the school, to uphold the religious or spiritual values we want our children to have. We see that happening in this country where parent’s rights are masking religious rights to the point that the schools are no longer able to do their job of preparing our students academically without the curriculum being in jeopardy due to parental objection that really gets back to religious preferences. Some can argue the same can be said for the church…it shouldn’t be the introduction to religious beliefs more the standard as it can be argued again the parents are at the core of a child’s foundation regarding beliefs.

School sanctioned prayer is not available, but we can encourage our children to practice their beliefs within the bounds of the law while respecting the practices of other students that are different from them. This is where kindness and tolerance can have a positive effect on our schools and allow kids to feel less alone. There are more ways to practice one’s beliefs other than just prayer.

Staff Writer; Christian Starr

May connect with this sister over at FacebookC. Starr and also TwitterMrzZeta.

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One Response to “Balancing Acts – Navigating Prayer, Belief, and Law in Public Schools.”
  1. Laura Poole says:

    I understand your point, but I believe that we, as Christians, are too silent on issues like this. Other religions do not hesitate to express their opinions when something conflicts with their beliefs. I firmly believe that prayer is necessary in a school setting.

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