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    Wondergirl's Avatar
    Wondergirl Posts: 38,799, Reputation: 5431
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    #1

    Apr 1, 2021, 06:37 PM
    Should prayer be obligatory in U.S. schools? Why or why not?
    Schools = public preschools, kindergartens, grade schools, high schools, colleges.
    Athos's Avatar
    Athos Posts: 947, Reputation: 55
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    #2

    Apr 1, 2021, 07:30 PM
    Quote Originally Posted by Wondergirl View Post
    Schools = public preschools, kindergartens, grade schools, high schools, colleges.
    I say no. The simple reason is that there would have to be many prayers to suit the many religions that students are members of. You could separate the different groups, but that would be cumbersome to do - especially if many faiths are involved.

    Another reason, arguably a greater reason, is that government should not be sponsoring public prayer. It would run into a similar problem - how to acknowledge all religions.

    More importantly, even when the nation was founded and was 99% (?) Christian, even then they voted to exclude government from publicly supporting a religion, and public prayer.

    Jefferson coined the phrase "the separation of Church and state" and that philosophy has been with us ever since. (Except for a few die-hard right-wing Christians who prefer the country be a Christian theocracy).
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    Wondergirl Posts: 38,799, Reputation: 5431
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    #3

    Apr 2, 2021, 09:15 AM
    During the early 1950s, I attended a public school in NC. Religion was brought into the public schools weekly by area Baptists and maybe Methodists (Bible stories were told and discussed, Bible verses were memorized, prayers were said). My father, a well-educated Lutheran pastor, objected on the basis of "separation of church and state". Thus, I was not allowed to participate but sat quietly off to the side, an occasional object of derision. And, despite the weekly Christian instruction, the bullies continued to bully, the kids who poked and punched continued their behavior, and the gossipy girls didn't stop spreading rumors about other kids.

    Was my father wrong?
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    #4

    Apr 2, 2021, 01:26 PM
    Quote Originally Posted by Wondergirl View Post
    During the early 1950s, I attended a public school in NC. Religion was brought into the public schools weekly by area Baptists and maybe Methodists (Bible stories were told and discussed, Bible verses were memorized, prayers were said). My father, a well-educated Lutheran pastor, objected on the basis of "separation of church and state". Thus, I was not allowed to participate but sat quietly off to the side, an occasional object of derision.
    Your father was 100% correct. Good for him.

    And, despite the weekly Christian instruction, the bullies continued to bully, the kids who poked and punched continued their behavior, and the gossipy girls didn't stop spreading rumors about other kids.
    Your expectations may have been too high. Prayer can be efficacious in certain instances, but it's not known to be a world-changer.
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    #5

    Apr 2, 2021, 02:27 PM
    Quote Originally Posted by Athos View Post
    Your expectations may have been too high. Prayer can be efficacious in certain instances, but it's not known to be a world-changer.
    They weren't MY expectations but expectations of those who brought religion into the public schools. It didn't make a hill-of-beans difference as far as I could tell.

    I don't remember moral lessons being taught, like "what does this Bible story/Bible verse mean to us today?". It was mostly memory work and prayers. (And I KNEW I could win a Bible for most memorized verses if only my dad would allow me to participate!)
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    #6

    Apr 2, 2021, 03:50 PM
    Quote Originally Posted by Wondergirl View Post
    They weren't MY expectations but expectations of those who brought religion into the public schools. It didn't make a hill-of-beans difference as far as I could tell.
    Right. I should have seen that.
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    #7

    Apr 2, 2021, 04:11 PM
    Isn't the Constitution's "separation of church and state" the reason behind the creation and growth of Christian day schools? -- although the only ones I've ever heard of were Catholic, Lutheran, and Baptist.
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    teacherjenn4 Posts: 4,005, Reputation: 468
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    #8

    Apr 2, 2021, 04:47 PM
    School is for educating my students, not for prayers. I already have a few kiddos who stand politely for the pledge of allegiance, but don’t participate due to their religious beliefs. I can’t even imagine how many issues would come up if we added a prayer in class. Just my opinion as a veteran public school teacher...
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    #9

    Apr 2, 2021, 07:18 PM
    Quote Originally Posted by Wondergirl View Post
    Isn't the Constitution's "separation of church and state" the reason behind the creation and growth of Christian day schools? -- although the only ones I've ever heard of were Catholic, Lutheran, and Baptist.
    Before the pro-school prayer crowd gets here, let me add a nit-pick.

    The phrase is not in the Constitution. It is from a letter Jefferson wrote to a Baptist group which had the phrase, "...a wall of separation between church and the state". He was explaining the First Amendment in different words

    Quote Originally Posted by teacherjenn4 View Post
    I already have a few kiddos who stand politely for the pledge of allegiance, but don’t participate due to their religious beliefs.
    Thanks, I didn't know that about the Pledge of Allegiance. I can't imagine what might be objectionable in the Pledge. What religion is opposed to liberty and justice for all?
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    #10

    Apr 2, 2021, 08:47 PM
    Thanks, I didn't know that about the Pledge of Allegiance. I can't imagine what might be objectionable in the Pledge. What religion is opposed to liberty and justice for all?[/QUOTE]

    From what the I’ve been told over the years, it’s the “one nation under God” section that is the issue. Unfortunately, I don’t know what religion, as most of these parents just tell me that their child will stand during the pledge, but won’t put their right hand over their hearts.
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    #11

    Apr 2, 2021, 09:14 PM
    Quote Originally Posted by teacherjenn4 View Post
    From what the I’ve been told over the years, it’s the “one nation under God” section that is the issue. Unfortunately, I don’t know what religion, as most of these parents just tell me that their child will stand during the pledge, but won’t put their right hand over their hearts.
    I'm guessing they figure the "God" referred to is the Christian God. I remember when that phrase was added. Our teacher often snuck in occasional reviews and recitations throughout the school day until we could say the Pledge without forgetting the new phrase.
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    #12

    Apr 2, 2021, 11:36 PM
    Quote Originally Posted by Wondergirl View Post
    I'm guessing they figure the "God" referred to is the Christian God. I remember when that phrase was added. Our teacher often snuck in occasional reviews and recitations throughout the school day until we could say the Pledge without forgetting the new phrase.
    I remember that too. I think it was around 1954. I had learned it without the "under God", and, like most kids, we didn't like "them" changing what we had learned. I read later that the "them" was the Knights of Columbus, a Catholic group.
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    #13

    Apr 3, 2021, 08:55 AM
    Quote Originally Posted by Athos View Post
    I remember that too. I think it was around 1954. I had learned it without the "under God", and, like most kids, we didn't like "them" changing what we had learned. I read later that the "them" was the Knights of Columbus, a Catholic group.
    Yes, you're correct on the year and the Knights. Wikipedia has a very interesting article about all this:
    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pledge_of_Allegiance

    Interesting tidbit: e.g., The hand-over-heart salute that we do now while reciting the Pledge had first been a "Bellamy salute", but that was discontinued during WW2 because it looked too much like a Nazi salute.
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    waltero Posts: 443, Reputation: 5
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    #14

    Apr 6, 2021, 09:29 AM
    Feeding the Flesh.

    It should be practiced. The same as saying grace before the body begins consuming food.

    "School lunches" are prepared (Muslim) with spiritual awareness.
    Having to hire a Muslim to prepare their edibles.

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