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School Prayer

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School Prayer

How would you feel if a system of beliefs that you didn't agree with was forced upon you? Would you sit back and let it happen or would you stand up for your rights? What if your child's rights were being violated? Some people think that prayer in public schools should be mandatory, but I strongly disagree. At many times in our nation's history students, regardless of their parent's and their own personal religious beliefs and values, have been forced to pray to a higher power. Prayer in school violates the rights of people who do not subscribe to the faith being promoted by those prayers. In some areas of this country, especially the South, the issue is amazingly still up for debate. I feel that forcing students to pray at the beginning of each school day is wrong because it violates the Bill of Rights, disrespects whatever other religious beliefs they may have, and could be against the wishes of their parents.

The 1st Amendment of the Bill of Rights clearly states that there is a separation of church and state. The government should not respect an establishment of religion, according to it. The 1 st Amendment is a bedrock of American tradition, encompassing all we hold dear as a free country. It is part of the highest law of the land, The United States Constitution. Now, what constitutes an "establishment of religion"? In my opinion, that means that the government should not show favoritism towards a particular faith. In nearly all circumstances in the U.S. Christianity is the religion which is most associated with organized school prayer; Evangelical Christianity seems to be most active in promoting it. To allow school prayer at the behest of Evangelical Christians would be showing favoritism towards that specific brand of Christianity. I feel this is an obvious breach of constitutionally enshrined liberty.

Organized prayer in school disrespects the beliefs of students who do not agree with the view promulgated by the prayers chosen for them to say or listen to in class. No school district is totally religiously homogenous, and therefore you will certainly have students who are not Evangelical Christians, or in many cases even Christian. For younger students, the message that the school would be sending to them is that their religion isn't good enough, and that the one promoted by the school is correct. Kids are told by their parents to pay attention in schools, and that what they learn there is correct. When these children learn math, science, and religion together they will assume that the religious content of the prayer is every bit as true as 2+2=4. For older students it would be completely offensive to have someone force them to pray in a way they don't see fit. Muslims, Jews, and many denominations of Christianity pray in certain distinct ways that would not be represented at all by the school prayer. I for instance, as a Mormon, am taught to pray in a way that would almost certainly not be used. Muslims say set ritual prayers in Arabic. Aside from the students who are even religious, there are large numbers of young people who don't even recognize the presence of a higher power. Telling an atheist student to pray is tantamount to telling someone

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