“What’s wrong with America is they have taken prayer out of our schools,” the woman said. Her strong assertion surprised me, although it shouldn’t have. A few vocal advocates blame everything that is wrong in America on the government (villains) taking prayer out of school.
Let’s look at the reality of the situation. Prayer has not been taken out of public schools. Any student can pray privately any time they want or need to. As one young student told me, “They’ll never take prayer out of public schools as long as they give finals.”
What is not allowed is denomination or undenominational prayer, and reading from the Bible, regardless of whether they are voluntary or not, or done by teachers, coaches, or students. There are a couple of reasons for these prohibitions. School prayer violates the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment of the Constitution. It says that government shall make no law respecting the establishment of religion. Because public schools are government funded, prayer led by school officials or incorporated into the school routine equates to government established religion.
Public schools are for all children—Protestants, Catholic, Buddhist, Muslim, agnostics, and atheists. All their parents pay taxes; therefore, either they are entitled to attend a school where religion is not promoted (even the Christian one), or their religious prayers and emphasis should have equal rights. No formal school prayer or religious practices could do justice to the beliefs of all the religions in America.
The issue of prayer in schools has been raised many times. Each time the Supreme Court has upheld the Constitution and ruled against it. It is a battle that has been fought and lost, and rightfully so. Let the school be the school (educational), and the church be the church (religious).
Quit harping about prayer in public schools. Get over it, and get on with your life.