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Essay/Term paper: Prayer in school

Essay, term paper, research paper:  Religion

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A very controversial widespread issue today is the right to have prayer
in public schools. The proposed amendment reads:
"To secure the people"s right to acknowledge God according to the dictates
of conscience. The people"s rights to pray and to recognize their belief,
heritage or traditions on public property, shall not be infringed. The
government shall not require any person to join in the prayer or religious
activity, initiate or designate school prayers, discriminate against any
religion, or deny equal access to benefit on account of religion. (AVSP)"
This would permit but not mandate school prayer. I think that the
government should be focused on the school"s academics, not what religion
they are to study. The proposed amendments would cause nothing but
trouble considering that there would be many arguments on what beliefs
should be taught. Religion is private and schools are public.
Having any prayer in school goes against the basis in which our
country was formed upon. America came into being because colonists
wanted religious freedom. Our founding fathers carefully wrote the
constitution to grant the freedom of separation of church and state. A
prayer created and supported by a government violate the very essence of
the spirit in which the US was formed. (Haas35)
Therefore, having a prayer in school would be unconstitutional. "A
radical school prayer amendment would attack the heart and soul of the bill
of rights which safeguards the rights of the individual from tyranny of the
individual." (Jasper96) Teachers are public employees, paid by the
taxpayers. The time it takes to recite a prayer is an expenditure of tax
dollars. (Haas36 ) This is a violation of the separation of church and state.
This whole issue is a big waste of time because students do have the
right to pray at school. No one can stop them from praying individually,
silently, or personally. this right has never, and could never be outlawed.
The real motive is to install group prayer.(The Case Against School Prayer) I
feel that the school day is not that long, and that if one feels obligated to
express their beliefs in a group, there is plenty of time after school.
There are so many things that could be argued in this amendment. If
passed it would be a never ending war of religious beliefs. Oppressers to
the amendment view that since education is mandatory, how can public
schools impose one religious prayer on all students? (New American
Coalition) If a religion was brought into the classroom, it would build walls
for children who are not aware of religious differences. (Case Against
School Prayer) Public school districts are made of many different types of
people with many different religious beliefs. Students would not be forced
to pray but the minority would feel singled out.( Jasper 108)
Many religious people are against this proposed amendment. In
reality, the only way to make people of different religious beliefs feel
comfortable would be to make the prayers cross cultural. However, any
watered down prayer would result in the deeply religious finding it
meaningless, and an infringement on students who follow no religion.
(Democratic Alliance for Action)) Even religious Christians oppose the
amendment. They say that the bible warns against public prayer. "And
when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in
the synagogues and on the street corners, but when you pray, go into your
room, close the door and pray..."(Bible)
In conclusion, this issue of school prayer could never be passes. It is
unconstitutional and would deny the United States of America its most
cherished characteristic, freedom. There are many ways that this problem
can be solved for those who argue and worry about it. These people can
either send their kids to a private school that will help them to learn their
particular religious belief on an everyday basis, teach their children after
school, or form prayer groups at their own private homes.

1. The Bible. Matthew 6:5-6.
2. Concentric. (1999). Religious Freedom Amendment. [World Wide Web]
3. Democratic Alliance for Action. (1997). Bible Believers Should Oppose
School Prayer. [World Wide Web]
4. Freethought. The Case Against School Prayer. (1999) [World Wide Web]
5. Haas, Carol. Engle v. Vitale. New York: Enslow; 1994.
6. Jasper, Margeret C. Religion and the Law. New York: Oceana, 1998.
7. New America Coalition. school Prayer. [World Wide Web]

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