I've looking up some on prayer school after one of the people on Team Impact said that every bad statistic about America's schools have went up after pray was outlawed. So I've been searching the web for something to varafy this and this is what I've found.
The Supporting arguement
SOURCE:http://www.allaboutpopularissues.org...school-faq.htmOriginally Posted by allaboutpopularissues.org
SOURCE: http://www.allaboutpopularissues.org/school-prayer.htmSchool Prayer - It’s Obvious Importance.
School Prayer was a primary focus of Darrell Scott’s testimony to the House Judiciary Committee in a special session of the U.S. Congress on Thursday, May 27, 1999. Darrell Scott is the father of Rachel Scott, a victim of the Columbine High School Shootings in Littleton, Colorado.
School Prayer Can Influence Our Children For Good.
What Darrell Scott said to our national leaders regarding school prayer was absolutely true and enlightening for all of us. The following is a portion of the transcript:
“I wrote a poem just four nights ago that expresses my feelings best. This was written before I knew I would be speaking here today.
Your laws ignore our deepest needs,
Your words are empty air.
You've stripped away our heritage,
You've outlawed simple prayer.
Now gunshots fill our classrooms,
And precious children die.
You seek for answers everywhere,
And ask the question, "Why?"
You regulate restrictive laws,
Through legislative creed.
And yet you fail to understand,
That God is what we need!
Men and women are three-part beings. We all consist of body, soul, and spirit. When we refuse to acknowledge a third part of our make-up, we create a void that allows evil, prejudice, and hatred to rush in and wreak havoc.
Spiritual influences were present within our educational systems for most of our nation's history. Many of our major colleges began as theological seminaries. This is a historical fact. What has happened to us as a nation? We have refused to honor God, and in doing so, we open the doors to hatred and violence.
And when something as terrible as Columbine's tragedy occurs, politicians immediately look for a scapegoat such as the NRA. They immediately seek to pass more restrictive laws that contribute to the erosion of our personal and private liberties. We do not need more restrictive laws. Eric and Dylan would not have been stopped by metal detectors. No amount of gun laws can stop someone who spends months planning this type of massacre.
The real villain lies within our own hearts. Political posturing and restrictive legislation are not the answers. The young people of our nation hold the key. There is a spiritual awakening taking place that will not be squelched! We do not need more religion. We do not need more gaudy television evangelists spewing out verbal religious garbage. We do not need more million dollar church buildings built while people with basic needs are being ignored. We do need a change of heart and a humble acknowledgment that this nation was founded on the principle of simple trust in God!
As my son, Craig, lay under that table in the school library and saw his two friends murdered before his very eyes, he did not hesitate to pray in school. I defy any law or politician to deny him that right! I challenge every young person in America, and around the world, to realize that on April 20, 1999, at Columbine High School, prayer was brought back to our schools. Do not let the many prayers offered by those students be in vain. Dare to move into the new millennium with a sacred regard for legislation that protects your God-given right to communicate with Him.”
School Prayer is our right and responsibility.
SOURCE: http://www.allaboutpopularissues.org...school-faq.htmYou are here: Popular Issues >> Learn more about School Prayer. >> Pros and Cons of Prayer in School
What are the pros and cons of prayer in school?
The pros and cons of prayer in schools remain a widely debated topic. The First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution says "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."
Known as the establishment clause, the First Amendment has been the basis for the controversy. In 1962, standard prayer was removed from all public schools. Since then, there has been increased hatred toward religion, and dangerously proclaiming not "freedom of religion" but "freedom from religion." Many have jumped on the bandwagon screaming "separation of church and state."
"Separation of Church and State" is not in the U.S. Constitution. Its source (a personal letter) and meaning has been totally misconstrued. A prohibition of school prayer violates the democratic choice of students. Our founding fathers' idea of a separate church and state has been taken out of context; thus, why many say prayer in school should be allowed, but not required. At the heart of every religion, there is a way to express one's deepest thoughts and feelings - prayer.
The year after prayer was taken out of schools, the pregnancy rate for girls under fifteen increased from 5,000 per year to 27,000 per year, and SAT scores plummeted. Since then, violence exploded and drug use skyrocketed. A mere coincidence? Not at all!
A recent poll showed that 55% of those surveyed said there was too little religious influence in American life. And during the 2004-election year, other polls state that 80%+ of all Americans claim to be religious and pray. So how can we take prayer out of schools when the basis of our Bill of Rights comes from the teachings in Exodus, Matthew, Isaiah, and the words of Paul? The very foundations of our society are based on the Bible. It says "Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God" (Philippians 4:6). And in 1 Thessalonians 5:17-18 we are instructed to "Pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus."
To allow individual prayer, at one's own choice of participation is legal. To mandate standard prayer is illegal. The good thing about that is that one can choose to pray, or not, to whatever god they choose. Therefore one praying to Allah, or Buddha, or Satan can not require a Christian or Jew to participate. Atheists have the right to choose not to participate at all. However, we must look at this ban vs. the condition of public schools since. Has the Supreme Courts decision in 1962 really been a good thing? Have they disregarded the insight of the framers of our Constitution? So it seems.
The arguement against prayer in schools
SOURCE: http://www.atheists.org/publicschools/faqs.prayer.htmlWhat's Wrong with Prayer in Class?
Do Atheists Oppose Prayer Because it Doesn't Work?
Q: What's wrong with having a short prayer in school classrooms? Surveys indicate that the majority of people favor this practice...
A: American Atheists opposes school prayer for a number of reasons. To begin, it is unconstitutional and a clear violation of our First Amendment. Remember, that amendment contains the "Establishment Clause" which prohibits the government from"establishing" religion. Simply put, secular institutions like the public schools should NOT be a forum for religious ritual or indoctrination.
And do a majority of people "support" school prayer? Often, those results depend on exactly how the question happens to be asked. Surveys suggest that most people reject the notion of mandatory prayer. But even if the overwhelming majority thought that prayer was, somehow, a "good idea", that does not make the practice ethically just or constitutional.
American Atheists also points out, in opposing school prayer, that prayer is not efficacious. School prayer is obviously a form of religious indoctrination; it teaches children that there are invisible, supernatural entities which can be implored and appeased through mumbling prayers or reading from holy books.
Should Religious Kids Be Able to Pray?
Q: So, Atheists oppose prayer in schools -- and anywhere else -- because it simply doesn't "work"?
A: Think about it. Does it make sense to believe in an all-knowing, all-powerful and all benevolent "god" (or "gods) who have to be propitiated and reminded that their followers need help and believe in them? And does "god" pay more attention to our existential situation in life when we pray?
What About Voluntary Prayer?
Q: But most people believe in god and prayer. Should religious kids be able to pray?
A: Try taking our "YELLOW PAGES TEST" over in the PUBLIC SQUARE section of this website. There are abundant opportunities for religious individuals, including students, to exercise their freedom of religion, and pray to the deity or deities of their choice. But remember, the public schools exist as secular, educational institutions, not as places for religious proselytizing and indoctrination.
Could We Have a Non-Offensive Prayer?
Q: But what about voluntary prayer? What's wrong with that?
A: Just how "voluntary" is it? When school authorities, including teachers organize prayer or bible recitation as part of the activities of the school day, there is clearly an element of coercion involved for students who might not wish to pray -- for whatever reason. The public schools are for everyone. Having a prayer divides children into the group that prays, and the often smaller group consisting of those who do not. Experience has shown that kids who do not participate are often victims of ostracism, threats and other exclusionary practices. Is this right?
How About Changing Prayers Throughout the Year?
Q: We could have a prayer that doesn't offend anyone...
A: Really? What sort of a "prayer" would that be? Many religious groups are skeptical about organized school prayer because they fear that doctrines and prayers of other religions may be used. Catholics and Protestants have argued for decades over the issue of whose bible should be used.
What About Those Who DO Want to Pray?
Q: Well, how about having different prayers used throughout the school year?
A: That idea ignores the fact that any and all prayer in public schools is unconstitutional, whether one form of religious ritual is used, or a virtual belief-smorgasbord is presented. And do you really think that different religious sects will tolerate the use of each other's prayers? Look at how pluralistic American culture has become; there are hundreds, even thousands of diverse religious beliefs. Many would clamor for "equal time" in this prayer lottery. How would Catholics react to having, say, Jewish Orthodox prayers read? What happens if a Scientologist, or Seventh-Day Adventist, or Satanist demands that prayers from those sects be used? Communities, schools, and ultimately students would become divided against each other in a religious free-for-all.
It is best to have prayer kept as a private ritual, not a public ceremony!
What About Student Initiated Prayer?
Q: But don't we need a Religious Equality Amendment or other legislation to protect the rights of the students who DO wish to pray?
A: That is not the purpose of proposed legislation such as the Religious Equality Amendment. Students can pray, even in schools if they choose to do so. They can pray during lunch-breaks, walking or being transported to and from the school, and of course, during their free time. School prayer advocates know this; but the real purpose of the prayer-in-school movement is to either coerce everyone into joining in prayer and religious ritual, or having official government sanction of religion. That is clearly wrong, a violation of the separation of government and religion.
What About Our Religious Society?
Q: But I've heard about student-initiated prayer, where the students want to pray. It has nothing to do with the teachers or administrators...
A: Before getting excited about "student initiated" prayer, ask yourself: "which students" are doing the initiating? Student populations often reflect the diversity of the culture. Some students may wish to pray in class or at official school ceremonies like graduation exercises or sporting events, but are they being fair to other students who may not wish to pray? Lately, there have been court cases involving this very question. It is clear that even in areas such as Utah where a school may have a high percentage of students from the same religious background, not all students feel comfortable with this bogus "student led" religious ritual.
What About a "Moment of Silence"?
Q: Our society, though, is one where most people are religious, and believers in Christianity.
A: Our society is, in fact, one which has over 25,000,000 individuals who consider themselves to be Atheists or non-religious in some way. Atheists comprise between 8-12% of the population. In addition to Atheists, there are millions of other Americans who are pejoratively referred to as "un-churched Americans", who rarely if ever see the need to attend regular church rituals. Religion plays only a minor role in their lives, if at all.
And consider the believers. They are fragmented into thousands of sects, denominations and different persuasions. They cannot agree on which holy book to use, which god to worship or which prayer to use. Should this problem be inflicted on the public school system? What good can possibly come from such a practice?
Has Our Nation Declined Without Prayer?
Q: Well, what about a "Moment of Silence" instead? That way, we don't have to worry about specific prayers?
A: What for? Why do we need a "moment of silence"? School prayer boosters have sometimes proposed this as a way of establishing a legal precedent which, they hope, will eventually lead toward explicit and vocal school prayer. Over a decade ago, the Supreme Court struck down this type of proposal; legislation of this type often calls for the "moment of silence" to be used for "meditation or prayer." Besides, consider the declining number of hours that students are in school each year. Every "moment" should be used for useful and educational instruction, not meditating!
Haven't We Abandoned God?
Q: Advocates of school prayer insist that since 1963 when Madalyn Murray booted god out of the schools, our nation has declined. Teens are getting pregnant, AIDS is spreading, kids are carrying guns to class. We've got to do SOMETHING, don't we?
A: We CAN do something about problems in schools, but mandatory or "student led" prayer which violates the rights of students is not the answer. Prayer is being promoted as a "feel good" quickie-fix to complex problems. Madalyn Murray did indeed help to end prayer recitation in schools; but that did not cause the problems which exist today. Society has changed, and schools must change as well. The answer to problems might well involve doing other things -- emphasize science and math to prepare kids for the next century, smaller class sizes, perhaps even better pay for over-worked teachers. Often, these programs cost money and take time. They are not the "instant solution" which the prayer-in-school boosters offer, but they are more substantive.
We might also point out to you that if lack of religiosity is somehow linked to immoral and anti-social behavior, you should look at the jail and prison population. Less than one percent of prison inmates consider themselves Atheists. Meanwhile, all kinds of fundamentalist religious cults are thriving "behind bars." There are millions of decent, caring and concerned people in this society who are Atheists. The idea that, somehow, prayer in schools (or anywhere else) is necessary in molding a decent person is actually an insult to us!
Is Not Having Prayer in Schools Radical?
Q: But the country is falling apart! The crime rate is skyrocketing, we've got polluted air and everything is just getting worse! Haven 't we abandoned god?
A: Now there's something we could debate all day. But do a little historical research, and you will find that in many respects we are living better, longer and more productive lives than our predecessors did just 50 or 75 years ago. Think about the improvements to our lives which science and technology has brought us. That is one reason why Atheists are often pro-technology! We see the liberatory potential of science and technology to make life better in the here and now, rather than waiting to die so we can exist as spirits in some heavenly amusement park.
There are problems. Sometimes they are exaggerated by people who have a political or religious axe to grind. For instance, violent crime in the country has actually remained fairly steady over the years, at least as long as records have been maintained. The country is changing, and so is the make-up of our economy, our population, and our social institutions. These changes are not always bad, especially if they facilitate human freedom and civil liberties.
The point is this: we don't want to be fooled into believing that we have some "state of emergency" that requires us to ignore our First Amendment and allow some theocracy to develop. Remember Iran? There's "one nation under god" at work for you!
What Can I Do to Help?
Q: You might be right. But not having prayer in schools is a really radical idea, isn't it?
A: You might say that it is as American as apple pie! As advocates for the civil liberties of Atheists and other non-believers, we're in some pretty auspicious company. Thomas Jefferson, for instance, spoke of the need for a "wall of separation" between the state and the churches. In the Virginia Statute of Religious Freedom, he insisted that no American "shall be compelled to frequent or support any religious worship, place, or ministry whatsoever..." Numerous Supreme Court cases have upheld that notion, often against the fierce opposition of religious interests. While religious events and personalities are one part of our nation's history, remember that one thing which makes America unique is the SEPARATION OF STATE AND CHURCH. It is no accident that this prohibition against the "establishment" of religion is placed in the First Amendment, along with our right to freedom of speech.
Did Jesus Really Take a Stand Against School Prayer?
Q: As an intelligent and open-minded person, I have to say "Wow!" I'm convinced! What can I do to help?
A: Well, somehow I knew you would come around (chuckle). If you are indeed intelligent and open-minded, you may well be an Atheist, or at least considering Atheism as your intellectual conviction and personal lifestyle. Consider becoming a supporter of American Atheists! You can also help to educate other people about this important issue. Unfortunately, most folks don't have all the background on this topic. Do you have some religious friends?
Well, have some fun. Remember that many religious people are that way as the result of circumstances; they often are born into their "faith" system. If you have Christian pals who are talking about the school prayer issue, though, have them read their own bible. (See below...)
Matthew 6:5-6 reports the mythical "Jesus" taking a stand against school prayer twenty centuries ago.
You gotta' be kidding!
No, no! It's right there, and I quote:
...Thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men....But thou, when thou prayest, enter into the closet, and when thou has shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret...
Now that you've read all of that, what do you think?