“Prayer is not a crime” and “Let our kids pray in school” the bumper stickers plead to me as I drive by the cars they are on. It irks me to see these types of bumper stickers, because of the implied religious persecution. They seem to be fighting a needless fight to me. After all, prayer isn’t a crime and kids are allowed to pray in school. There is even a National Day of Prayer, May 5th, where kids can gather around the flag and pray together.
However, school officials and employees can’t make students pray. I thought that people who are steadfast advocates of freedom of religion would appreciate this fact. Who would want someone telling their child when and to possibly to whom to pray? Catholics often pray to Mary, while Christians pray to God and/or Jesus. The Wicca faith has the Goddess and the God, while atheists don’t believe in a supreme being at all. Agnostics have no specific deity at all. I doubt anyone who is devout in their religion would want to have someone else dictating to them when and how and to whom to pray. School lead prayer has the potential to violate these boundaries.
By my reasoning, I concluded that it is both fair and reasonable to leave the act of praying to the individual. Some people believe that the law dictates that there is to be no prayer in school. This is not what the law states. There is just to be no school sponsored prayer. No one will be forced to pray or sit idly by while others pray around them. However, if someone chooses to pray, this is fine.
If school sponsored prayer where instated, how would it be dealt with? Who would be prayed to? Would the teachers or faculty pray aloud and ask everyone to bow their heads and pray along? Who would be prayed to? And what would be prayed for? What about the agnostic and atheist students? Should all students be forced to pray? Should students who choose not to pray be forced to miss class time to allow time for others to pray? Even if a student wants to pray, they may not want to pray when or how they are informed to pray.
As it stands, kids can pray in school. There are several times throughout the day that students would have the time to pray and not miss out on any of their class time, such as: homeroom, lunch time, study hall, and breaks between classes. That way, a student can choose to exercise his or her right to pray on their own terms. They also won’t be offending others who have different beliefs, nor will they be missing class time. If you truly want your child to pray in school, you should discuss the facts with them. They are allowed to pray. They can carve out time to pray and not miss class time or distract others. Don’t buy into the rhetoric that “our kids” can’t pray in school. It simply isn’t true.