As secularists and religion group coalitions engage in war with each other pertaining to prayer in high school, the common high school student is basically trapped in the middle. For a period, there has been a heated debate pertaining to whether or not prayer should be permitted in academic establishments, however, every time the debate is reopened, it has always been sunk in a stalemate, and equally, it is a topic that politicians opt to steer away from. I think it is essential that prayers are allowed back in school so that young persons may to revere and connect with their creator for guidance and blessings.
It should be noted that, those advocating for prayers in school present a number of convincing arguments. Many religious persons believe that prayers would increase tolerance among pupils in school. The diversity of faiths at school puts students in a better position to learn about each other’s religious backgrounds. As a result, pupils grow into adults with a better understanding and higher level of acceptance of persons from different religious backgrounds.
The decision to substitute the prayer with a moment of silence in schools was and still is misguided. Initially, the debate was based on whether or not the school day was to be opened with a prayer through the use of a school public address system. However, this never went far due to the fact that today, school settings tend to hold an idea of dissimilar religious beliefs. The existence of diverse religious views and practices can never be an excuse for abolition of prayers at school.
Equally, others feel it that prayers will help the kids to understand and explore personal questions they tend to raise about God and religion. Prayers provide the platform for young minds to search and explore these religious aspects strongly and extensively. It would be a positive development to re-introduce prayers back in school as this would help forge strong social and ethical principles which are collapsing at unprecedented rates.
James Frances Cardinal McIntyre summarize it well when he stated,
“In taking on the materialistic conceptions of life as the religion of man including denying the more or less universal recognition that creation was godly, and the indispensable outcomes flowing there from, the consequence of the resolution can only mean that our American heritages of philosophy, of religion, and of freedom are being abandoned”.
In essence, James Frances Cardinal McIntyre asserted perfectly when he stated that America was moving against its cultural heritage including throwing the base of what this great nation was founded upon by tossing religion out of academic institutions. Looking at the McIntyre statement he strongly makes reference to American heritage of philosophy, religion as well as freedom. Therefore, the reference goes back to the first amendment of the Americas constitution which consents government neutrality.
This reminds us that, America was founded by the Declaration of Independence, and a firm belief of rights for life, liberty, including the pursuit of happiness. The chronological practice of permitting prayer in schools went on for nearly two centuries and was shown to be a valuable practice in our educational systems. It offered no real trouble or problems until 1962, when the Supreme Court ruled upon a case, barring vocal prayer in a public school setting. And this has been cited as the precedence of the moral decay in American society today.
Additionally, prayers for pupils at school fulfill a role that many guardians or parents have not been able to play very well. Although many parents believe in God and prayers, a lot of them do not find time to share their beliefs with their children. Therefore, the school becomes the perfect avenue for pupils to know their God since they spent most of their day time there. Prayers at school would do well to keep pupils sensitive to their religious needs where parents have failed.
I believe the abolition of prayers at school is an infringement on personal liberties and freedoms. The American constitution provides for freedom of expression and that includes prayers. If someone cannot exercise certain provisions of his or her faith and belief because the law prohibits it, then that kind of law is oppressive and has no place in the modern word.
Still, the school system can come up with an arrangement where different religious views are well catered for without necessarily abolishing prayers. The public address system could be used for prayers for the main religions and faiths. Consequently, members of different faiths would feel well taken care of and not discriminated against or denied their religious rights.
Religion and prayers have been around for a long time and no one can wish them away, not even at school. Since prayers at school have not been found to disturb peace, no one should demonize them. Law makers should reconsider introducing the prayer back to school to promote a religious and righteous upbringing for the children.