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To Pray or Not to Pray…That is the Question upon Society.

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Introduction

Paul Ray Judia Jr. Engw. 1302 To Pray or Not to Pray...That is the Question upon Society Growing up attending private Catholic school my whole life I never had been confronted with the controversy of prayer in school. Not until Santa Fe School District v. Doe did I ever even think there was a conflict concerning prayer in school. I attended Santa Fe football games because I lived only fifteen minutes away and had friends that went to Santa Fe. To see a girl from band go up to the press box and say a prayer was not uncommon to me. We always either had a priest or clergy member begin our games with a prayer, even when we played non-Catholic schools. To hear on the news that the Supreme Court had ruled against prayer at games struck me as strange. Nobody at the game was complaining or screaming for her to stop. I had to actually sit back, analyze, and wonder. Was this the same government who prints, "In God we trust" on every currency and bank note? As the news of the ruling began to reach more and more of the public, a line was drawn. People were either for or against prayer in school. Where you stood on the subject decided your place in the community. Not since segregation had the little town of Santa Fe been so divided. ...read more.

Middle

They believe the Constitution gives students the right to free speech in the Free Speech and Free Exercise Clauses of the First Amendment. They believe that prayer is a student's constitutional right as an American citizen. Justice William J. Brennan stated that "All ideas having even the slightest redeeming social importance-unorthodox ideas, controversial ideas, even ideas hateful to the prevailing climate of opinion-have the full protection of the [First Amendment]" (Whitehead 89). Supporters argue that to take these rights away from students constitutes discrimination against religious exercise. They believe that when a child enters a school the child does not loose his/her constitutional rights. "These proponents assert that, rather than endorsing religion, accommodation of religious activity in the public sector furthers the highest ideals of the Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment and avoids discrimination against religion in the public sector" (Smith 440-1). These people believe that as long as society keeps in mind the first amendment, prayer will be allowed into school. The opposition believes that to allow prayer into schools would in fact infringe on children's constitutional rights to freedom of religion. They ask, if school prayer were legal, exactly what type prayer it would be. Would you pray a Christian prayer since the majority of Americans have Christian beliefs? They point out that the religious freedom rights of a Hindu child would be infringed on if only Christian prayers were prayed. ...read more.

Conclusion

The argument of whether God should be allowed in school is one that will be with us forever. People have put forth a compromise before of a universal prayer that does not point to one God in particular. Some believe that this prayer would have to not say the word "God" in it. The prayer should be plain and simple, only pray for things like health, prosperity, and hope. These things are universal to all of us. Deep inside every human being is a soul, and that soul is constantly praying for a better world. One can only wonder what the founding fathers would think about today's society fighting over prayer in school. Would they agree with no prayer in school, believing that it would infringe on others, or would they believe that the lack of church in school is not what they had in mind when they wrote separation of church and state? The argument of prayer in school shows how different a society we are from even our parents. Whether or not this change of society is for the best, will not be seen for many generations. This is an argument that needs to be settled soon. It is an argument that has been proven that cannot be answered in a courtroom. It will surely be answered by society. Not since civil rights has an argument divided our nation so clearly. It is time for people to decide whether there is room in school between spelling and math for God. ...read more.

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