School Prayer

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Amy Hua English 1A TTh 1:45-3:10 Professor Marvin School Prayer Annie Laurie Gaylor argues against school prayer in her article “The Case against School Prayer” (Elements of Arguments, 679). When religion is included in daily school routines, it divides students into different beliefs. Public schools are meant to be open for all people to get an education, but not to influence them into a new religion.

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Requiring students to practice prayer in public schools is a violation of Freedom of Religion.Public schools should not practice prayer because there is a diversity of religions in the United States and the Constitution of the First Amendment. Students in public schools get distracted from judgment of religion, but that is why there are places where schools may freely practice religion, such as private schools. Due to the diversity of religions, along with dissimilar practices, schools should continue their public structure leaving religion entirely out. Public schools educate the belief of God, which might (for example) be the religion of Catholicism.High schools, Middle schools, and maybe even Elementary schools that practice a certain religion might offend or hurt other religions. “When religion has invaded our public school system, it has singled out the lone Jewish student, the class Unitarian or agnostic, the children in the minority” (Gaylor 679-680). The United States has a vast variety of religions that include Buddhist, Christian, Catholic, Hinduism, Islam, etc. There are also those Atheists who do not believe in any God. Each belief practices different events that may contrast.For instance, Christians rejoice to the Lord on Christmas day as a result of the birth of Jesus Christ, whereas, Buddhists pay their respects to the dead. “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof. (First Amendment, Bill of Rights, U. S. Constitution)” The First Amendment is the Freedom of Religion, press, and expression. Praying at schools not only excludes the students who do not believe in God, but also disrespects them by not allowing freedom of other religions.Forced into prayer does not verbally influence the student to believe in God, but it still implies that you cannot or should not practice a different religion. Most of the rules in public schools are useful: do not use profanity, attend school, and do your best at anything you set your mind to. No matter what the religion, these rules are useful to everyone and are universal to all countries because each one agrees with them. Teaching students about religion would be equivalent to converting them towards the American Republican Party or Democratic-Republican Party.For schools today, it is dishonest for teachers to promote subject during class period. Instructors cannot force what is not universal because of the different beliefs each religion practices. There will be disagreements among singular religions because there is not only one type of prayer system. There is a place for religion in schools. Private schools were made to eliminate the government from its system, so they are independent. Although students in public schools should be allowed to have personal prayers, there are also private schools and universities that focus on certain viewpoints on religion.If required, some private schools are given permission to freely practice their own religion. For example, Messiah College and John Brown University concentrate on Bible studies as much as other electives. It is more of an option to attend private schools, like Messiah College, so the student should know what he or she is signing up for. However, public schools are for all students to learn gender education. Therefore, no assumption of religion should be taught as a part of general education.As a child, I was enrolled into private Christian school by my parents. My parents and I were aware of the education I was being taught by the teachers and the sharing of general education and Bible studies. In “The Case against School Prayer”, Gaylor says “People should be judged by their actions, not by what religion they believe in or how publicly or loudly they pray” (82). Not only do people get distracted from judgment, but also from their studies from far most important subjects.With religion being in the same studies as Math and Science, students are unable to concentrate in studies that will mainly shape their future. Prayer can be harmful in many ways, depending on how much the school interoperates it daily. When I attended a Christian school during Kindergarten through fifth grade, I was required to announce the Pledge of Allegiance. But when my parents decided to take me out of Christian school and enroll me into public school, the Pledge of Allegiance was still mandatory to say.My parents, who converted into Buddhism, were offended that I still had to intentionally worship God. Annie Gaylor and, not to mention, Jesus had the same opinion for not allowing public schools to teach religion. “…when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret” (Bible, Matt. 6:5-6). School prayers add conflict to education in many ways. As a result of the vast amount of religions in the United States, there are conflicts caused my disagreements of religion. Japan, where no one prays at school, had the lowest crime rate of any developed nation” (Gaylor, 683). Religion should only be taught in private schools or organizations. The First Amendment was made for Freedom of religion, press, and expression, meaning that everyone has a right to pray, but not for public schools to convert the students into believe a certain religion. I strongly agree on Gaylor’s viewpoints of school prayers because I was felt in the same situation in the past. Public schools should stay open to different religions.