Is School prayer O.K. if it’s not our prayer?

     It’s a touchy subject, this idea of prayer in school. While it is as much a part of the American way as apple pie, it does run against our national Constitution which forbids the government from taking actions that seem to “establish” one religion over another or to establish a religion at all.

The idea is that faith is personal. So is the lack of faith. Neither can be dictated by the state.

Most communities have assumed the position of West Monroe High School, pray until it offends someone and a court says stop. Last week that happened.
Most schools in our area begin football games, assemblies and school days with prayers. It’s no big deal to most. Most of the prayers end with “In Jesus name, we pray.” That’s a Christian prayer, more specifically an evangelical Christian, there is a difference.

That’s no problem in a school setting unless your family happens to be Jewish or Muslim or Buddhist or one of the other thousands of world religions. There is also the right to have no religion at all.

As long as our faith is the majority faith that controls the government everyone sees no harm in prayer at school. However, the very act of selecting which faith’s prayer is said over the school intercom, or at the end of a class, establishes the credibility of that faith in the mind of a child.

Ouachita Jr. High teaches a class in Old Testament History, but its textbook is the “Spirit Filled Bible” whose notes and interpretations are not accepted by all branches of Christianity. A child in that class, do doubt leaves thinking that Bible version is O.K. but his pastor may say different.

As long as what we believe is in the majority, most of us have no problem.
The constitution however protects the rights of the majority…and the minority.

That’s the way it should be and that’s why when the issue goes to court, the school system will lose and the first amendment right that forbids government imposed religion will be upheld.