This is one of republicans favorite "go to" issues used to demonize democrats. They state that liberals are fighting Christianity and Christians liberty in particular by not allowing prayer in public school classrooms.
First, let us lay the groundwork for this discussion. We are not talking about religious schools here. There has never been an argument about religious children praying in religious schools. That is a non-issue. Kids can pray all day long at parochial schools and no one cares. The problem arises when Christians attempt to force prayer into public school classrooms. This is a clear violation of church/state separation (reference the 1st Amendment establishment clause) and it is where conservative goal # 2 rears its ugly head again.
Public schools consist of the public. That is, Christians, Muslims, Hindus, Jews, atheists, everyone. All manner of children is in attendance. Therefore, requiring that they all pray to a Christian God is discriminatory. When this was first pointed out to Christians they changed their argument and said "well, the kids do not have to pray to Christ, they can pray to any God they want". Liberals argued that this ostracized both atheist and agnostic children. Then Christians came back again and said "well, the atheists and agnostic children can just sit there quietly and think about nothing or whatever they want". At this point many parents of liberal persuasion became incensed and reminded Christian parents that they were discussing public schools here, not churches. Why were they even talking about praying in school? School is utilized for learning math, science, history and literature.
This begs a question: why do Christians feel it necessary to stop a classroom to pray? Is there something in the bible that requires followers to pray out loud? No, there is not. So why don't Christian children just pray silently, anytime they want? Why feel the need to stop the class and make everybody pray or be quiet? The answer should be obvious. Praying silently does not successfully force your religion onto anyone else. But stopping the class and requiring everyone to be quiet certainly does, at least to some degree.
This is just another sad example of conservatives forcing their religion onto everyone else via public policy. They can't even leave other peoples kids alone.
In closing, I'd like to offer my objective, realistic, liberty based advice to Christian parents and their children: Pray all you want. Pray at home. Pray walking down the street. Pray while driving. And pray at church of course. Pray anywhere you want. Heck, feel free to pray silently at school as well. But here's the thing, you can't force other people to pray, just as you can't force other kids in a public school to be quiet while you pray. That is an infringement on other peoples rights. Would you be ok with Muslim kids stopping the class three times a day to pray to Mecca? Didn't think so.
So, go ahead and pray anywhere you want, including at public schools. But do not interrupt the class room and the other children with your prayers. In other words, stop trying to force your religious beliefs onto everyone else around you. Respect other peoples liberty and freedom. Please.
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