Monique Holmes Argumentative Writing Final Paper Dr. George Pullman Introduction School prayer is a major controversy of this society. Public schools are supported with taxpayer money and you have a lot of believers who want his or her taxes to support an institution that prohibits children from praying in school, but at the same time, you have a loot of believers that don’t want to support an institution that prohibits their children from prayer in schools. The First Amendment of the United States protects both believers’ ands non believers from this situation by mandating government neutrality between belief and non belief.
All children have the right to pray voluntary just not through the public school system. Prayer Should be Allowed in the Public School System School prayer is a very controversial issue in our society today. The question that people are having issues with is whether or not school prayer should be allowed in the public school system. The main issue is if students should be allowed to pray as a class at the start of the day. Prayer in school has been a major conflict between people therefore there have been a lot of court cases.
There were a number of cases that has changed the policy of prayer in the public school system. Thomas Jefferson had spoken of public education ands said, “One goal of democracy is the recognition, solution, and tolerance of controversy; public education should prepare citizens for this reality”. People do need to be prepared because religion is a very Holmes common controversy. If religion is removed from the public education system then one must know that the system is then defective to the school because how are children to know how to deal with the controversy that comes with religion?
Prayer should be slowed in school. One must remember the Equal Access Act of 1984, which says that prayer is an important part of America’s spiritual heritage and the First Amendment (Freedom of Speech). If prayer in schools is so bad like people like to say or think than how come there are so many people who are for prayer in school? School prayer shouldn’t be removed from the public school system because of the Equal Access Act of 1984. This Act states that a federally funded public high is required to permit religious meetings if clubs that are not related to the curriculum is allowed.
There are a number of religious groups in some schools, but of course they don’t get the same privileges as the clubs that are non-religious related. The Equal Access Act of 1984 was formed to change this fact. At some schools, students are allowed to organize a bible study group as well as other religious clubs (www. religioustolerance. org). These particular clubs are allowed to meet on school grounds and they are able to advertise on school property just like the other non-religious clubs (www. religioustolerance. org).
Students who want to have a religious club should not be influenced by the board, teachers, principals, or any staff of the school. They should not be ridiculed because of this. The Equal Access Act of 1984 is good because these students will now be able to form a religious group if they want. If athletes, musicians and artists can show and do what they believe than religious groups should be able to do the same. Prayer should be a part of our school systems because it is an important part of America’s spiritual heritage.
All throughout America’s history there have been many important documents written with references to “Almighty God,” “Thy Blessings,” “Our dependence upon Thee,” and “In God We Trust. ” These documents are Holmes the Declaration of Independence, the Gettysburg Address, the National Anthem, the Presidential Oath and even U. S. Currency. In school children starts the day with pledge which states “one Nation under God. ” A prayer says that students just want to ask for a good day and guidance throughout the day. Prayer and religion is an important part of the American tradition. It has been said that the children benefit from people turning to God on their behalf and they benefit even more when they turn to God for help” (Christian Science Monitor 2). If prayer is kept out of the school system, they are teaching students that traditions are not important and that what this country was founded upon doesn’t matter. Our forefathers wanted us to have religious freedom, so what would you want children to disrespect that. People don’t want to see out nation fall but it will if we don’t show children the value of prayer.
School prayer is important because it shows and teaches what this nation stands for and it helps create better morals. By allowing children to pray at the beginning of school it gives them a chance to learn better and focus on school because their mind will be cleared. It is known that students who pray before school do better in school than those who don’t. So if we want our children to do better we must let them pray in school. We have lost if we eliminate prayer from school. Our nation will definitely fall. Nothing in the First Amendment converts our public schools into religionfree zones or requires all religious expression to be left at the schoolhouse door” (Bill Clinton on prayer in school). If what Clinton say is true then why do people want to eliminate prayer in school? The issue is that they don’t want to deal with controversy but by doing this they are not teaching children how to handle controversy they are teaching them to ignore it. They should let the children decide if they want to pray or not. If the students don’t want to pray than they don’t have to pray then they shouldn’t.
They have the right to pray in school and should not be looked Holmes down at if they choose to do so. No one is being hurt by prayer being in the public school system. The First Amendment gives people the right to express their religion openly and not be questioned about their beliefs. The former president, Harry Truman once stated that prayer “never hurt anybody and made good citizens out of them. ” The First Amendment states that people can express their beliefs freely and openly anywhere that they want and that should include school as well.
School prayer should be in the public school systems because of the Equal Access Act of 1984, prayer is an important part of America’s spiritual heritage and the First Amendment (Freedom of Speech). Even with all of the court cases in which judges have ruled that prayer in school is unconstitutional, students still form prayer groups. One of the reasons why prayer is removed from school is because people think that they will have to partake in that religion and it will dominate over all. But this is simply not true.
No one is asking for people to change their beliefs. Why is it a big issue for prayer to be in class when it is said in a number of school functions? Prayers are said at athletic games, to ensure safety and protection and at graduation ceremonies. How come this isn’t an issue? There a re a number of arguments that are for prayer in school: The Chief Justice of the Court of Appeals stated, “The belief and trust in a creator has always been regarded as an integral and inseparable part of the fabric of our fundamental institutions. Harry Truman said that prayer “never hurt anybody and made good citizens out of them. ” Rep. James Traficant said, “A Congress that allows God to be banned from our schools while our schools can teach about cults, Hitler and even devil worship is wrong, out of touch and need some commonsense. ” Prayer in school will increase tolerance in schools because children will be able to learn of different religions and how they are practiced. It will also bring to surface questions that Holmes children have about God and religion and allow them to search for their own belief system.
Bringing prayer into schools will allow them to search for their own belief system. Bringing prayer into schools will also help reverse the moral degradation of this country. Prayer should be allowed in the public school system so that our children can start their day off in the right direction. Prayer Should Not be Allowed in the Public School System The public school system should not allow prayer into the public school system because it is against the idea of separation of church and state.
The public schools are for education it is not a place where religion should be taught, that is what church is for. “Public schools can neither foster religion nor preclude it. Our public schools must treat religion with fairness and respect and vigorously protect religious expression as well as the freedom of conscience of all other students. In so doing our public schools reaffirm the First Amendment and enrich the lives of their students” ( Secretary of Education Richard W. Riley June 1998 ).
One must remember that in a public school system, these children are from all religion backgrounds, such as Baptist, Catholic, Quaker, Jewish, Muslim and atheist. “School sponsorship of a religious message is impermissible because it sends the ancillary message to members of the audience who are nonadherents that they are outsiders, not full members of the political community, and an accompanying message to adherents that they are insiders, favored members of the political community ” (U.
S. Supreme Court ruling, Santa Fe v. Doe, (2000). Public schools are supported by taxpayers and even they are of different beliefs, so therefore, the schools should be free from religious coercion. In the bible, it says that Jesus didn’t approve of outward prayer, “Thou shalt not be as the hypocrites ate: for they love to Holmes pray standing in synagogues and in the corners of the streets that they may be seen of men.
But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet and when thou hast shut the door, pray to thy Father which is in secret” (Matthew 6:5-6). By allowing prayer into public schools violates the First Amendment which states that “congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof or abridging the freedom of speech or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble and to petition the government for a redress of grievances” (First Amendment of the Constitution).
The Establishment Clause renders the government from endorsing or favoring religion or any form of religions expression and The Free Speech and Free Exercise Clauses requires that the government doesn’t trample on one’s opportunities to engage in expressive conduct. No one should be required to participate in prayer. The government does not have the right to make people pray in school. Annie Laurie Gaylor quoted Thomas Jefferson in her article, The Case against School Prayer “No citizen shall be compelled to frequent or support any religious worship, place, or ministry whatsoever. People should not be subject to do anything they don’t believe in. Prayer should not be allowed in school because of church and state and the First Amendment. “To secure the people’s right to acknowledge God according to the dictates of conscience: Neither the United States nor any State shall establish any official religion, but the people’s right to pray and to recognize their religious beliefs, heritage, and traditions on public property, including schools, shall not be infringed.
The United States and the States shall not compose school prayers, not require any person to join in prayer or other religious activity” (Congressperson Ernest Istook Proposed amendment to the U. S. Constitution). To have prayer in school is against the idea of separation of church and state. Holmes Public schools are for education not religion. “I’m a Catholic and I hope a devout one, but I think that the public school classroom is no place for me to try and impose my world formula for prayer on children who on’t share it, and for that very reason, I don’t want my children in a public school classroom to be exposed to someone else’s religion or formula” (Senator Phillip A. Hart :Michigan). Every child should not have to say prayer in the classroom because not everyone believes in the same thing. Students that choose to pray are already given the ability to do so because they are given a moment of silence where the student can do anything he or she wants as long as the entire class is not involved.
Students have a voluntary right to pray but people want it to be where a group can pray and that should not be allowed. By establishing prayer in the public school system, it will only cause more turmoil for our society. Ulysses Grant started in the President’s Speech at Des Moines “to leave the matter of religion to the family altar, the church, and the private schools, supported entirely by private contributions. Keep the church and state forever separate. School prayer should not be allowed in the schools because of the idea of separation of church and state and the First Amendment. Religion is private and these schools are neither private, which shows that they do nor mix. To bring the public schools builds walls between children who may have not been aware of some religious beliefs. The practice of prayer in school will create unnecessary divisions among children by making them aware of religious differences. Public schools are for everyone, no matter their religion.
The practice if organized prayer in schools will invade the children’s right to an education that is free of the discrimination that organized prayer would encourage. When schools have prayer in class, it singles out the theology being taught. Forbidding prayer in schools does not discourage religion but instead it prevents offensive alienation of students who have viewpoints which conflict with the established religion. By allowing prayer in school, Holmes it will threaten what parents have already taught their children.
It will be undermining what we teach our children about religion. We must protect ourselves against organized prayer by keeping coercive prayer out of our children’s schools. Work Cited Bill Jager, “Public School Prayer Creates Violence,” at: Holmes http://www. mindspring. com/~wjager/ Gaylor, Annie Laurie. The Case Aainst School Prayer. “Keep the Church and State Forever Separate. ” Madison, Wisconsin: Freedom From Religion Foundation, Inc. 1995 Matt Pyeatt. “Congressman Urges School Prayer Constitutional Amendment,” CNSNews. om, at: http://www. botcw. com/talk/ Religion and Prayer in U. S. Public Schools : www. religioustolerance. org The Holy Bible “New Tesatment” St. Matthew 6:5-6 The resolution was passed on 2001-NOV-7. The vote was 5 to 4. See: Gene Garman, “Lafayette School Board resolution on public prayer,” at: http:// www. sunnetworks. net/~ggarman/ The web site contains a point-by-point rebuttal. “Topic: Prayer in School,” AmarilloNet. com bulletin board at: http://www. amarillonet. com/ubb/Forum34/ Holmes