In the U.S., school prayers violate the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment which provides that government shall make no law respecting the establishment of religion because public schools are government funded.
The Supreme Court held that “it is no part of the business of government to impose official prayers for any group of American people” and to do so constituted a violation of the establishment clause (Webb 2010). Therefore, school prayers violate the “separation of church and state.”
The people who are against school prayers in schools might use these following arguments: (1) school prayers violate the First Amendment; (2) public schools are intended for education, not for religious education; (3) formal school prayer is unnecessary since students are allowed to have a moment of silence; (4) school prayer may lead to intolerance like in the case of Rachel, the young Jewish girl, who objected to the overwhelmingly Christian music to be performed by the school choir (Webb 2010); (5) the public school system is supported by all taxpayers, therefore it should remain neutral on religious issues; (6) school prayers usurps the role of parents who desire to provide instruction in keeping their own beliefs; (7) public schools can neither foster religion nor preclude it; (8) schools must treat religions with fairness and respect (Secretary of Education Richard W. Riley); (9) schools must protect religious expression as well as the freedom of conscience of all children; (10) reciting Christian prayers would imply that other religions are inferior.
The people who are for school prayers might use these following arguments: (1) schools should also nurture the pupils’ souls and reinforce the values taught at home and the community; (2) school prayers will allow students to discover each other beliefs and respect each other beliefs; (3) school prayers can help combat drug use, alcoholism, teen pregnancy, and HIV transmission; (4) school prayers would implement a sense of morality and help teachers in teaching moral character; (5) students can pray in school busses, at the flag-pole, in student religious club, in the cafeteria, in the corridors but not in the classroom; (6) Colin Powell has suggested a simple moment of silence at the start of each school day where students could use this interval to pray, meditate, contemplate or study; (7) a nation should teach children right from wrong, good from evil and all the religions teach the same message; (8) if the signers of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights thought school prayer was unconstitutional, then why did they not outlaw it in their time?; (9) many of the founding fathers encouraged prayer in school and religious texts reading as a normal part of the school curriculum; (10) when the school counselor tells the children “you are free to choose and you don’t have to listen to your parents, then the school counselor is directly opposing the law of the Ten Commandments which states “children must obey their parents”; (11) the rejection of a moral code means no restraints to immorality and no limits to its spread.
What do you think?