Why do you think they want prayer in schools?

Comment by Belle Rose on April 17, 2013 at 10:13pm

They want their kids to show all the other kids how holy they are. They think it will be a way to "set the example."....No, it's just a way to show off.

Comment by Ron Humphrey on April 18, 2013 at 10:04am

Those who argue for prayer in schools really mean that they want their particular brand of prayer in school.

For those in a predominantly protestant environment, I don't think they would care for a prayer which began "Hail Mary, full of grace".

Nor would they want a prayer which began by facing mecca.

It is laughable.

Comment by archaeopteryx on April 18, 2013 at 1:53pm

"As the twig is bent, so grows the tree."
(from a fortune cookie I got in my Chinese take-out last night -
a second one said, "A wet bird never flies at night!")

Comment by Dale Headley on April 18, 2013 at 6:45pm

Republican state legislatures and school boards, especially in the confederacy, are hard at work trying to transform their state laws and education codes to replace evolution with creationism, and they are having growing success.  The next step will be prayer - Christian, of course - in the classroom.  Most states already mandate the recitation of a pledge that includes the declaration that we are a nation "under God;" can teacher-led prayer be far behind?  And don't be so sure that the Catholic-dominated U.S. Supreme Court will strike down such laws as unconstitutional.  Justice Scalia, for example, has already made it clear that he believes that there is no direct or implied separation of church and state in the Constitution.  

After all, if Americans were stupid enough to elect the moronic George W. Bush, who subsequently gathered up the sword of King Richard and, with the imprimatur of his mythical god, slaughtered and tortured hundreds of thousands of innocents, they are stupid enough to allow religious zealots to determine the country's future.

It is an open question as to which will occur first in America: the gradual fading away of religion, or the gradual transformation of the United States into a third world idiocracy of religious intolerance.  I would be more optimistic if there were at least one avowed atheist among the 535 members of Congress.

Comment by SteveInCO on April 19, 2013 at 8:48am

Kids of elementary school age have a huge tendency to simply accept anything they are taught in school as a fact.  (We have taught them to be that way, to some extent.)

Although prayer in school occasionally happens, it's technically illegal here and eventually gets slapped down.  However, apparently it IS legal to set up Christian groups in a school after hours as long as some sort of nominal rent is paid for the space.  Exploiting this is the "Good News Clubs" that hold their events immediately after school, and invite kids to come for "non-denominational" bible study (they will go through the whole parental consent routine, lying to the parents about the nature of the event), at which point the kids are quite actively propagandized into a very hard core evangelical protestantism, to the point where they will turn into bullies for Jesus during the regular school day.  A daily prayer in school is quite passive compared to what goes on in these clubs.  I saw Richard Dawkins and Katherine Stewart (live) re-enacting one of the dialogs that's in the script for these clubs.  Imagine the impact on the six or seven year old kid when he is told to open the envelope to find out the penalty for an unforgiven sin, and reads "Death."  And his class mate gets "Life" for accepting Jesus. (The lord's prayer, by contrast, doesn't say diddly about the whole "believe in X and all your sins are forgiven, don't believe and you go to hell" aspect of Xian theology but it does have a vaguely apocalyptic bent to it in one line.)

And the kids are given every reason to think it's part of school; that impression is deliberately fostered by the Good News Clubs.  The clubs will try to get permission for their teacher to come in and set up at the end of (but during) the actual school day, the more to look like just a regular old school activity.  They will adamantly reject proposals that they instead meet in the church next door to the school.  Kids talking to their parents about what they learn will often be heard to say "but I learned this in school!"  What often happens once these clubs get established is that parents end up turning on each other as they realize their kids are being propagandized into the "wrong" branch of Xianity.  (The Good Newsers, for instance will teach that mainline protestants and catholics aren't real Xians, you can imagine what happens in a catholic or presbyterian household when Johnny spouts off like that... and he learned it in school.)  Katherine Stewart was able to infiltrate the organization and get their training materials, and learn that their goal is in fact to destroy public education; if they cannot have it and use it they will break it.

Comment by SteveInCO on April 19, 2013 at 8:49am

Long rant there but it does offer a perspective on why they want the prayer to be in school; they are getting kids between 4-14 when they are most willing to uncritically absorb what they are taught in school.

Comment by archaeopteryx on April 19, 2013 at 12:27pm

I, more briefly, made the same point as Steve earlier, but to cite a personal example that should demonstrate what Steve and I are saying, I know that many Americans were raised on the story of little George Washington chopping down his Daddy's cherry tree.
     One thing I recall vividly from my text book in second grade, was the story of how the Father of America, George Washington, when just a child himself, received a new hatchet for his birthday. Anxious to try it out, little George surveyed the rows of blossoming cherry trees lining his father's long, winding driveway. Choosing one of these, he commenced to break up the set by using his hatchet and chopping it down. Obviously his father noticed its absence on the buggyride up the driveway to the house, after a long day at the office, located his young son, and asked him about it.
     I think even those readers who may not be native to America are familiar with little George's famous reply, "Father, I cannot tell a lie - I did it with my little hatchet."
     As a reward for his honesty, little George's father, George Herbert Walker Washington, declined to punish little George W for his behavior, thus freeing little George from the belief that actions require a willingness to accept responsibility for those actions, so that should he decide to invade a country for its oil, once he'd become president, he would feel no compunction about inventing weapons of mass destruction as an excuse. But I digress --
     Once upon a time in America, in 1800, there was a "gentleman," and I use the term ever so loosely, named Weems. Reverend Mason Locke Weems, it seems, was not only a pastor but also, each in its turn, a sailor, a medical student, an accomplished player of the fiddle, author, and a traveling book salesman. During his pastoring days, which occurred sporadically whenever his book sales were down, he found himself teaching a Sunday School class in addition to his regular duties, predicting hellfire and damnation. He wanted his wide-eyed young class to learn the evil of telling lies, so he concocted the story of young Washington as a shining example of the reward for always being truthful. He taught his lesson of truthfulness by fabricating a lie and passing it on to innocent little minds as the truth, a lie so convincing, that generations later, that lie could still be found in reputable text books designed to educate other little children.
     Later, he wrote a book about the life of Washington, likely just as authentic as his Sunday School story, but because, in the early 1800's, the public was hungry to learn about the father of their country (combined with the fact that there was little else but the Bible to take to the outhouse for reading material) that, authentic or not, it sold well. The story has since been deleted from all official public school books, but for many years, it was what all young children were taught.

Comment by H3xx on July 22, 2013 at 10:13pm

@Archaeopteryx

You get all the good fortune cookies. Mine usually have some bs about talking about distant relatives and opportunities. I want fortune cookies that have profound proverbs in them. or maybe sterilized dollar bills. That would be a real fortune cookie right? You get the good fortune of having tip money for the waiter/ waitress.

Comment by Strega on July 22, 2013 at 11:00pm

@ H3xx

You get the good fortune of having tip money for the waiter/ waitress.

-p +t   And then you're probably spot on

Comment by archaeopteryx on July 22, 2013 at 11:03pm

It all depends on where you get your Chinese food - I patronize only those establishments that guarantee the best fortune-cookie messages.

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