Why do you think they want prayer in schools?

Why do you think they want prayer in schools?

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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 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 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 Strega on July 22, 2013 at 11:06pm

@Arch

guarantee the best fortune-cookie messages.

-c +n  And again.... spot on

Comment by Unseen on July 23, 2013 at 12:06am

Let's be clear. Anybody can pray at any time anywhere, and short of shooting them dead, using a tranquilizer dart or a taser on them, there's really no way to stop them.

What fundies want is ORGANIZED prayer in schools. 

Comment by Kairan Nierde on July 23, 2013 at 12:12am

It's for the indoctrination but also the normalization. If you do it 5 out of 7 days a week, it's like any other daily ritual and you expect for it to be a part of your life. Prayer in school makes no prayer in other areas of public life seem to be missing something. Normalize prayer during school, something children experience over and over until graduation, and it encourages them to spread Christianity to other domains.

Comment by Stephen Clark Okawa on July 23, 2013 at 7:09pm

You should all read "Crusade Against Ignorance."  It's a good collection of Jefferson's essays and letters.  Here's an excerpt.  

"What, but education, has advanced us beyond the condition of our indigenous neighbors?
And what chains them to their present state of barbarism and wretchedness, but a bigotted
veneration for the supposed superlative wisdom of their fathers, and the preposterous
idea that they are to look backward for better things, and not forward, longing, as it
should seem, to return to the days of eating acorns and roots, rather than indulge
in the degeneracies of civilization? And how much more encouraging to the achievements of
science and improvement is this, than the desponding view that the condition of man
cannot be ameliorated, that what has been must ever be, and that to secure ourselves
where we are, we must tread with awful reverence in the footsteps of our fathers. This
doctrine is the genuine fruit of the alliance between CHURCH AND STATE; the tenants
of which, finding themselves but too well in their present condition, oppose all advances
which might unmask their usurpations, and monopolies of honors, wealth, and power,
and fear every change, as endangering comforts they now hold."

"Report of The Commissioners Appointed to Fix The Site of
The University of Virginia."

In context, Jefferson despised two things: England's union of Church and State and England's monopolies.  I'm sure he went to church and believed in a deistic being.  However, he also knew that Church and State was a sword in the government's hand; he knew the ideas must stand on their own; he knew religion doesn't care about progress, just power.  

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