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Debate Paper
XBCOM/275
February 8, 2015

Debate Paper Prayer in our schools today has almost died out completely. Prayer is a solemn request for help or expression of thanks addressed to god or an object of worship. As it states in the First Amendment that it protects the right to freedom of expression from government interference. Although prayer in school may focus on religion, violate the first amendment, and separation of church and state, there are some good things and bad that come out of prayer in schools. Being that we are an unequal society and everyone has his or her own personal opinion on prayer in our schools; it still remains one of the most controversial issues today. Just like the different types of religion. The decision to take prayer out of public schools has become one of the most controversial issues throughout our society. The argument of whether prayer should or should not be allowed is so misunderstood. When determining whether or not prayer should be allowed in public schools, it is important to consider both the advantages and disadvantages. In our society, 90% of America’s children attend public schools. The children that attend public schools come from homes that use a fluctuation of religion or don’t practice religion at all. The good and bad of prayer in public schools are not a cut and dry issue. There are many outlets to this matter. The arguments of the people that want to banish prayer in the school system are not giving the children and possible their own children no chance at religion making it difficult for the children in which may end up turning them into non-religious people when they turn into adults. One of the advantages of having a freedom of religious beliefs is that it allows everyone to believe and practice whatever they want. School related problems such as alcoholism, drugs, and pregnancy has been issues that students deal with daily and they are always growing at an alarming rate. These social issues would benefit by not only addressing personal needs, but by nurturing and strengthening things that are learned from the student’s culture and their parents. By allowing a block of designated time for prayer in the schools, this would allow students the opportunity to observe their religious beliefs. When it comes to the disadvantages of prayer in public schools, those that are against it found religion imposes on separation of church and state. The concept of the separation of church and state is based on the establishment clause. The Establishment Clause prohibits the government from making any law “respecting an establishment of religion”. The establishment clause was drawn-out to apply to the states through the fourteenth amendment and prohibits laws dealing with the establishment of religion. Those who were against it felt that schools were built on awareness for educational purpose not for the objective of religious practice. They also believed any form of religion that can practice within the school realm would not be able to honor all of the different practicing religions. Ethical, legal, and moral issues play a major role when it comes to prayer in public schools. From a legal perspective, the U.S. Supreme Court has been vigilant in forbidding public schools and other agencies of the government to interfere with America’s constitutional right to follow their own consciences. . During the decision to take prayer out of public schools, the U.S. Supreme Court maintained its neutrality. In 1962, the justice ruled that official prayer had no place in public education. The U.S. Supreme Court believes it is important that our public schools respect the beliefs of everyone and protect parental rights. This principle ensures that public schools are welcoming to all children and leaves the decision about religion where they belong, with the family. For this team it is a collective agreement that prayer in school is a good thing. This decision was not based on opinion only but more on situations that have led to our belief of prayer in church. We looked at the good as well as the bad side effects of prayer in school. At no point was it determined that prayer was a bad thing in our opinions. At the most the simple argument some might have is that they should not have to listen to prayer while it is going on. In return we found that if anyone is opposed to prayer in school. There should be at least a place for the person to go while prayer is going on if they should oppose it for any reason. For all who do not oppose prayer they should be allowed a certain amount of time to do it in a public setting without trouble from the school system. According to guidance on constitutionally protected prayer in public elementary and secondary schools, “Section 9524 of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act "ESEA" of 1965, as amended by the No Child Left behind Act of 2001, requires the Secretary to issue guidance on constitutionally protected prayer in public elementary and secondary schools. In addition, Section 9524 requires that, as a condition of receiving ESEA funds, a local educational agency “LEA" must certify in writing to its State educational agency "SEA” that it has no policy that prevents, or otherwise denies participation in, constitutionally protected prayer in public schools as set forth in this guidance.” Now with that being said there are also cons to every argument so let’s look over a few things that were noticed by our team that many would say could be controversial. With everything positive that was found for prayer in school you have to know that there are negatives as well. So on the con side there is going to be the religious side of the house that believes prayer in school should not be allowed. Some would say that School is to learn and not for church. So what about those that appose prayer in schools? They do have a right to their opinion? But they do have their right to freedom of speech. According to Conflicts with School Schedules, “On the other hand, those who are against this move present that school prayers could result to intolerance and ostracism. In this context, prayer becomes coercive and does not honor all religious affiliation in the US. Prayer is an individualistic activity, but it can be done corporately if everyone is in agreement. However, not all faiths pray in the same way, with some faiths having the believer pray while sitting or standing, with eyes open or closed and at any time of the day. Other faiths dictate geographical directions the student must face, as well as the requirement of certain movements, chants or number of times for prayer each day” Religion in school can have its bad sides as well. So if a student wants to pray during class there is arguments that can cause serious issues. Let’s say you are from Iraqi where they pray on more than one occasion in a day. Are the schools going to allow for a student to stop what he is doing to pray multiple times in a day? Or are they only going to cater to certain religions. Are the school systems going to let those who have a Buddha’s background to chant for their prayers? Are the school systems going to let the Muslims bring in their prayer rugs and pray during class? So as you can see there are so many things that can go wrong as well as there are so many things that can go right with prayer in schools. You can almost refer this to the democrats versus republicans. You can satisfy some but not all. How do we know if prayer is pushed to be back in schools that it will change things in society as of today? I was always taught that you can say a prayer at any time you want to. Just say it in your head. Does it make it any less a prayer if you do not kneel? What about saying the prayer in your head. I’m sure who ever your higher power is that you are praying to will hear it none the less. What ever happen to having a moment of silence? Does that cross into the realm of stopping prayer all together as well or is the school system opposed to doing that for maybe 1 minute a day. I know every school has a set time for each class. But let’s really think about it. If you take 1 minute from each class or period in a day for high school you are only going to miss 7 minutes a day that is not used for learning. Is 7 minutes gone from a school day more than we are willing to give? As you can see religion can raise an unlimited amount of answerless questions. If children feel the need to express their religion, (just like constitution says they have freedom of speech) before class starts they should be able to. As long as they are being respectful about it and confronting other students about it. Parents should tell their kids if you want to pray during class do it. If you get in trouble then the parents can deal with the consequences. As long as it does not impede on anyone privacy or cause a disturbance during class I feel you should have that right. Whatever happened to freedom of speech? Maybe that’s long gone with all the other right our US government is slowly taking away from us as Americans. Sometimes it happens so frequently and so fast that we don’t even notice our constitutional rights are slowly being seized from us by laws that our own government keeps changing. What will be the next big thing that the US lets happen to this country? There are no proven facts of rather prayer in schools with help or hinder society. Until there is more proof of any facts then it is all just gossip. Tell those who push so hard to have prayer in schools to prove that it is actually helping our youth. Then I will tell those who are pushing for it to stay out of schools to prove why it isn’t helping then and only then can these pro and cons actually be weigh as equal arguments. Provide proof then we can see about getting things changed. Some of the pros were sharing different religious beliefs. The freedom to your own religious beliefs and to protect parented rights. The cons fall back on the separation of church and state and a violation of the first amendment, with the weakest part of the argument being the separation of church and state. With all the states and so many contrasting beliefs can any really say one is better than the other? Who is to say one religion is the most correct bona fide religion? When it comes down to it, how do we know for sure which religion will give us peace when we move on from here? The Japanese could be the most authentic people than we ever knew and they don’t even have a religion to practice and worship. Nobody can say one is better or that the other one is worst. Everybody has their own choice and their own option on which one is best for them. It has grown to be a very profound prayer to live with on a daily basis. The argument that was more persuasive was the one about a person’s right to have their own religious beliefs. This is what has become of everyone’s part of freedom. In church verses state it all came down to the person belief and how it was betrayed in the cases. Every one of them was different but yet they were all kind of in the same general area of discussion. Even though every one of them was divergent but, they all really did seem like they were all on the same general area of scrutiny.

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