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Religion on the Field

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Religion on the Field
In some schools it is a custom for students to say a prayer before a football game or school events. In the Santa Fe Independent school district a Christian prayer was always said before the game begun. However there were two families from different religions that objected to these prayers and brought suit to the school district. While in New Orleans the prayer was declared unconstitutional by the U.S court of appeals. In Texas a judge said that the prayers should be permitted, and in Atlanta Georgia the U.S court of appeals ruled that the prayers must be permitted before a football game or any other school event because not permitting the prayer would violate the first amendment. There is a lot of confusion on whether the prayers should be permitted or not, because of our first amendment. In this case the school district is trying to find a way to be able to say the prayers without violating the rights of the minority.
In the case of the Santa Fe Independent School District V. Doe We see the debate between whether or not a religious event should be allowed to happen on school grounds. Should a religious event such a prayer be allowed before a football game on school grounds? Is it a constitutional violation to allow this event to happen? I believe that it is unconstitutional to not let the students say their prayers before the football games because they have the freedom of speech. Students should be able to say their prayers because it is what they believe in and what they believe makes them perform better. Even within the constitution freedom of religion is one of the basic rights we all have. According to the 1st amendment “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 to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances”. What this quote is stating is that people have the right to practice their religion and congress cannot interfere, freedom to say whatever they want, the right to gather groups and the right for people to be compensated by the government.
If you were to take that freedom away, that alone would oppose the constitution. Even though there is a separation of church and state and the two should not mix. Justice Stevens when writing for the majority states that “the constitution guarantees that government may not coerce anyone to support or participate in religion or its exercise” (254). This is something with which I agree with. The constitution clearly states that religion is a basic right that people have and that no one can take this from them. Although this may interfere with state politics, the constitution is something that outweighs state laws. It is the document from which almost everything derives from, it is the American backbone of structure even within the government. This means that it has more control over freedoms than the state. Since the constitution states that Religion is an individual freedom that people should be allowed to practice, the state cannot interfere.
However William Rehnquist says that the October policy was not taken in account, he argues that the court wouldn't know if the policy would work because the policy was not put into practice. The October Policy consisted of two votes on whether a student would be allowed to deliver messages or invocations and the other vote was to select the person that would deliver the message. If the policy was to be applied there would be evidence to review whether the policy violated the establishment clause or if it puts down the minorities opinion. Rehnquist also talks about what may happen if the policy was put into practice, as he states “But it is possible that the students may not vote to have a pregame speaker, in which case it would be no threat of a constitutional violation. It is also possible that the election would not focus on prayer, but on public-speaking ability or social popularity. And if student campaigning did begin to focus on prayer, the school might decide to implement reasonable campaign retractions”.(155) In this quote Rehnquist is saying that there is the chance that the students might vote not to have a speaker before the games and that the messages that would be said might not even focus on prayers. If it did focus on prayer the school could decide to set limitations.
I agree that if the prayers where to be permitted in school grounds there would have to be some limitations. The person that is saying the prayer should not patronize or try to push his religion on others. This would guarantee that people have the liberty of religion, but it does not interfere or influence others in particularly the school.

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