A Bit 'o Random Musings on Politics, Religion, and Anything Else That Passes Through My Crazy Head

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Prayer & Schools

Let's get one thing straight.  I hate Country Music.  Sorry, y'all, but even though I was raised in the (nominal) south, the twanginess irks my soul.  Admittedly, there are few songs that remind me of hilarious times with former roommates but I don't enjoy the actual sound of the songs so much as the memories they invoke. But, sometimes I can bear listening to the local bluegrass station if it doesn't get too twangy - it's mellower than country somehow. This morning I listened to a song that basically said the country was going to rot because we could burn flags but we couldn't pray in schools (actually, the song specifically said we were headed towards communism, but I'll save my loathing of that particular straw man argument for another time).

Now, I went to 13 years of public school, and I was never told I couldn't pray.  I must have missed this particular memo, because I do remember praying in school - before tests, during periods of social isolation and general awkwardness (aka Middle School), and any time I choose.  Just because I didn't recite a formulaic prayer that some bureaucrat wrote didn't mean that I didn't pray.  Nothing that I have found prevents you from praying in school, or anyplace else for that matter.  Recently, many of my most meaningful prayers occur in my car.

I've never had a problem with the Supreme Court decision which barred mandatory prayer in public schools. These decisions are still deeply unpopular in the U.S., as many people seem to view them as an affront to their religious beliefs.  However, if you're Mormon, would you want to recite a Lutheran prayer or have that endorsed by the state?  If you're Catholic, would you feel comfortable having your children read a Muslim prayer?  If you're Hindu, do you want your children to have to pray about Jesus?  Any prayer general enough to please everybody would end up pleasing nobody.

Which brings me to my point: formal prayer in public schools would have to be so watered down in our pluralistic society that it would become meaningless form.  And I believe religion should be personal and integral in our lives, not just a token prayer at school, but a communion with the divine.  Government should give everyone's beliefs respect and protection of law, but it should not force belief on people - to do so corrupts government and religion.

To close, here's my favorite hymn that's also a prayer - it has a lot of meaning to me personally, so I hope you enjoy this beautiful arrangement courtesy of the internet:

"I Need Thee Every Hour," Sam Robson

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