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Prayer in Schools

Discussion in 'Alley of Dangerous Angles' started by NOG (No Other Gods), Aug 24, 2009.

  1. NOG (No Other Gods)

    NOG (No Other Gods) Going to church doesn't make you a Christian

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    The problem I see with this is that, for many religious people, their religion is part of who they are. It's a facet of their character. And one of the more important roles of teachers is to be a role model for their students. I find any role model who doesn't present their entire character to be a bad role model, and I find it often presents later confusion and difficulty for those that choose that role model.

    Basically, I don't think a teacher should ever be expected to hide who they are, and that includes religion. Now, that doesn't mean they should be out prostelytizing in class, or trying to pressure students into conversion, but they shouldn't hide their beliefs either. I think there's a fine line between the two, and I think the issue that originally sparked this thread is right on it (i.e. a point of arguement).
     
  2. Death Rabbit

    Death Rabbit Straight, no chaser Adored Veteran Torment: Tides of Numenera SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!)

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    There's a world of difference though between hiding one's beliefs and keeping things to yourself. If I asked you point blank if you were a Baptist and you either refused to answer or lied about it, you'd be hiding it from me. But if I asked you what faith you were and you chose to tell me you were a baptist, that would mean I didn't already know your faith and therefore you were keeping it to yourself. I don't hide the fact that I'm a confirmed agnostic, but I don't advertise it either. I would feel the same way if I were a committed christian. As in: this is MY thing, and I respect that it isn't everyone's.

    When we're talking about the role of teachers and other role models, keeping it to one's self is IMO the appropriate course of action. There's a time and place for everything, and school and church are two separate places (for good reason). When you live and work in a country that specifically separates church and state, and you're a teacher at a public school in that system, the ethical standard of your position dictates that you keep your religion to yourself. If you simply can't shut up about how down with G.O.D. you are, then you shouldn't be working in a public school. Period.
     
  3. NOG (No Other Gods)

    NOG (No Other Gods) Going to church doesn't make you a Christian

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    Yes, but then the question comes as to where praying over your meal stands. Is doing that shoving your faith in others' faces, or is not doing it hiding your beliefs
     
  4. Death Rabbit

    Death Rabbit Straight, no chaser Adored Veteran Torment: Tides of Numenera SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!)

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    You can do what most devouts I've known (and every devout I've respected) does: close your eyes, bow your head, cross your hands in your lap and pray quietly to yourself. 5-10 seconds, tops. Then begin your meal. Polite, discrete, reverent. No need to make a production out of it. It's a personal thing. Keep it to yourself. I would hope you realize there are more than just the "In ya face!" and "hide in shame" notches on the faith-o-meter, NOG. There are a variety of ways to observe one's faith, and most don't involve bothering others.
     
  5. NOG (No Other Gods)

    NOG (No Other Gods) Going to church doesn't make you a Christian

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    Oh, yes, I do, but the modern climate pushes the two extremes awefully close together. There are some (not many, but some) that would try to jail a teacher even for bowing his head and closing his eyes in traditional prayer form durring school hours. Likewise, there are some religious (again, not many, but some) that believe that anything short of teaching Christianity as the Absolute Truth is a betrayal of the faith.
     
  6. Death Rabbit

    Death Rabbit Straight, no chaser Adored Veteran Torment: Tides of Numenera SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!)

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    "Not many" is too generous - I would say extremely few. And those people are extreme examples, and neither would win such challenges in court. And even if they were to manage to, neither would withstand an appeal. So again - simply keeping it to one's self is best for all involved.
     
  7. Déise

    Déise Both happy and miserable, without the happy part!

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    I think the numbers of atheists who'd seek to jail people is incredibly small. As I said earlier, the stupidest things can land you in jail when you move into the bracket of being in contempt of court. I don't like saying that these things should land you in jail but I suppose the law has to have some kind of option for gradually getting more serious with those who ignore it. Just because you're not a major criminal doesn't mean the law doesn't apply to you.

    More to the point, judges really don't take kindly to people taking the mick out of them. And considering they're the ones who decide both your guilt and your punishment it doesn't take much brains to know you should go along with what they tell you.

    It does seem unusual that this is a court case. I'd have thought there could have been disciplinary action from the employer instead. If things get bad enough surely firing him is preferable to jail? This'd free up court time as well.
     
  8. Ziad

    Ziad I speak in rebuses Veteran

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    There are nutters everywhere, so I wouldn't be surprised if someone like this was around (though I'd say "very few" would be even more accurate than "some"), but if that had happened then many of us who are against bringing religion into schools would cry foul and be on the prating guy's side this time. There is a fine line between your personal convictions and living by them, and openly flaunting them into people's faces or trying to impose them on others. A guy who sits down on his table and murmurs his prayer is no one's business but his own. If he does this loudly and interrupts everyone else's meal until he's done then he's clearly crossed the line.

    Keep in mind that the particular case that sparked this debate wasn't some student or random teacher doing it over his own meal, it was done by request from the school's principal over everyone's meal. Big difference IMO.
     
  9. BelorKross Gems: 1/31
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    I personally think its pathetic how America has begun interpreting freedom of religion. Removing all signs of religion from public places etc. Its the same people who blame others for everything that happens in either their own life or their childrens life. The United States as a whole needs a large dose of personal accountability and responsibility if you ask me. Everyone has to be so concerned today about offending someone. Its ridiculous. My school allowed people to pray and it was never praying for a specific group of people. (IE, christians, etc) If a muslim man came up to me tomorrow and asked if he could pray for me I'd appreciate his words even though Im not muslim. Parents allow their children to go to school knowing they will have to deal with peer pressure among other things.

    It is a test to see how well their children have adhered to the values they have tried to teach them. It is that way with everything, whether they are nice to others, try drugs, work hard at their homework, etc. Do I think that people should be forced to pray in school? Of course not. I'd be the first parent furious about something like that. But if someone else wants to pray out loud whether its a teacher or anyone else I think thats fine. Growing up I played soccer for 13 years. For two years I had a coach from Iran, he prayed before and after the games in team huddles. Nobody cared that he was muslim. If I was an atheist I still wouldn't care. If your an atheist it seems like someone else praying for you is simply verbally acknowledging they care for you and you and or your situation is in their thoughts. I don't understand why that would be offensive.

    Why is religion offensive when its not being expressed in a harmful way? IE, Not forcing it on others and asking people to be saved in the middle of class or something. If someone wants to pray and they do it in a general non specific way -and- not forcing anyone to come do it whats the harm? For example, if a coach before a football game said he wanted to offer a quick prayer and if anyone wanted to take part they're welcome to whats the harm? How is it any different then any other positive or negative influences authority figures can have? Plus, what makes religion negative anyway? I don't think every Muslim should be destroyed and all Qurans burned just because a small percentage of muslims are radicals and kill people. People like this would always find something to brainwash people with. Look at the japanese suicide planes during the WW, they'd just kill themselves and fly their plane into american forces/ships. It wasn't because of religion.

    There are radicals of everything and that won't change. Ever. People blame religion for all these atrocity's and great evil things that have happend in history without realizing that if it wasn't for God or Alah it would be for something else. People need to let go of their kids and let them decide who they want to be and if that person is a christian why is that horrible?

    People kill people. Not religions, or political groups. People kill people.
     
  10. Death Rabbit

    Death Rabbit Straight, no chaser Adored Veteran Torment: Tides of Numenera SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!)

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    Well how's that for an inaugural post... ;)
     
  11. Splunge

    Splunge Bhaal’s financial advisor Adored Veteran Pillars of Eternity SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!) Torment: Tides of Numenera SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!)

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    Well, natural disasters kill people too. And since God is responsible for natural disasters, religion has, in effect, murdered those people, since religious groups could have asked God not to create the natural disaster. And taking it one step further, since many political groups are religious-based, those groups are responsible as well.

    And don't even get me started on extraterrestrials...
     
  12. Blades of Vanatar

    Blades of Vanatar Vanatar will rise again Adored Veteran Pillars of Eternity SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!)

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    Aww, man! You mean we have to watch our backs around E.T now too???? But he's such a cute little guy, he couldn't possibly harm us...

    No, wait, his fingers did light up and he can fly, that would make him at least a 5th level wizard or 6th level sorcerer.... fireball...wooshhhhh!!!! AAHHHHHHHH, I'M BURNINNNGGGGGG!!!!!!

    Now I understand ya Splunge!:D
     
    Last edited: Aug 28, 2009
  13. Death Rabbit

    Death Rabbit Straight, no chaser Adored Veteran Torment: Tides of Numenera SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!)

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    You two should go bowling.
     
  14. Merlanni

    Merlanni ★ SPS Account Holder Veteran New Server Contributor [2012] (for helping Sorcerer's Place lease a new, more powerful server!)

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    @ NOG Like explaining an earthquake as a wrath of god for unbelieving.

    I know that a lot of religious people are nice folks. But still, so may crimes to humanity hidden and justified by religion. When i see a holy place that is what I see, not the beauty of the building.

    So, yes I strongly dislike religion.
     
  15. Blades of Vanatar

    Blades of Vanatar Vanatar will rise again Adored Veteran Pillars of Eternity SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!)

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    Sure, but I hear Bhaal frequents those places, Splunge would have to show up incognito. Though I would think a deity would have true seeing...
     
  16. BelorKross Gems: 1/31
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    I don't follow your logic. Natural disasters kill people. God is responsible for people dying by such. Religion has nothing to do with it. Religion is man made. I'll take it one step further and say that God hates religion. Though that is a different topic.

    What religious groups are you referring to that could ask God not to create natural disasters? Your one step further arguement about political groups being religious based is null because the most dangerous and controlling political groups in the world are communist.
     
  17. dmc

    dmc Speak softly and carry a big briefcase Staff Member Distinguished Member ★ SPS Account Holder Resourceful Adored Veteran New Server Contributor [2012] (for helping Sorcerer's Place lease a new, more powerful server!)

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    Topic . . .
     
  18. NOG (No Other Gods)

    NOG (No Other Gods) Going to church doesn't make you a Christian

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    It was one Christian asking another to pray over a meal. I don't know how big of a scene was created, whether he stood up and made a massive public display or simply made a quiet aside to the man next to him, and the article didn't say. The difference between the two is indeed significant, but we don't know which happened.

    So, if religions claim that God is responsible, and science claims nature and chance are responsible, does that mean that scientists are responsible for them all as well?

    Do you see the same when you look at government buildings? How about the logos of major corporations?

    BelorKross:
    Welcome, and indeed, what an inaugural post! Hope you stick around.
     
  19. Ziad

    Ziad I speak in rebuses Veteran

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    We do know what happened, unless the article you originally linked is completely wrong (I must confess I haven't searched for other articles on the same story).

    So if this is accurate the principal arranged for the prayer to be performed, and it was performed, over the entire event. I'll stress again that this was not a personal prayer but one that was directed at everyone else, and on an official school-sponsored event. If this was a public/religious school I don't think anyone would care, but personally if I placed my kids in a state or secular school I would most certainly not be happy if they were forced to sit through a prayer. Again as I said before, learning about a religion is one thing, being forced to participate is quite another.

    Oh, and while I think sending them to jail is way too much (I'd find it more than enough if they were just disciplined/demoted, or at worst kicked out), from what I understand the prison sentence possibility is there not because of the actual thing they did (praying) but because that thing violates a previously-established court order, of which they were aware at the time.
     
  20. BelorKross Gems: 1/31
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    Im not sure you understand what would go through a Christians point of view if he/she was asked to pray at an event. If Bob the science teacher is a devout man and the principal ask Bob if he would be willing to offer a prayer at the next community/faculty/student event what do you think would go through Bob's head? If he said no then he is more or less putting his job before his faith. A faith that people risk being made a martyr just to meet weekly to worship in various places in the world. This is the issue I have. Nobody wants to offend anyone except people that are trying to exercise their own "freedom of religion." These people in today's USA get sued, lose their jobs, etc for saying "Yes Im a Christian and I don't see anything wrong with prayer." Nobody is being forced to pray here, or convert.

    I lived in Jordan for a year and I never felt that because all the muslims were praying at 5pm that I should. I respected them and how disciplined they were in their faith. Now if someone tried to make me kneel down and pray to Allah sure I'd get offended. I wish someone would answer what is so offensive about prayer. Don't want your kids having to interact with Christians or another religion? How is that part of someone any different from say a person who likes rap music or cusses too much at school. In the perfect world I wouldn't want my kids exposed to alot of stuff but it happens. Out of all the things I wouldn't want my kids exposes to I guarantee that a buddhist prayer or a muslim prayer is at the very, very, very, bottom of my list. Actually, its not even on the list.

    Once upon a time freedom of religion was the ability to exercise your religion as you saw fit, now it seems to be an excuse to try to keep religion out of everywhere. Because someone gets offended. Someone g.ets offended that Wal-mart is referring to holiday trees as Christmas trees so all the employees can no longer refer to it as Christmas trees. While going to college I work at Olive Garden and last christmas they specifically told us not to say Merry Christmas and just say Happy Holidays. Screw that, I said Merry Christmas. What if I had lost my job over that? Would that had been my fault for not letting Darden (The company that owns Olive Garden) dictate how I exercises my religious views on the smallest most miniscule level?

    Where does it stop? When is someone finally going to say enough is enough. Quit whining about ridiculously stupid things and recognize the bigger problems we have as a society. Worry about sexual harassment, drugs, crime, gangs, heinous acts, unplanned pregnancy. Any of those have way more threat to society then Bob the science guy saying a prayer at a student/faculty/community event.

    I predict in another 25 years it will be unique to hear someone say Merry Christmas in public. I hope Im wrong.
     
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