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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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    And where did you get this idea? The wording in the article seems to directly disagree with you.

    Praying is not 'promoting his religion'. It is exercising it. And the teachers didn't start their jobs with this court order, either.
     
  2. Aldeth the Foppish Idiot

    Aldeth the Foppish Idiot Armed with My Mallet O' Thinking Veteran

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    I'd say pretty much never. I'm with Ziad here - if you have your hands clapsed, eyes closed, softly saying a prayer to yourself, you can do that for your whole lunch hour for all I care.

    I seriously doubt that they were doing just this. If they were not openly praying aloud, then the thought police have come to America. There's no way you can say they violated a court order for saying a prayer to themselves. The whole point of the court order was that they were praying over an event. I maintain that the most reasonable intepretation is that they performed some type of invocation (in the religious sense - I'm not suggesting they cast a Fireball spell) at the start of the event.

    While that's true, it's also obvious that it's secular, just like all other government (regardless of whether it's federal, state, or local) institutions - whether you're talking about the public library, police force, or the post office.

    I really hope T2B repped you for that. Seeing as how T2 has adult children, I'd say the probably is quite high that he is more than 39 years old - unless he was like 15 when he had his first kid.
     
  3. T2Bruno

    T2Bruno The only source of knowledge is experience Distinguished Member ★ SPS Account Holder Adored Veteran New Server Contributor [2012] (for helping Sorcerer's Place lease a new, more powerful server!) Torment: Tides of Numenera SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!)

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    Well, if he would have left it at ten years I might have repped him, but then he had to add the "or so" -- I do appreciate the politeness of putting ten years at the low end though.
     
  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're welcome. I'm sure my post was a little like getting carded. :)

    My overall point in calling out the "recentness" was that you would expect teachers to be more overt with their expressions of faith the further back in American culture you go. At least I didn't say "things haven't changed much since T2's time...you know, back in the olden days. :p
     
  5. Ziad

    Ziad I speak in rebuses Veteran

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    You mean this wording?
    "[...]permanently prohibited from promoting, advancing, endorsing, participating in or causing prayers during or in conjunction with school events"
    (emphasis mine)

    See above. Praying is exercising your religion (see my comments and Aldeth's on bowing your head and praying before having your lunch). Causing a prayer is promoting your religion AND exercising it at the same time, but then again any promotion of your religion is also exercising it, so in this case the promotion part overrides the exercising part when it comes to appropriateness (or more to the point, to court orders).
     
  6. 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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    Back in the olden days :geezer:, we had to stand for the lord's prayer in the morning. I remember getting detention once because, in one of my more radically rebellious moods, I disrespectfully leaned on my desk while the prayer was being said. The funny thing was that I don't think the teacher gave a rat's arse, but he had to do something because "those were the rules".
     
  7. LKD Gems: 31/31
    Latest gem: Rogue Stone


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    I have heard of universities having what they term "non-denominational" prayers that simply offer gratitude to a higher power. Such prayers are an effort to not alienate any people from religions or sects that are different from the mainstream, but the problem now hits with hardcore atheists, who object to ANY form of prayer.

    Now I think I see what T2 was responding to in my posts. It has always been my understanding that into the 50s the Lord's Prayer was quite common in many North American schools. But over the years it has been pretty well been eliminated from public schools.

    I remember Gnarff posting on this ages ago. On the one hand, I agree with what he said. In a nutshell, he argued that it wouldn't kill a kid to just keep a respectful silence even if he was not a believer -- once the radical anti-prayer people are finished ranting they make it sound like the kid is being asked to keep quite while being gang raped by a herd of wild goats. In one sense I can't really see that simply staying quiet during a prayer is an infringement of freedoms at all.

    However, I can also see the other side of it -- Christianity's role in North American life has been steadily decreasing. Many people don't want even the best possible effort of non-denominational activity in the classrooms, and they've convinced us that any such observance is an infringement on rights. Well, IMHO it's not a battle that's worth fighting. One can still be a good Christian without having the Lord's Prayer in the classroom. Best to focus on what's happening in your own home.

    Kinda reminds me about the story of Daniel. His political adversaries tricked the leader of the country into making prayer to anyone but said leader illegal. Daniel prayed in private in his room. he didn't try to make a big political deal out of it because he knew that prayer is at it's core a personal thing. He still got caught because his political opponents were nosy douchebags* (I'm using the LKD translation of the Bible here) but we all know what happened when he got tossed into the den of lions. The moral of the story? Be true to yourself, but pick your battles.

    *also because he didn't have the foresight to close his effing window, but I digress.
     
  8. T2Bruno

    T2Bruno The only source of knowledge is experience Distinguished Member ★ SPS Account Holder Adored Veteran New Server Contributor [2012] (for helping Sorcerer's Place lease a new, more powerful server!) Torment: Tides of Numenera SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!)

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    Did the lions stop him from being gang raped by a herd of wild goats?

    :D
     
  9. NOG (No Other Gods)

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

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    Emphasis mine. See, that means that any single one of those amounts to a violation of the court order. So, we know that the participants participated in a prayer, and that the principal caused a prayer by asking someone else to pray (someone he knew was a Christian). We don't know that they did anything other than that to 'promote, advance, or endorse' prayer.

    I don't see how asking someone else whom you already know is a Christian to pray with you is any different from simply praying by yourself. If one is 'promoting' your religion (and that's pure BS), then so is the other.



    Actually, LKD, I think Daniel specifically wanted to pray publicly, in direct defiance of the king's order. That's always how I read it, at least.
     
  10. Déise

    Déise Both happy and miserable, without the happy part!

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    Yes, it's so blatantly unreasonable as to be illegal, as is asking somebody to work in a dangerous environment. Aside from illegal acts though, it's up to individuals themselves to decide whether or not they regard the conditions as reasonable. I don't think expecting workers of a secular school to behave in a secular manner is unreasonable myself. If people do find the condition unreasonable though the logical thing would be not to accept the job.

    I went to religious schools where we had religion classes and prayers. Some of my teachers were from different religions. These people weren't expected to follow our religion. They simply taught the majority of the classes as normal and then let one of the other teachers come in for the religious stuff (say taking that teacher's art class instead). They didn't participate in any of the religious ceremonies and obviously didn't try to preach to us about their religion or practice it actively in front of us. To me a teacher in a secular school should be like one of these teachers. They shouldn't be expected to betray their beliefs but at the same time shouldn't be using their position to advertise it.

    While we can't be 100% sure from the article I'd reiterate Aldeth's point that the prayer took the form of an invocation to the gathering as a whole rather than the two queitly mumbling away to each other. It's very difficult to imagine the complaints being made and upheld by the courts otherwise.
     
  11. NOG (No Other Gods)

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

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    Well, that's a matter of opinion. And law. That's why I asked the lawyers here how constitutional the order was.

    As has been noted, there's a huge difference between a government-run job and a private company's job. If Wal-Mart wants you to say "Hail Satan", you either do or you get fired. If the DMV wants you to, though, you can sue (and win).

    Déise, at one point the ACLU was trying to ban all religious broadcasting from the radio and TV, claiming that the FCC was a gov't entity and as such shouldn't 'promote religion'. Because, of course, allowing anyone who can pay to broadcast whatever legal broadcasts they want is 'promoting religion'. After that, I wouldn't put anything past them.
     
  12. T2Bruno

    T2Bruno The only source of knowledge is experience Distinguished Member ★ SPS Account Holder Adored Veteran New Server Contributor [2012] (for helping Sorcerer's Place lease a new, more powerful server!) Torment: Tides of Numenera SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!)

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    NOG, please check your facts first. You can't always trust the information on little pamphlets -- I tried in high school and failed an English paper I wrote based on an anti-abortion pamphlet. At the time I thought my teacher was being biased and unfair.

    Religious Broadcast Rumor Denied by FCC. There is a huge difference between asking the FCC to look into operating practices of stations licensed to religious organizations and your outragous (and obviously false) claims. You've made this accusations several times without the decency of backing up your claims. Feel free to argue the accuracy of the report to the FCC.

    Since that was obviously false, what wouldn't you put past the ACLU now?
     
  13. Déise

    Déise Both happy and miserable, without the happy part!

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    There are still limits to freedom of religion though. Try telling the military that your religion is completely against all forms of violence for example. If your particular religious beliefs act directly against the requirements of your job then I doubt you can sue, government worker or not. If you're employed in a secular school then I think you have to regard your religion as a private matter. I know the teacher would like to preach but I can't see any fundamental tenets of Christianity being broken here. Granted the US has a lot of sects I'm not familiar with but you'd have to be very far from the mainstream to regard this as a big deal.

    I'm not against religion in schools. But I do definitely think that if the school is secular then teachers should act accordingly. There would be pupils sent there by parents on the explicit understanding that they don't receive any religious education. These would be parents of 'other' religions as much as atheists.
     
  14. T2Bruno

    T2Bruno The only source of knowledge is experience Distinguished Member ★ SPS Account Holder Adored Veteran New Server Contributor [2012] (for helping Sorcerer's Place lease a new, more powerful server!) Torment: Tides of Numenera SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!)

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    During the draft the US had conscientious objectors classification -- which was exactly what you said. However, the all-volunteer force does not accept conscientious objector status (and it shouldn't -- if you have a problem with using military force you shouldn't be in the military).
     
  15. NOG (No Other Gods)

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

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    Well, that's the first I've heard of that. Thanks for the info.

    Deise, not killing in the Army and not praying in school are significantly different things. One is a blatant requirement of the job, the other is an optional activity that doesn't necessarily interfere with the job at all. I'll agree that there are still limits to freedom of religion, but I don't think this should be one.


    Another worrysome story, which is related, and so I don't think deserves a seperate thread. Apparently, a New Hampshire court has decided a home-schooled child shouldn't be home-schooled anymore, against the desires of her mother. More:

    In summary, the girl fulfills all criteria for home-schooling, but apparently a guardian ad litem decided 'that the girl was found to "lack some youthful characteristics," in part because she "appeared to reflect her mother's rigidity on question of faith," according to court documents.' The arguement goes that this indicates she hasn't been exposed to other ideas enough, even though she attents a supplementary public school, is involved in multiple after-school activities, and is described in court documents as "social and interactive with her peers".

    Now, to be fair, the whole issue started because the girl's father, who divorced her mother when she was an infant and does not have primary custody, decided he wanted her in public school. The mother disagreed. They went to court. The court appointed a guardian ad litem (apparently as a fact-finding mission, not a custody matter). This is the ruling.


    My question is, doesn't this directly contradict what is being argued in Florida? Isn't the whole point of the case in Florida that we don't want our impressionable, young (and in that case high-school) children exposed to other religions and world-views?
     
  16. Déise

    Déise Both happy and miserable, without the happy part!

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    It's entirely optional from the teacher's point of view as well though. Yes praying is a good thing but God won't mind if you do it at home in your own time instead of at a school function. The sheer pettiness of the official is one of the reasons why I've no sympathy for him. He's antagonising people with his behaviour which is of very minor importance to his Christian beliefs.

    I'd take the opposite view of the home schooling case. Kids sent to secular schools are far more likely to be exposed to religions and other world views. There's usually a great mix of kids in there. The point of it is that they're exposed to it through their peers, it's not pushed onto them by their authority figures.

    The father in the case has stated that he's no problem with religion and takes her to church himself. The issue seems purely to be whether the social element to schooling is an important part of your development compared to the isolationism of home schooling.

    The mention of 'rigidity .. of faith' does appear unusual but I get the impression that it was a line picked up on by the religious group rather than a cornerstone of the judgement. To me I'd take it as meaning that she assumes her mother's guidelines are the same as everybody else's. Whereas even religious families will place emphasis on different things.
     
  17. NOG (No Other Gods)

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

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    Deise, the court records show that the child is otherwise normally developed socially, and already engages in socialization with peers outside of home schooling. I'm already dubious of a court's right to violate home-schooling on such a weak ground as socialization (how exactly do you define 'normal socialization'?), and this appears to be even more cooked up. If anyone else can find more details as to the reasoning behind the order, please do, but I looked through google and Fox was the only major news outlet to mention anything, and the others I found (mostly blogs) were more of the same.
     
  18. 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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    Of the the few people that I know have been home-schooled, they are all very naive about the ways of the world... not saying that is the case with everyone who is home-schooled, but it makes ya wonder.
     
  19. Déise

    Déise Both happy and miserable, without the happy part!

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    I don't want to start a discussion about home schooling as that'd be moving way off topic. I know it's not unusual in the US but in Europe it would be viewed as eccentric and by default would be regarded as bad for kids. Not that I doubt home schooled kids are well behaved and do well at exams. With parents that committed to them it'd be a surprise if they weren't. It's their ability to cope with idiotic ignoramuses we'd worry about. And the sanitised social outlets where they mix with kids from similar backgrounds (ie other nice kids) doesn't quite replace school in this regard.

    I can't see this case as being an attack on home schooling. One parent wants it but the other doesn't and there's no in between so the court has to reach a decision one way or the other. I wouldn't take this as being an example of where the state would choose to step in if it wasn't asked to do so by a parent.
     
    Last edited: Sep 3, 2009
  20. NOG (No Other Gods)

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

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    Blades, most home-schooled children have, at best, limited interaction outside of their family. This doesn't seem to be true for this girl.

    Similarly to you, Deise. This doesn't appear to be a typically limiting home-school environment. As to the court's ruling, yes, they have to side with one parent or the other. In this case, though, I would say the default should be to support the parent with existing responsability over the issue unless there is substantial evidence of harm. I would compare it to the courts getting involved over minor matters that parents dispute over, such as bed times, diets, TV, etc. And yes, divorced parents can fight quite avidly over such things. In all such cases, where one parent already has the established responsability of deciding, the courts should only interfere with that if evidence of substantial harm is shown.

    As to prayer in school, let me ask something else. How would you all react to a school restricting a homosexual couple's actions in school? Should it just be limited to the same restricions as students and ordinary 'pda's? Should they be banned from holding hands, or from telling students about their relationship in any way? Basically, should they, as teachers, be under any more restrictions than students?
     
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