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Audible Classroom Prayer
by Joseph Perrello
02/27/04
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josprel@localnet.com; josprel@juno.com

Audible Classroom Prayer

by
Josprel

It would seem that no believer would argue with an effort to amend our constitution to legalize classroom prayers. Many are of the opinion that such prayers would be similar to those offered in public classrooms prior to the Supreme Court's decision to ban them. There would be no difficulty for believers if such were the case and the program assured prayers suitable to Christians. However, since the Court's prohibition, pluralism has made astonishing attachments to the framework of American society. To have a chance for passage, the amendment could offer Christians no guarantees; therefore, the proposal begs the question: Audible classroom prayer to whom?

Some claim that "The Lord's Prayer," is suitable for the classroom. Terming it a, "generic prayer," and noting that it makes no reference to Jesus, they say it is offered to "the God whom we all worship." On its surface, this seems a valid argument - until we consider who authored the prayer. Will Jews, Moslems and those of other creeds agree to have their children recite a prayer ascribed to the Christian's Lord Jesus Christ? Will Hindu, Shinto, mystics, other oriental religions and secularist, permit their children to pray to "Our Father which art in heaven"? Will atheists, who initiated the ban, agree to not challenge the practice, even with a constitutional amendment that legalizes it?

Conversely, should audible classroom prayers suitable to Christians not be assured, will Christian parents condone having their children sit under the prayers and chants offered to the deities of other religions? And what of the cults; will Christians tolerate the rogations of cultists? In our pluralist society, audible school prayer definitely presents such dangers. One long-time proponent of classroom prayer changed his mind upon realizing that, if the program is mandated without guarantees protecting the Christian conscience, even prayers by Satanists - a legally recognized American religion - must be tolerated. Though the possibility seems remote, he does not want his children subjected to such a risk.

It is true that, under ideal conditions, the cosmetic effects of classroom prayer may be favorable. However, our public schools are far from ideal; religious differences will taint any form of audible school prayer. It is imperative that parents must be aware of such ramifications, for it is the children who will suffer the impact of such a program gone awry.

American public schools never will assume a partnership role in the Christian education of their students. God places this responsibility primarily on parents. It is in the home where Christian parents must structure a child's total Christian upbringing. Even the Church can only offer a supportive role in that task. The Bible directive to bring up our children in the way they should go is not addressed to the schools, or to the Church, or to any other institution - it is addressed to parents.


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