Dear God, please leave me alone... prayer in school?

PregnantForTheLastTime

Hideous trait.
Quote from the Chicago Tribune this morning:

SPRINGFIELD - State lawmakers moved Illinois to the forefront of the national school-prayer debate Thursday, requiring public schools to provide students with a brief moment of silence at the start of classes.

The House joined the Senate in voting to override Gov. Rod Blagojevich's veto of legislation mandating the period for "silent prayer or for silent reflection on the anticipated activities of the day."

(It's "bla-goy-a-vitch" if you're curious. Sometimes called Blago.)


I didn't think I'd be fighting the good fight all way up here, so far from the Mason-Dixon line. Now, I almost had to call Rob Sherman once last fall over a flyer that was passed out at school, but that won't even help now.

Moment of silence, my ass. I have no problem with the Pledge of Allegiance- I'll accept that mention of "God" as an abstract. But when you add this in... the obvious implication is that you should be using the moment of silence to reflect on something specific. Maybe if they passed out dandelions to blow after making their "wishes," I'd be ok with it. They'd probably get a better return on their investment. There are not enough minutes in the school day as it is, and now they're wasting one underlining the fact that some kids pray and some kids don't. Mine don't. If you want to see Mama Bear come out to play, wait until the day my kid comes home crying because some little asswipe told him about hell and why he's going there. Grrr...

Serves me right for sitting on my ass instead of constantly writing letters to my representatives... I even get a weekly state legislature update, and I haven't read it in a few weeks because I've been busy. Although clearly that wouldn't have helped.

OK, vent over.
 
Looks like you haven't forgiven Jesus.

"silent reflection on the anticipated activities of the day" is a hell of a euphemism for prayer.

Seriously, though, I totally agree with you. I'm moving into uncharted territory these days, though, because our eldest just started public kindergarten, and she's being exposed to kids who've been brought up Christian. Before that, she was damn near the only Anglo in a preschool where the kids represented a huge range of ethnicities and religions.
 
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Corrissey

lovable loser
Blago=Blecho (yuck)

Hey Pregs, I heard that too on the radio this morning... driving my kids to school... then heard the Pledge over the loudspeakers as I walked thru the corridors. I'm thinking... Is a moment of silence NECESSARY? AND how much time do you equate it takes to reflect on your maker or the cosmos or what I want for my birthday, or I hope I get a lot of candy for halloween, etc. And what will happen with the ACTUAL moment of silences we have for when there is a major tramatic event or the passing of a prominent person? For the love of Moz, let school just be school. Reflect at recess. :p

On the other side of the coin, I can't imagine a teacher having to quiet down a classroom of 30 kids -any age- to be quiet for a minute. GOD -or whoever!- help them there.
 

Anaesthesine

Angel of Distemper
It is a battle that will never end, and I'm sorry to see that Illinois has fallen.

I do object to the "God" in the Pledge of Allegiance. When I was a kid I refused to say the pledge all together. Then I was forced to say it, but I left out the "God" part. It's OK - they can make the kids say it, they can make the kids "pray," but they can't make them believe anything that runs counter to their own common sense.

It amazes me, really, that there are so many fanatics in this country who wish to turn their fairy tales into law.
 

left out

New Member
I was reading a commentary, I think from Islam, which was saying...
If you do a religious service, out of fear (going to hell because you haven't observed the correct rituals)
or for gain (prestige here, or a reward in heaven)
then the services of no use, because the motivation is not right. I think this could apply to Christianity too.

It appears to me that people who try to force others to go through the rituals of religion do so for the reasons above. I was raised among people like this. Not only are their actions futile, in terms of their own religion, the ultimate effect is more likely to turn people away from what they believe. Coercion creates resistance.
 

Worm

Taste the diffidence
God should be left out of school on principle but for more concrete reasons as well. The kid who shot up his school the other day was bullied for many different things, but one incident which led to his final crack-up was his aggressive atheism:

A schoolmate said Coon had been beaten up Monday after saying "F--- God" during an argument.

"He got beat up and he came back today, and I knew something was going to happen," the student said outside the school Wednesday afternoon. "Yesterday I was like, 'I'm not coming to school, man. This dude might come up here and shoot us up.'"​

A moment of silence for prayer needlessly invites this kind of conflict.

Anyway it's not like there isn't prayer in school already. You'll see lots of closed eyes, clasped hands, and silent murmuring going on-- right before tests and quizzes.
 

Quite Shy

New Member
'Coercion creates resistance'. Absolutely right, LeftOut. I had the myths and fairytales of religion rammed down my throat as a child...needless to say, I'm now a proud atheist.

There is no room for the bollocks of religion at school...but sadly, as long as religious fanatics get into politics and get onto governing boards and local councils, then these people will always impose policy on the rest of us.

Religion divides. It should be replaced by lessons in race/gender awareness.

Rant now over!
 
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Dave

Guest
What is wrong with a moment of silence? I think if a moment of silence is possible in a classroom, it's a good thing. IT seems to me that it would be calming and regreshing, and serve as a barrier between the noise of the hallway and the focus on the classroom activities.

It does not inflict anything on the students, but a decision that students can not have a moment of quiet contemplation does deprive them of a basic right.

How would you see it differently if they called it a moment of meditation? I think it's the equation of "moment of silence" with "children being forced to pray to God" that is the problem, and that's not a very liberal point of view.

(Also, I bet that guy was bullied and called Rod f*****-bitch. If this had happened to you in school you would have wanted all the moments of silence you could get.) <---- does this last bit add to or detract from the discussion?
 
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Dave

Guest
Did I win this, or is nobody up for it? Please hurry, I have to go to the post office very soon.
 

Quite Shy

New Member
As NotRightInTheHead put it earlier, it's the deceit of 'silent reflection' masquerading as prayer which is the problem...it's clear that the school authorities are determined to impose prayer on kids but hope to get away with it by rebranding it as 'reflection'.

Meditation is all very well, but can't people do it in their own time? Enforcing it surely defeats the purpose.

Religion always manages to crowbar itself into everything these days.
 
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Dave

Guest
I see that side of it, but it's one thing to lead a prayer in public school, and another thing to allow time for a little pause to collect your thoughts. I think that saying that students Can Not have a moment of silence is just as bad as leading them in prayer, it's just the opposite side of the coin, but it's still enforcing beliefs on the student.

I think that to allow the moment of silence, with no reference to anything religious, is fine.

I do understand that some people see this as an opportunity to pray, but it's wrong to tell people that they can't pray as much as it is to tell them they must pray.
 
A

Alcoholic Afternoons

Guest
I think it's interesting how afraid of/hostile towards religion some people are. People talk about being open-minded and tolerant, but when it comes to religion, and in particular Christianity, those supposedly liberal minds close pretty quickly, and are remarkably intolerant.
 
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Dave

Guest
It's not just Christianity or religion, though that is why I mentioned mediatation. If some student wanted to pray to Allah and was being prevented from doing so, I think that many people on both sides of the issue would swap sides.

If you can call yourself "liberal" or "conservative" and you can tick off your standing on issues like abortion, death penalty, etc, and they all agree with "your side" right down the line, then I don't believe you're really thinking; you've just accepted a set of beliefs. These are not easy questions, and the idea that independent thinkers would come up with the same conclusions on all of them seems incredible.

edit: I think if you believe this is a good thing though, it is important to seperate it from any association with prayer or religion. It's just a time out, a chance to get focused, take a few deep breaths, go from one situation to another.
 
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DJChuckyC

ExPLosiveKegs
I think it's interesting how afraid of/hostile towards religion some people are. People talk about being open-minded and tolerant, but when it comes to religion, and in particular Christianity, those supposedly liberal minds close pretty quickly, and are remarkably intolerant.

What's remarkable is how quickly those who denounce any type of Christianity hit their knees when a tragedy happens to a loved one. "Convenient Christianity"!! Remember the days when kids used to respect their elders instead of robbing them and used to "tell the teacher" but now kill their classmates instead. Great values alot of kids have today. Coincidental I'm sure~has nothing to do with their bleeding heart liberal parents :rolleyes:
 

Buzzetta

WOOOOOOOO!!!!!
Hmm...
I have to add my two cents here.
(Some of you are going "Why wouldn't you?" in a very sarcastic tone - not nice)

Anyway...
I have a homeroom. I have not read up on my European style of middle and high schools so I do not know how things are run over there. Over here a homeroom is where the morning paperwork like attendance, form collecting, collection of cell phones and general paper pushing is handled.

During attendance no one under penalty of demerits / detention is allowed to speak unless spoken to. Sounds harsh but hang on for a second. Many kids do not understand the reason for this but without realizing it they show the results for the rest of the day.

The silent time is calming and sets the tone for my homeroom for the rest of the day. They can sit and think, they may read a book, they may finish up any homework that they did not do. The only thing that they may not engage in is any communication with one another. If they calm down after entering the building they walk to their first class. (Each homeroom travels together at my school) They are more likely to settle down when they reach that first period and begin their work. The teacher next door to me and myself seem to have the calmer of the homerooms because of that (I believe) and the kids themselves are regarded to be the better two classes within the grade rarely receiving demerits or detentions.

A moment of silence, a reflection break call it what you will. If something gets the students to calm down, settle down and get a focus for what they have to do that day. I am all for it.

On a side note... I do not go to church... I served my tour back in 89-93 in a Catholic high school having been in the public system up until then. I remember three years ago teaching though when we learned that one of our students had been in a car crash and the girl's father and herself did not make it. When they asked for a moment of silence to keep the girl's family and her sister who was also a student in our thoughts.... well was a real crime committed? Tell me anything you want... I do not believe so... even though this was a public school.

In certain circumstances a hey - lets count ourselves lucky for what we have in our lives and lets think of the situations of others is never a bad thing.
 

Anaesthesine

Angel of Distemper
I think it's interesting how afraid of/hostile towards religion some people are. People talk about being open-minded and tolerant, but when it comes to religion, and in particular Christianity, those supposedly liberal minds close pretty quickly, and are remarkably intolerant.

I know I sound hostile towards religion, but we are not discussing religion, we are discussing politics.

Whatever you choose to believe in your own heart is your religion. Whatever dictates your own personal code of ethics is your own business. However, what you publicly mandate, what you legislate, what you impose on others are your political beliefs, and I have every right to object - most strenuously.

I am intolerant of religions that preach bigotry, as American Fundamentalist Christians do. They are trying to amend the Constitution, for goodness sakes. They are trying to take away our right to birth control, and they are anti-science. The religious right believes that they are foot-soldiers in a culture war that they have been fighting ever since Darwin had a brilliant idea. Furthermore, they are apocalyptic in their worldview, and they are very much pro-war. A more destructive group of people is hard to imagine. I know some lovely Christians, who are truly Christ-like, and they condemn these activities as much as I do. But they do not police their own people, they are passive, they follow their religion's authoritarian model, and therein lies the danger. Someone has to object to the creeping fundamentalism that is guiding public policy in this country.

School prayer is not about freedom, it is about conformity. Quiet reflection is a fine thing, and I don't object to it at all. But public prayer, whole ostensibly neutral, is a foot in the door to the destruction of the separation of church and state. This is unacceptable in a free, open and democratic society. Pray in your heart, pray in your temples, churches, and mosques, pray in the great outdoors, pray in your own homes - that is your right as free individuals. But our public spaces, our commons, should be neutral territory.

I must apologize for my sporadic responses, I'm usually only here in the mornings, and that makes for lousy debates.
 

Mmmmmm

Dangling Member
School prayer is not about freedom, it is about conformity. Quiet reflection is a fine thing, and I don't object to it at all. But public prayer, whole ostensibly neutral, is a foot in the door to the destruction of the separation of church and state. This is unacceptable in a free, open and democratic society. Pray in your heart, pray in your temples, churches, and mosques, pray in the great outdoors, pray in your own homes - that is your right as free individuals. But our public spaces, our commons, should be neutral territory.

Well said. Let's not name this anything but what it is: an attempt to get prayer and religion into schools. It is not mountain-top gurus seeking to have quiet time in schools, but Christian evangelicals. Why cant' these people simply subject their own children to prayer rituals on their own time? Why do they want prayer-time in schools? Because they want religion in schools.

Does anyone think that 'silent time' in a predominantly evangelical Christian school will be silent?
 

Worm

Taste the diffidence
I think it's interesting how afraid of/hostile towards religion some people are. People talk about being open-minded and tolerant, but when it comes to religion, and in particular Christianity, those supposedly liberal minds close pretty quickly, and are remarkably intolerant.

Tolerance for the tolerant, intolerance for the intolerant.
 
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Dave

Guest
Tolerance for the tolerant, intolerance for the intolerant.

Come on Wormy, old boy. When you start speaking in bumperstickers I worry. Is the Earth going to plunge into the Sun on this fine afternoon?

Can't this silent time be different things to different people?

Buzzetta, you said it very well. That quiet time is exactly what I was trying to describe, and I think the classroom should be respected. As much as possible it should be immune from the "noise" of the outside world.

I don't know what sorts of backgrounds your students come from, but many students today find a better model for structure in school than they do at home. That silent time is like the airlock between the outside world and the classroom.


I want to quit posting on this thread, but before I do I have to say that those of you that equate "moment of silence" with "Christianity" seem to be extremely intolerant and unimaginative to me. It's like when someone claims to be an Atheist and then all of their argument is about the Christian Bible. Have a little imagination. The Creative Force of the Universe (tm) ("God") doesn't have to be, and probably isn't, whatever concept it is that you are resistant to, and a moment of silence is not "Prayer in the Schools".
 
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