Anyway, if you ever read anything about school prayer, or should you find yourself even in a cursory conversation about school prayer, do yourselves a big favor and read this very amazingly written essay regarding the history of school prayer, and why it deserves to rightly be banned from our public schools. Its' a long read, but it's a very good read.
And, it's a little horrifying as well:
For the Love of God, Stop! Please Stop!: The First, Last, Final, Ultimate Word on School Prayer
(the link now works. Thanks again, Bill)
There are far too many reasons for banning school prayer than I can cover, but so many times I hear people rattling on about this, and it's clear they (or their pastors, or both) neglect to fully study and understand the tremendous mountain of history behind this issue.
"In 1859 an 11-year-old Catholic boy named Thomas Whall refused to read the Lordâs Prayer and the Ten Commandments during his weekly required exercises at a Boston public school, so assistant principal McLaurin F. Cooke whipped the boyâs hands with a three-foot-long rattan stick, pausing occasionally to give him a chance to begin his recitations. The beating continued for 30 minutes, with the boyâs classmates shouting at him not to give in, but the pain and the blood were too much and he finally relented and agreed to read as instructed. The Whall family lodged a criminal complaint, but the judge said that the Bible exercises were required by law so that young children could learn âhumanity, and a universal benevolence, sobriety, moderation and temperance.â Complaint dismissed."
Anyway, if you've got the time, give it a read. I think you'll really enjoy it, and you may just learn a very important thing or two. I was kind of surprised to learn that the excusal doctrine (that if a child doesn't want to pray in class, he or she can step outside) could be seen as unconstitutional itself. That pretty much lays waste to perhaps 90% of the arguments I've heard in favor of school prayer.
Posted By Dan to The Wisdom of a Distracted Mind at 11/20/2007 10:06:00 PM