The purpose of this paper is to present an argumentative essay on whether or not prayer should be allowed in school. My personal perspective is that it should be, although I acknowledge some of the points on the cons side of the argument.
Being allowed to pray in school could generate a number of societal gains. It could help to promote morality, and, as a result, guide students away from teen pregnancy, escalating drug use, and school shootings. Prayer may also help students spiritually and psychologically; after all, education should do more than simply make pupils academically minded. In fact: “The U.S. Supreme Court has urged school cooperation with religious authorities for “it then respects the religious nature of our people and accommodates the public service to their spiritual needs” (All About History).
It could be said that school prayer is in violation of the First Amendment’s Establishment Clause, which states that: “the government shall make no law respecting the establishment of religion. Because public schools are government funded, prayer led by school officials or incorporated into the school routine amounts to government-established religion” (All About History). Moreover, allowing prayers at school goes against the separation of the state and church. It could also be put forward that public schools are designed solely to educate students and are not committed to proselytize religion. It could also be said that education in school is funded by the taxpayer and is designed for students of all denominations, and to that end it must remain neutral. Moreover, it would be difficult for schools to accommodate everyone’s different religious beliefs (All About History). Further, from some peoples’ point of view, the only suitable places for prayers are in the church and other places of worship, and the home (Wilkerson).
Arguing for Prayer in School
It could be said that there has been a misinterpretation by the Supreme Court in regard to the Constitution’s Establishment Clause. After all, how can a voluntary prayer at school necessitate the government’s establishment of a religion? Furthermore, prayers during the day at school could permit religious pupils to continually practice their beliefs. Moreover, there has been encouragement by the Supreme Court to empower educational institutions to work alongside authorities on religion in order to show respect for individuals who are religious, so that their spiritual requirements are met by public service institutions (All about History). In addition to this, those responsible for making law continually bring in laws and amendments which are structured to enable pupils to say prayers at school. To give an example of this: a couple of legislators from Alabama, Sen. Gerald Dial and Rep. Steve McMillan, introduced legislation to guarantee that pupils have the legal right to say prayers at school (Newsmax).
In summary, there are a substantial number of pros and cons on both sides of the argument. I firmly believe that there has been a huge misinterpretation by the Supreme Court in regard to the Constitution’s Establishment Clause. I do, however, have great hope that lawmakers such as Sen. Gerald Dial and Rep. Steve McMillan will speak up for the religious students in their areas. With time, this could mean a positive change around for those who need to practice their religion during the daytime. Spiritual needs are just as important as academic needs, if not more so, and I truly feel that the terrible societal problems that US is facing today could be ameliorated, at least to some degree, by the implementation of prayers in school. Even if prayers are restricted to breaks and lunch hours, there could be a non-denominational peaceful prayer room available for all students.
- All About History. “Pros and Cons of Prayer in school.” N.d., https://www.allabouthistory.org/pros-and-cons-of-prayer-in-school-faq.htm. Accessed 2 Nov. 2017
- Newsmax. “Should Prayer Be Allowed in Schools? Hot Social Media, Web Debate.” 2014, http://www.newsmax.com/FastFeatures/should-prayer-be-allowed/2014/11/02/id/603401/ Accessed 2 Nov. 2017
- Wilkerson, Robert, G. “7 reasons why prayer does not belong in public schools: clergy column.” 30 Sept. 2014.” http://www.al.com/living/index.ssf/2014/09/7_reasons_why_prayer_does_not.html. Accessed 2 Nov. 2017