Yes, You Can Pray In School

 

PopeTrumpI keep seeing these bogus memes on Facebook and elsewhere about how we need to put prayer back in public schools. And now President Trump is pandering to Evangelicals by telling them he’ll do just that. This is strictly a political move since an article in Christianity Today portraying him as unfit seems to have damaged his support among true believers.
I have to wonder about Christians. Do they truly believe that students cannot pray in school? Or, do they wish to return to a time when kids were forced to attend MarsMonkeyprayers led by faculty? Are they malicious, or just horrendously uninformed? I suspect some of both. And it goes without saying that Trump knows prayer isn’t banned in public schools. He’s blatantly lying to gullible Christians to get their votes. I supported him in 2016 because he was the better of two bad options. But if Donald Trump is a sincere, practicing Christian then I’m the first monkey on Mars.

 

At a recent rally in Florida, Trump said…

“We are defending religion itself, it’s under siege. A society without religion cannot prosper.”

Any informed person knows that this is a steaming pile. Want proof? The table below shows the 10 best and worst nations based upon quality of life. Also shown is the percentage of the population holding religion as important. Links to sources at end of article.

Best Quality Of Life
Nation Pct
Religious
Canada 42%
Sweden 17%
Denmark 19%
Norway 21%
Switzerland 41%
Finland 28%
Australia 32%
Netherlands 33%
New Zealand 33%
Germany 40%
Worst Quality Of Life
Congo 94%
Malawi 99%
Central African Republic 94%
Liberia 94%
Madagascar 93%
Eritrea [unavailable]
Zimbabwe 88%
Burundi 98%
Niger 96%
Afghanistan 97%
(Just in case you’re curious, the USA came in at #17 on the Best list.)
StudentPrayer_01

Image Credit: Breaking Christian News

Students and faculty are free to pray to their heart’s content as long as said prayers do not disrupt class or other school activities. Neither faculty or government may tell students when, where, if, how or to whom to pray. Any teacher that for instance, stops a kid from praying quietly over his lunch in the cafeteria is breaking the law and should be dealt with accordingly. Students nowadays actually have more religious freedom than back when I was in school. I well remember sitting there with my head down whilst the Principal prayed for all of us via the intercom. And of course that was followed by the Pledge Of Allegiance, complete with “under God.” Every ballgame, every assembly… well, everything started with a mandatory prayer back then. And if you didn’t bow your head and join in, you better hope you didn’t get caught.

So what do Trump and the Evangelicals want? Trump of course wants their votes. It was primarily white Evangelicals that put him in the White House. And he’s concerned that his support might not be as strong now as it was when he was elected. As to the Evangelicals, they apparently want a return to the power and influence they enjoyed in years past. They wish to put gays, atheists, liberals, and anyone else who doesn’t toe their line back in the closet. The sociopolitical playing field is being leveled, and Evangelicals are feeling “persecuted.” Poor little snowflakes.

Christians (and Muslims, Buddhists etc) know that the best time to indoctrinate someone is when they’re young. And that is why they apparently want prayer required in public schools. Grab that young skull when it’s a sponge for knowledge and pump it full of unprovable bullshit while they still believe in Santa Claus. But if they’re taught Creationism at home and proper science at school then a conflict exists. My folks told me that I should learn in science class to get good grades, but not to believe it. No disrespect to my wonderful parents, but logic, reason and science won that battle. I am profoundly grateful to have broken free of the chains of religion.

Of course Christians are still fighting to make schools teach Intelligent Design as an “alternative theory” to Evolution. The Supreme Court dealt a powerful blow to the Christian agenda in 2004. They ruled that Intelligent Design was just Creationism masquerading as science. Even so, some states have found ways to sneak Bible study into their curriculums. They’re like roaches. Just when you think you got rid of them, they come sneaking back.

Part of the problem is that many Intelligent Design…(ahem) “scientists” want their ideas to get a free ride into school text books.  How do theories make it into our text books? First, a theory must make it past the often-brutal process of peer review. You polish your theory, get all your evidence together, and submit it to a credible journal. Others in your field then test it – generally by duplicating your experiments – and see if the theory has any predictive ability. This can take months or even years to happen. If it doesn’t pan out, it’s rejected. And if it’s rejected, it doesn’t make it to a text book.

Creationists have attempted to use credible journals and nearly always fail. So, they often use less credible journals or just publish a book in hopes someone actually reads it. There are even bogus journals out there with the sole purpose of falsely approving these unfounded beliefs. In other words, they’re perfectly willing to lie to get their work into a text book and muddle your child’s mind. Their determination to push their pseudoscience into our schools is truly alarming.

And a quick note…

For those of you who don’t know how the word “theory” applies to science, a scientific theory is an attempt to explain a known fact. Gravitational theory explains gravity. Atomic theory explains what we know of atoms. Evolutionary theory explains evolution.

Anyway, moving along…
School should be for education, not indoctrination. If you wish to teach your child that Dirt Man and his transgender bone clone doomed humanity when a talking snake conned them into eating a fruit from the wrong tree, that is unfortunately your right and I respect it (but I do not respect such ridiculous beliefs). But you do NOT have the right to try forcing it on other people’s children. Keep that mess at home or at church where it belongs. Yes, you can pray at school. But you cannot proselytize. That’s the law.

Sources and Related Reading

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