Why I'm Not For Prayer in School

First, let’s define the phrase. When most people say “let’s put prayer back in schools” they don’t mean, let’s give students the right to pray. They already have that right.  It was never taken away.  As long as it is not disruptive, any student or group of students is allowed to pray silently or aloud as they wish.  Schools are also required by law to give student-led prayer groups and bible studies the same access to school facilities that other extra-curricular groups (such as chess club or glee club) have. 

What is no longer allowed is a teacher, administrator or other school official leading the students in prayer.  I think that’s a good thing.  Once upon a time in our country, Christianity was the majority religion.  Most teachers and administrators would pray a Christian prayer.  That is no longer the case.  We live in a post-modern, post-Christian America.  You can no longer assume that your child’s teacher or principal will have a Christian background.  They may be Muslim, Jewish, Wiccan, Satanist, Scientologist, New Age, Atheist or whatever.  Do you really want someone with beliefs utterly opposed to your own leading your child in prayer daily?  I sure don’t.  

And besides in today’s era of tolerance, and pluralism, any prayer uttered by even a Christian teacher would be so watered down “so as not to offend anyone” that it would be meaningless.  It would be a prayer to an abstract, “lowest common denominator” deity that would be so inclusive, that it wouldn’t describe anybody’s “God”. 

If you send your child to public school, you have the right not to have a particular religion or ideology taught to your child.  Now, I also don’t believe that public schools are actually neutral.  A “neutral” ideology is still an ideology.  There is a system of beliefs being taught to our children.  It is up to us as parents to supplement what they learn at school with Christian teaching, so that they learn to see the world through a Biblical lens.  Equip your children with Scripture.  Make sure they know how to pray and share their faith with their friends.  Be involved in the public school system.  As Jesus commanded, be salt and light.

And remember you have a choice.  You can choose to send your child to public school, private school or to home school.  If you choose to send them to a Christian school, then you should expect (and want) your children to be led in prayer.  But a school that is paid for and run by the public is not the place to teach your children about Jesus. That’s your job.  And if you want the school to help you, you’re going to have to send them to a place that will.