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They Kicked God Out…

“I’m just saying…”

I read this sign in a restaurant earlier today:  “They kicked God out of the public schools, but He is still welcome here.  Feel free to pray!”  The sign included a family, around a table, holding hands, heads bowed.

Let’s set the silly notion aside for this post that God could be kicked out of any place.  This cute little sign was obviously meant to address something else.  The sign opperates under the assumption that some law has been passed in the U.S.A. that managed to outlaw prayer in the public schools. 

You’ve probably heard the myth repeated several times that somehow prayer has been made illegal in our schools.  The truth, however, is the exact opposite.  The law of the land actually permits students and even faculty to pray all they want. 

What is illegal is forcing anyone to pray.  The Principal at my son’s high school cannot take to the intercom and demand a moment of silence while he prays a sectarian prayer based on his religious tradition.  What is illegal is the act of forcing anyone to pray or listen to the prayers of another.

This is a very good thing.  Why should I trust somebody in a government run public school to be in any fashion responsible for the religious training of my children?  What if the Principal is Hindu, Muslim, or Jewish?  As a Christian, should my son be forced to observe their doctrines and rituals of prayer?

The same is true for the student’s whose faith background is Hindu, Muslim, Jewish, or otherwise.  What right do I (as a Christian) have to compel (by force of law) anyone else to participate in the religious rituals of my faith tradition? 

If my religion is a faith worthy of being practiced, it should not need the weight of government behind it anyways.

The bottom line is this: the law does not forbid prayer in public school.  Students and faculty can pray daily in public schools.  What the law forbids is anyone being forced to pray or participate in any sort of religious ritual.   As for me, I think this is a great thing.   What do you think?

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