I recently received an email asking what my response would be to someone (a friend) who felt that public prayer and prayer in schools is a violation of the Constitution's section on the separation of "church and state."
I usually don't share my political views. Honestly, I consider most politicians like professional wrestlers, entertaining but fake. But since I was asked, I thought I'd share my feelings with everyone...just so you know where The Average Joe stands on the issue.
It seems that people who want to squeeze God out of their lives, feel that us having God in ours is offensive. Usually, they hide behind the "separation of church and state."
The problem is that the constitution says nothing about public prayer or teaching the Bible in schools in the section regarding church and state. Its two major points are: 1) "...no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States..." and 2) "...congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof..."
The section's intent was to prevent a national religion like the Anglican Church in England. It would seem to me that public prayer is a RIGHT under the constitution (free exercise thereof).
Nobody has ever made me pray...they have made me bow my head, they have made me be silent and respectful of others, but the decision to pray is wholly mine. School prayer is the same way.
I'm not sure you could ever say anything to your "friend" that would change his/her mind. We believe in a Benevolent but Fierce God...they don't. We use a book that was written and compiled over the course of 1000's of years as a guide in matters of living and faith...they don't. Even though I have access to many studies on Christian Evidences, I still find that people believe what they want to believe and that the Bible teaches that we are seed sowers... and the job of creating conviction in the hearts of the unbelieving is the work of the Holy Spirit.
However, it seems evident to me with our children killing each other over IPODs, our teachers spending more time disciplining students than teaching them (and the parents of the unruly children feeling that being a jerk is a right under the constitution), the number of teens who are addicted to alcohol, drugs and pornography, and an economy that is in the toilet because of the greed of CEOs (who I'm guessing bowed their heads, but didn't pray), we probably could use a dose of wisdom from a God who knows how to best live our lives, not to mention an opportunity to speak with Him whenever necessary or desired...including in school.
Recently, a group of people were arrested for offering Christian tracts to passersby. Nobody was forced to take one and no laws were being broken. Why were they arrested? They were standing in front of a hotel where a Muslim gathering was taking place...in Detroit! (I hope your friend can speak Arabic, by the way)
And while I'm on the subject, I find it interesting that the same people who detest school prayer, and religion being forced down their throats, will move their entire families to the Middle East, have the women cover their entire body in public because of the misogynistic views of the native religion, and subject their children to public ridicule because of they are Americans...all because the money is right! (OK, Alex...I'll have "A Spine" for 300, please)
Constitutionally, even though a court may disagree, the founding fathers never intended for an education system to be considered as part of the "state." The rotunda in the US Capitol was used for church services by a number of different denominations. In God We Trust is imprinted on our money. God's name permeates the writing of our founding fathers who would be ashamed of what our country has become.
But since we have asked God to leave our homes, schools, and lives...being the gentleman he is, he is obeying our wishes. And people like your friend are the reason why.
I just pray (publicly) that God will be merciful to us all.