Stupid teacher tricks: No, teachers can’t lead prayers


What devilry gets into a tiny few teachers to make them think they alone are immune from the First Amendment?

In a public classroom, teachers are the government.  They may not lead prayers, not even if all the students consent.

Down in Meadville, Mississippi, a Franklin County High School teacher, Alice Hawley,  lost her teaching contract because she led daily prayers in her classes.

She agreed to stop the illegal practice, and has been invited back.

I understand fans on Facebook have come unglued.  I haven’t found that link.

Herblock cartoon of June 18, 1963 - school prayer

Probably still under copyright - Herblock in the Washington Post, June 18, 1963 (school prayer)

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35 Responses to Stupid teacher tricks: No, teachers can’t lead prayers

  1. Charles Larsen says:

    Sorry for the very late follow up but after Americans United contacted the school district, Mrs. Hawley resigned.

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  2. Charles Larsen says:

    By the way, I reported the Hawley story to Americans United for SOCAS and they emailed me back and said they have already contacted the school district.

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  3. Charles Larsen says:

    All of the characters in that URL I posted were not included in the link so you may have to copy and paste it into your browser.

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  4. Charles Larsen says:

    Must have been another FaceBook glitch. Here is a link to that page:

    http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=119916828045670&ref=search#!/group.php?gid=119916828045670

    Like

  5. Charles Larsen says:

    hmmmmmm….for some reason my Facebook account has been disabled and they won’t tell me why. If you have a facebook account, just search for the name Hawley. That’s how I found it.

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  6. Ed Darrell says:

    Charles, got a link to that Facebook page?

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  7. Charles Larsen says:

    FYI, the Facebook page was one created by users who happened to be from MS and supported the behavior of the teacher. Those users have complete control over the posts on the page and when faced with a number of visitors who posted factual information on the (il)legalities of promoting prayer in public schools in a very civil manner, at least one of the posters was barred from further posting and all of his posts were deleted. I posted a few messages on that board but after getting some hateful and vulgar messages (private, of course) from these people, I decided not to bother with such hypocrites. Some people wallow in ignorance. Those folks were swimming laps.

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  8. Non Christian says:

    My son actually took a 6th grade Social Studies Test at his public school that asked, “Why do we celebrate Easter”. What about the non-Christians in the class…should they just not answer that question? Some teachers are really stupid.

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  9. Nick K says:

    Glenda, here is what the Wisconsin Supreme Court said back in 1890:

    “There is no such source and cause of strife, quarrel, fights. malignant opposition, persecution, and war, and all evil in the state, as religion. Let it once enter our civil affairs, our government would soon be destroyed. Let it once enter our common schools, they would be destroyed.” Supreme Court of Wisconsin, Weiss v. District Board, 1890-MAR-18.

    This is what some of the founding fathers said about religion..Christianity in particular:
    Millions of innocent men, women and children, since the introduction of Christianity, have been burnt, tortured, fined and imprisoned; yet we have not advanced one inch towards uniformity.-Thomas Jefferson, Notes on Virginia, 1782.

    Who does not see that the same authority which can establish Christianity in exclusion of all other religions may establish, with the same ease, any particular sect of Christians in exclusion of all other sects? That the same authority which can force a citizen to contribute threepence only of his property for the support of any one establishment may force him to conform to any other establishment in all cases whatsoever?– James Madison, A Memorial and Remonstrance Against Religious Assessments, addressed to the Virginia General Assemby, June 20, 1785

    It was the Universal opinion of the Century preceding the last, that Civil Government could not stand without the prop of a Religious establishment, and that the Christian religion itself, would perish if not supported by a legal provision for its Clergy. The experience of Virginia conspicuously corroborates the disproof of both opinions. The Civil Government, tho’ bereft of everything like an associated hierarchy, possesses the requisite stability and performs its functions with complete success; whilst the number, the industry, and the morality of the Priesthood, and the devotion of the people have been manifestly increased by the total separation of the Church from the State. — James Madison

    Then there is the treaty of tripoli which says this:
    As the government of the United States of America is not in any sense founded on the Christian Religion, –Treaty of Tripoli, 1797.

    That treaty, was negotiated during George Washington’s Presidency, signed by President John Adams and ratified without one vote of dissent by the Senate of 1797.

    Now tell me, Glenda, who are you to say you know more then what the Founding Fathers themselves said?

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  10. Ed Darrell says:

    If you would read the whole news article in the paper, Mrs. Hawley asks the students of each class if it would be alright with them if she prayed before class starts. The students in each class actually want her to pray for them and their prayer request. She tells them that if they don’t want her to pray all they have to do is tell her or email her, she would not disclose any identity and there wouldn’t be any problems. These kids want this lady to pray for them and with them.

    You know, there’s a reason that we don’t let 8-year-old kids claim to be of the age of consent. Teachers are supposed to be the adults in the room.

    No one may consent to give up their rights to pray, under the Constitution. It doesn’t matter if she asks — she is forbidden by law from making such a request, and if consent is given from a child, the law says it doesn’t count. You should read the Constitution sometime, and the Declaration of Independence, and ponder really hard what an unalienable right is.

    Under the Constitution, Ms. Hawley can’t lead prayers even if the parents consented (funny she didn’t bother to ask, and keep the consent forms on file — that would have made a paper trail to fire her).

    Here’s what the state of the law is; Ms. Hawley’s school district’s lawyers got a copy of this explanation a couple of times over the last 15 years, from the U.S. Attorney General and Secretary of Education (highlights are mine):

    Student prayer and religious discussion: The Establishment Clause of the First Amendment does not prohibit purely private religious speech by students. Students therefore have the same right to engage in individual or group prayer and religious discussion during the school day as they do to engage in other comparable activity. For example, students may read their Bibles or other scriptures, say grace before meals, and pray before tests to the same extent they may engage in comparable nondisruptive activities. Local school authorities possess substantial discretion to impose rules of order and other pedagogical restrictions on student activities, but they may not structure or administer such rules to discriminate against religious activity or speech.

    Generally, students may pray in a nondisruptive manner when not engaged in school activities or instruction, and subject to the rules that normally pertain in the applicable setting. Specifically, students in informal settings, such as cafeterias and hallways, may pray and discuss their religious views with each other, subject to the same rules of order as apply to other student activities and speech. Students may also speak to, and attempt to persuade, their peers about religious topics just as they do with regard to political topics. School officials, however, should intercede to stop student speech that constitutes harassment aimed at a student or a group of students.

    Students may also participate in before or after school events with religious content, such as “see you at the flag pole” gatherings, on the same terms as they may participate in other noncurriculum activities on school premises. School officials may neither discourage nor encourage participation in such an event.

    The right to engage in voluntary prayer or religious discussion free from discrimination does not include the right to have a captive audience listen, or to compel other students to participate. Teachers and school administrators should ensure that no student is in any way coerced to participate in religious activity.

    Which part of that is unclear to you, or to Ms. Hawley? Clearly she knows better, and it appears from what you say she’s carefully working to cover up her activities, officially, so she can’t be reprimanded.

    Teachers may not lead prayer. That is inherently coercive. That is illegal. It is contrary to the spirit and actions of “the holy author of our religion” according to the Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom (upon which our First Amendment is foundationed).

    Why don’t you get off your high horse and stop being so high and mighty. Nobody is making anyone pray. They want the prayer. Which I’m thinking, I will pray for you.

    Why don’t you get off your high horse, get educated about the Constitution, and take the Godly course — let those kids exercise their own religion?

    Here’s what the Supreme Court said about “consent” in Abington vs. Schemmp:

    Finally, we cannot accept that the concept of neutrality, which does not permit a State to require a religious exercise even with the consent of the majority of those affected, collides with the majority’s right to free exercise of religion. While the Free Exercise Clause clearly prohibits the use of state action to deny the rights of free exercise to anyone, it has never meant that a majority could use the machinery of the State to practice its beliefs. Such a contention was effectively answered by Mr. Justice Jackson for the Court in West Virginia Board of Education v. Barnette, 319 U. S. 624, 638 (1943):

    “The very purpose of a Bill of Rights was to withdraw certain subjects from the vicissitudes of political controversy, to place them beyond the reach of majorities and officials and to establish them as legal principles to be applied by the courts. One’s right to . . . freedom of worship . . . and other fundamental rights may not be submitted to vote; they depend on the outcome of no elections.”

    The place of religion in our society is an exalted one, achieved through a long tradition of reliance on the home, the church and the inviolable citadel of the individual heart and mind. We have come to recognize through bitter experience that it is not within the power of government to invade that citadel, whether its purpose or effect be to aid or oppose, to advance or retard. In the relationship between man and religion, the State is firmly committed to a position of neutrality. Though the application of that rule requires interpretation of a delicate sort, the rule itself is clearly and concisely stated in the words of the First Amendment.

    Glenda said:

    And when you let God lead you, He will not lead you astray.

    God has led me to tell you to obey the law, Glenda, and to get that message to Alice Hawley, too. He has not led me astray.

    Read the law, and follow it, please.

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  11. Nick K says:

    Tell me, Glenda, you’d be fine with a satanist offering a prayer with students as an audience right?

    Because six to one says the second that a non-Christian offered prayed with students in their classroom is the second you would flip out.

    The students are a captive audience. Any teacher praying to the students or making the students pray or listen to someone pray is a violation of those student’s civil rights..whether they agree to it or not. They are not adults, their consent means nothing.

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  12. Nick K says:

    Glenda, get this through your head. It doesn’t matter if she asked the kids permission, they are a captive audience, they have to be there whether they like it or not. She doesn’t have the right to pray with them, in front of them or to them. And asking their permission doesn’t change that fact.

    She has no right to use her authority as a public school teacher..i.e government employee to do such a thing.

    Don’t pray for me..you’re the one who needs it. You’re the one, in your arrogance, condoning the disobeying of Jesus Christ and the US Constitution.

    Jesus said in Matthew 6: 5″And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by men. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full. 6But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.

    What part of that do you have trouble understanding?

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  13. Glenda says:

    If you would read the whole news article in the paper, Mrs. Hawley asks the students of each class if it would be alright with them if she prayed before class starts. The students in each class actually want her to pray for them and their prayer request. She tells them that if they don’t want her to pray all they have to do is tell her or email her, she would not disclose any identity and there wouldn’t be any problems. These kids want this lady to pray for them and with them.
    Why don’t you get off your high horse and stop being so high and mighty. Nobody is making anyone pray. They want the prayer. Which I’m thinking, I will pray for you.

    And when you let God lead you, He will not lead you astray.

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  14. Ed Darrell says:

    To those of you who dissented with my comments, that is fine and your right. I disagree with some of the comments, and especially those of you who quote the bible and warp what Jesus meant.

    On this blog, everyone is free to warp the Bible, not just you.

    Jesus said that the attitude the pharissee used was wrong, not praying in public.

    But the reference was to the hypocrite’s prayer, not the Pharisee – a minor difference, if one isn’t paying much attention to the Bible.

    You also forget the advice John the Baptist gave to Publicans (government employees) who came to him to be baptized. He told them to do their duties and not abuse their powers (see Luke 3.12-13).

    Ms. Hawley is abusing her powers as a government agent.

    If you had looked, instead of believing what some pamphlet against christianity said, you would know that the pharisee was in the synagogue along side the publican. The publican also prayed out loud.

    Both labeled hypocrites in modern translations. The point was that Christians shouldn’t show off, as in leading a class of young students in prayer. That’s contrary to the spirit.

    Don’t bring half truths to me about the bible.

    Half-truths from the Bible is your exclusive domain? Excuse me, I didn’t see your copyright mark on mistranslating and misinterpreting scripture.

    It is amazing to me that you so called protectors of freedom forget that this country and the democracy that we all love will not work without judeo christian beliefs. If it would work with any religion,then what is being set up in Iraq would be a smashing success.

    Don’t try to smear Washington, Adams, Jefferson, Madison and Franklin so. They said we need a moral population, but not a “Judeo-Christian” population, to make our republic work. Specifically, they wrote the laws that make Alice Hawley’s actions illegal. Jefferson called using the Bible in schools “immoral,” in a roundabout way. If you’re going to try to misquote the founders, please remember that I’ve been at the history thing for quite a while, and I’ve been at the religious freedom/First Amendment thing more than four times as long.

    Your views about the founding of our nation are contrary to the facts.

    As to Iraq, it would probably be useful for a tradition of non-autocratic rule to make democratic institutions work better. Specifically to your point, Jefferson, Madison, Franklin, Locke, Paine, Adams and others who set up our democratic institutions, did so in defiance of the churches, not in support of them. You’re looking through the telescope backwards.

    So far it has not been. As far as what Ms. Hawley is doing, you are misinformed. She was praying in the class room, and no one complained and no one filed a complaint.

    That’s the same excuse some of the sex abusers use: “The kid consented.” It’s an invalid excuse here, as well.

    None of the offended people who commented cared about her teaching record and what her tax scores were.

    So, you’re willing to excuse violations of the law by teachers, so long as the kids score well on their state tests? Shame on you.

    As far as religious tolerance, I have none. If that is wrong, then those of you who say you are a christian don’t believe Jesus was telling the truth when He said “I am the way the truth and the light, no one comes to the father except by me.”

    You should study the Bible and the story of Jesus sometime. He supped with Publicans, worked on the sabbath, took water from and blessed Samritan women, and even used a technicality to get an adultress off the hook. He didn’t say “Anyone who works for the state and follows the law is a sinner.”

    Separation of church and state is Biblical, too. See the story of Samuel and Saul. Saul got a sentence of death from God for leading the prayers — he was not supposed to do that, as the head of state.

    I’ll bet Ms. Hawley doesn’t tell that story in her classes.

    I do believe that situations need to be handled in the system before you try to overturn the system and I believe that Ms. Hawleys prayers will be handled in time by the school district.

    If the district is wise, they will put a letter of warning in her file yesterday. If Ms. Hawley is wise, she will figure out she should worry about teaching kids, and leave soul saving to the preachers and churches on their relative sabbaths.

    As far as moving to where there is a national religion, look at what is happening to those countries.

    See? Study history, and the truth can be revealed. In those nations where the church and state are married, faith suffers. In most nations where Christianity is the state faith, the pews are empty on Sundays.

    Tocqueville wrote at some length at the reason Americans are more faithful than Europeans: Separation of church and state. It was true in 1831, and it’s still true today.

    So, I suspect Ms. Hawley is secretly working to tear this nation down.

    But I’m confused about you. On the one hand you recognize that nations with state religions have few faithful, but on the other hand you support Ms. Hawley’s imposition of a state church on her kids.

    Are you a spy for the heathens?

    I also have relatives who fought and died for the rights we have, but for some reason, our country acts like everyone has rights of religion except christians.

    Wait a minute. No one has argued that only Christians cannot lead children in prayer. That law applies equally to any person of any faith.

    You’re the one who is arguing for special privileges for fundamentalist, ill-educated Christians, instead of rights for everyone.

    No one of any faith, employed as a teacher in public schools, may lead children in prayers of their faith. No one.

    The constitution says freedom of religion, not freedom from religion.

    To the contrary, the Constitution says government agents may not establish a church. Ms. Hawley, a government agent, may not lead prayers in her classroom.

    Freedom of religion implies freedom from religion, too — or at least, religious rights for all. As Tom Jefferson said, rights for Moslems, Hindus, and “infidels of all faiths.” No “Christian only” clause there. Christians aren’t mentioned at all.

    You have a right not to be forced to pray in the manner of the Rastafarians, or the Pastafarians. Everyone has the right, including everyone against Christians and faux Christians.

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  15. Glenda says:

    To those of you who dissented with my comments, that is fine and your right. I disagree with some of the comments, and especially those of you who quote the bible and warp what Jesus meant. Jesus said that the attitude the pharissee used was wrong, not praying in public. If you had looked, instead of believing what some pamphlet against christianity said, you would know that the pharisee was in the synagogue along side the publican. The publican also prayed out loud. Don’t bring half truths to me about the bible. It is amazing to me that you so called protectors of freedom forget that this country and the democracy that we all love will not work without judeo christian beliefs. If it would work with any religion,then what is being set up in Iraq would be a smashing success. So far it has not been. As far as what Ms. Hawley is doing, you are misinformed. She was praying in the class room, and no one complained and no one filed a complaint. None of the offended people who commented cared about her teaching record and what her tax scores were. As far as religious tolerance, I have none. If that is wrong, then those of you who say you are a christian don’t believe Jesus was telling the truth when He said “I am the way the truth and the light, no one comes to the father except by me.” I do believe that situations need to be handled in the system before you try to overturn the system and I believe that Ms. Hawleys prayers will be handled in time by the school district. As far as moving to where there is a national religion, look at what is happening to those countries. I also have relatives who fought and died for the rights we have, but for some reason, our country acts like everyone has rights of religion except christians. The constitution says freedom of religion, not freedom from religion.

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  16. sbh says:

    Glenda writes: “So tell me why would you want to get rid of her? Just because she prays?”

    No, Glenda, and you know better. Pretending to be stupid is seldom an effective rhetorical trick, certainly not in this case. (It might pass if you were addressing a room of your ideological comrades.) Alice Hawley should either do her job, or she should quit. What she should not do is abuse her position as a representative of the government to promote her church to a captive audience.

    As for praying, what she does on her own time is her own business.

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  17. Nick K says:

    Glenda says:

    Just because she prays? We christians answer to a higher authority than the government, We answer to God.

    She can pray on her own quietly. She doesn’t need to make the other kids pray or listen to her pray. And yes..she answers to the government.

    What do you think Jesus meant when He said “render unto Caesar what is Caesar’s..”?

    What do you think Jesus meant when He called those who pray openly hypocrites?

    I say this as a Christian, Glenda, if you made my kids pray in their public school classroom the least I would do to you was have you fired. We do not have the right to force our religious beliefs down other people’s throats.

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  18. Ed Darrell says:

    Mrs. Hawley has the highest scores in the district. So tell me why would you want to get rid of her?

    I don’t want to get rid of her. I want her to stop setting a bad example for the kids. Teachers who tell racist jokes, teachers who mock the principal and superintendent, teachers who buy drugs for kids, teachers who sexually abuse children, and teachers who religiously abuse children, shouldn’t be in the classroom, if they can’t control their lusts to teach the children within the bounds of propriety.

    Just because she prays? We christians answer to a higher authority than the government, We answer to God.

    You don’t object when a teacher gives a child a mantra and teaches meditation either, right? You wouldn’t object if a teacher got out prayer rugs for the three prayer times a day that occur during the school hours, and had the children face Mecca to pray either.

    Your religious tolerance is commendable. If so.

    God has called Christians to obey the laws of their land. If Ms. Hawley is Christian, she needs to repent, now.

    Is she Christian? I don’t see it. Christians don’t teach children to flout authority. Christians don’t model for children methods of intolerance.

    and He said if we didn’t praise Him, then the rocks would. and I am certainly not going to let the rocks do it for me, as will not Mrs. Hawley.

    Fine. Move to England where it’s legal. Move to France, or Germany, where there is an established church.

    Just stop peeing on the flag and Constitution, will you? God didn’t command Ms. Hawley to urinate on the law.

    Nobody said Ms. Hawley can’t praise God in her home, in her church, in her car, silently at her desk, any time, or in any other place. She doesn’t have the right to force the other kids in her class to say her Catholic catechism. What about the Baptist kids in the class? She doesn’t have the right to make the kids bear their testimony as the Mormons do. What about the Catholic kid? She doesn’t have the right to make kids pray to her God, in her fashion, regardless her faith, or theirs.

    Those kids have religious rights, too. What do you have against children’s prayers? Why do you think these kids can’t do it right and so must be forced to do it Hawley’s way?

    i am proud that we have a teacher that will stand up for our children and pray, no matter what.

    I’d be happier with a teacher who would build up America instead of tearing it down. I’d be happier with a teacher who knows the Constitution and can teach that — as Ms. Hawley is clearly incapable.

    She needs to find another profession, likely.

    Sorry to hear all the churches in your town failed and closed. Here in Texas, where Christians are even more arrogant than you are, we teach religion in churches. C’mon over here on a Sunday and I can show you how to do it legally, respecting the flag, respecting the Constitution, and respecting God.

    I dare you.

    We actully need more teachers that are more afraid of God than the government.

    You mean, like American Indians who would use peyote on the job (it’s legal for them to do that religiously, you know)?

    You’re arrogant and ignorant of America’s history and law, a dangerous combination.

    You ask how I know this about thisw teacher, I have three daughters who have passed through her class, and I will be PRAYING that Mrs. Hawley will still be teaching at FC when my fourth daughter gets to the high school.

    Again, let me say how sad I am that your churches all failed. Still, it’s rather cheap of you to try to steal time from taxpayers, when the rest of us in this nation need your teachers to be teaching kids how to read, so they can read the Bible and the Constitution and find the flaws in your arguments.

    Oh, but that’s the reason, isn’t it? If those kids could read the Bible and see your errors, you’d be in trouble, wouldn’t you!

    Now it becomes more clear.

    It takes guts to go with what is right when everyone else is going for what is is legal. I will stand with her.

    You do disservice and disrespect to the brave men and women who died to protect your freedom of worship, on this day, to dismiss those same freedoms. Shame on you.

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  19. Glenda says:

    Mrs. Hawley has the highest scores in the district. So tell me why would you want to get rid of her? Just because she prays? We christians answer to a higher authority than the government, We answer to God. and He said if we didn’t praise Him, then the rocks would. and I am certainly not going to let the rocks do it for me, as will not Mrs. Hawley. i am proud that we have a teacher that will stand up for our children and pray, no matter what. We actully need more teachers that are more afraid of God than the government. You ask how I know this about thisw teacher, I have three daughters who have passed through her class, and I will be PRAYING that Mrs. Hawley will still be teaching at FC when my fourth daughter gets to the high school. It takes guts to go with what is right when everyone else is going for what is is legal. I will stand with her.

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  20. Jim Stanley says:

    Ellie,

    Right you are. Sorta like letting the fox guard the henhouse if you ask me. ;-)

    Like

  21. Nick K says:

    my mom never had to deal with organized school prayer either. And she went to what was then the largest school district in Minnesota.

    Like

  22. [...] The teacher whose job was on the block for leading prayers in violation of federal law protecting students from school-imposed religion, was hired back on a technicality:  There was no formal, written warning to her that leading prayers is against the law (though it’s in every teacher training program). [...]

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  23. Ellie says:

    When I was in school, back in the Dark Ages, only one teacher ever led student prayer, in spite of the claims of some that this was an every day occurence in every public school in the land. The prayer was The Lord’s Prayer — the RC version, because it was an RC neighborhood. The teacher used to say (pointing her finger at “them”), “Now, all you Protestants, you just put your ending on. You don’t have to stop at the end with the rest of us.” None of “them” ever did, of course.

    I had three children who attended public schools. They received some good education, and a lot of misinformation on a myriad of subjects. Why on earth would I have wanted someone in a public school to teach them about prayer? I don’t understand any Christian who wishes to bow before the State, rather than God, and allow the State to take over the religious education of Christian children (or any other religion, faith, or lack thereof). It is appalling to me as a Christian.

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  24. Nick K says:

    Truebelieving wrote:
    obvious non Bible believing and not one to know the God in the Bible.
    (for bantering all of GOD’s quotes were simple)

    I’m a lifelong Christian, child, Catholic to be specific. I understand the Bible far more then you do. You would have God and Jesus and the entirety of Christianity become nothing but tyrants.

    You can’t even obey Jesus, you don’t even try.

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  25. Jim Stanley says:

    j a higginbotham,

    Thank you! What a WONDERFUL letter. Color me shocked that World Net Daily actually published it! That is encouraging.

    I think the author of that letter discovered, first hand, what “do unto others” is all about!

    You made my day, J A. Thank you!

    Jim

    Like

  26. trueinspired1611 says:

    obvious non Bible believing and not one to know the God in the Bible.
    (for bantering all of GOD’s quotes were simple)

    Like

  27. sbh says:

    Alice Hawley apparently has not agreed to give up illegally conducting prayer sessions in public school, according to the follow-up article. She’s quoted as saying, “As long as my students would like somebody to pray with them, I pray I will always be there to pray with them. I cannot refuse a child prayer”. How she squares this with her position as a representative of the government she doesn’t explain. She was supposedly reinstated because the authorities had not first instructed her to stop the practice, or at any rate could not document their having done so. As she has now been put on notice (or so it looks to me) I assume that excuse won’t fly in the future.

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  28. j a higginbotham says:

    Jim, see this letter about prayers before a sports contest – it supports your point:

    http://www.wnd.com/news/article.asp?ARTICLE_ID=46828

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  29. Bryan says:

    @Devona,
    (Changing gears here) A good portion (IMO) of that segment of the country that pushes for “majority rule” also happens to be the segment that is pushing to replace “Democracy” with “Constitutional Republic”. That is why I am comfortable with letting them have it. Then I hope they will see that majority rule isn’t all encompassing and the rights of the minority are protected by our Constitutional Republic. They can’t have it both ways: throw out “Democracy” in concept for “Constitutional Republic” but fall back on so-called majority rule when it suits their purpose.

    PS. I’m not convinced that we’re a majority *Christian *nation anyway. But that’s another discussion….

    Like

  30. Nick K says:

    Este writes:
    Christian as the majority have the right to have prayers. Those who are minorities have the right NOT to FOLLOW the prayers. Seriously, it is not difficult.

    But not the right to force those prayers on others using the government. And I say this as a lifelong Christian. One of the last times that a Christian majority used the government to force its views on other people in this country, two Catholic churches and a nunnery were burned to the ground. And all because the Catholics stood up for their rights against the then Protestant majority in Philly.

    Jesus said in Matthew 6:5:
    And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by men. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full.

    Tell me, Este, why do you as a Christian not obey Jesus? What do you get by supporting the government making school children pray?

    If any teacher made my kid pray, even if that teacher was Christian, i would do my absolute best, Este, to make sure that teacher never taught in any public school ever again. And if the school district did not get rid of that teacher I would do my absolute best to bankrupt that school district with a very large civil rights violation lawsuit. They do not have that right . . . you do not have that right.

    Your right to pray does not include making other people’s children participate or listen to it. If you can’t obey that fact, Este, if you can’t recognize the wisdom in that then it is a good thing you don’t live in the United States.

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  31. Jim Stanley says:

    Estetica, your point about “how things work” is actually quite true. But Jesus was never interested in “how things work”. He was interested in doing unto others what you would have done unto you. So when majority Muslims oppress Christians, deny Christians their right to free expression or simply push Christians to the margins as irrelevent…I believe He would say there needs to be an adjustment. Here in the US, majority Christians (not all of us, but a good many) seem to have no qualms behaving as majority Muslims do in places like Iran or Saudi Arabia. “If Wiccans, Atheists and Buddhists want to be recognized and respected, tough titty. WE are the majority.” You’re absolutely right. That IS how it works. It’s just not how it’s supposed to work, according to the teachings of Jesus.

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  32. Devona Wyant says:

    There is a segment in this country that believes “majority rule” is all encompassing, leaving aside the exception to the rule that the majority may not ‘rule’ to the suppression, oppression, or regression of the minority. The majority may not make the minority less equal as Americans.
    I’ve also noticed this same segment has difficulty grasping the concept of ‘neutral territory’ as well. They define an ‘absence of’ as being ‘anti.’

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  33. Scott Hanley says:

    estetica, that’s how it works in countries that don’t have an establishment clause in their constitution. The US does have an establishment clause in the First Amendment to our Constitution, so that is not how it works here.

    As a matter of well-established law, a government employee may not promote any religious beliefs over others, even if they’re promoting a popular, majority view. Seriously, it is not difficult – unless you insist on doing exactly what the First Amendment forbids.

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  34. estetica says:

    Christian as the majority have the right to have prayers. Those who are minorities have the right NOT to FOLLOW the prayers. Seriously, it is not difficult.

    And believe me, I live in a country where Muslim is the majority. That’s how it works.

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  35. Jim Stanley says:

    That our Atheist friends and our fellow citizens who are members of minority religions object is no surprise. What actually surprises me is that more Christians are not bothered by government-sponsored prayer. First, Christians are to obey and advance the teachings of Jesus. He said, “Do to others as you would have done to you.” Therefore, you would think followers of Jesus would try to understand how it might feel for someone who is non-religious; or for someone who is a member of a minority religion. I wonder if Christians have thought about what life would be like if WE were the minority religion? Suppose the majority was Wiccan or Muslim? Would we not then be ardent advocates for keeping prayer in our churches and homes, and — insisting that any prayer in school be entirely student-driven? I think if the tables were turned today, we Christians would be quite supportive of the prevailing interpretation of the “establishment” clause. And second, are we unable to see that keeping government-driven prayer out of our schools is actually in the best interest of our faith? Leaving government to tend to its affairs, we are then freed to be the Christians we are called to be in our homes, churches and society. The first Baptists in America realized this and vociferously opposed any mingling of church and state. It’s such a shame that so many Christians are unable to do the mental work this issue calls for. Instead, far too many of us have opted for whining and playing the victim. The Christians rallying around this foolish teacher in Mississippi should be the first ones to, politely but firmly, insist that she not confuse her role.

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