August 30, 2008
The removal of school prayer and why religion should be taught as a General Education Course
Teaching religion and prayer in public schools has been a very controversial subject in America for many years now. The Supreme Court banned school prayer in 1963 because it is a violation of First Amendment rights. The First Amendment reads, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof [...]”(“Amendment I”). Some wanted school prayer banned because the prayers practiced in school were of one religion, but students are from all different religions. Others wanted it banned because they simply do not believe a God exists. Some people are utterly repulsed by religion of any kind, and want God taken out of everything. Since school prayer has been banned, many anti-religious and non-religious groups are now trying to remove all symbols of religion from everything in America. There is currently a court case trying to remove “under God” from the pledge, and some people want to remove “in God we trust” from our currency according to Rich Pedroncelli a journalist for USA TODAY.COM (Pedroncelli). These things have made America what it is today. Upon removing prayer from schools Ward and Haynes of the Communitarian Network point out that schools fear having any association with religion because it includes prayer, they write “[Schools…] have managed largely to ignore religion and see no reason to deal with it.”(Ward). Therefore, despite the fact that some would have all
reference to God and religion removed from our schools, we should teach children religion as part of our history within the public education system.
The subject of school prayer and promoting religious beliefs in class became controversial with the case of Schempp vs. Abington School District. The case involved parents who objected to the practice in Abington School District of starting each day with reading of verses...