It all comes back to prayer

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, December 26, 2001

A little over a generation ago, when many of our public schools actually resembled places of learning instead of security facilities with metal detectors, guards and fencing, it was not uncommon for students to encounter a prayer or acknowledgement of God in their school activities. Time was when public teachers and administrators were not fearful of referencing God, and there was seldom a need for police patrols of school grounds and locker sweeps for weapons.

Is our society better now because of the Supreme Court-mandate restrictions on religious activities on public school grounds? Parents can send off their children to school secure in the knowledge that their impressionable little ones will not have to encounter expressions of reverence to God. Never mind the now too numerous to mention cases of on-campus school violence, generated by a lack of moral example, which scar our land.

To put it mildly, America's Founding Fathers would be shocked at the extreme interpretation of their intent in framing the Constitution over 200 years ago. They were, for the most part, men of God building a new nation whose humble beginnings were forged by religious pilgrims seeking freedom of worship. It likely never occurred to the authors of the Constitution that one day judges and politicians would use their noble words guaranteeing that the government would not sanction one religion as a rallying cry to shut out religion all together from "public" life, beginning with our schools.

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Indeed, freedom of religion, which was so important to the authors of American liberty that they protected it in the First Amendment of the Constitution, has since been twisted into a now politically-correct interpretation of freedom "from" religion. And what has this new-found "freedom" reaped us? School students gunning down classmates and school administrators before committing suicide. All the while, liberals clamor against prayer in schools while jealously guarding the right of record companies and Hollywood movie makers to churn out music, videos and games glorifying violence and sex. Our Founding Fathers would be mortified.

It is a very keen irony that while society has deemed it necessary to ban prayer from classrooms, it is still allowed in the shrines of our federal government. The US House and Senate have full-time chaplains on their payrolls who open their respective Houses each legislative day with a prayer. The US Supreme Court opens its business with the words "God save the United States and this honorable court." And need I mention that all the US currency is emblazoned with "In God We Trust."

Americans deserve the right to pray and to recognize beliefs, heritage and traditions on public grounds, including our schools. It is a shame that society cannot see the evidence all around us that to do otherwise is morally self-destructive.