For many people, the fact that praying/religion is no longer allowed in public school is upsetting. Why shouldn't we start the day with a prayer or religious reading in our public schools?
As we talked about homeschooling, this thought often crossed my mind. Raised in a conservative church and a Christian home, it was always around me (although my parents didn't discuss the topic of prayer in school that I can remember), in the Christian schools that I attended, and the camps I went to. It wasn't fair that we were no longer allowed to pray during school hours, that the day didn't start with a mandatory prayer time.
Here's my two cents:
Religion doesn't belong in public schools.
I firmly believe that religion in general (except for historical facts and data) has absolutely no business in our school system. Why? Because not everyone believes the same thing as me, you, or the person next door. It's not right, fair, or constitutional to impose ANY kind of religion on children in a public setting with their parents not there to ask questions to or discuss with.
"But this is America!" you might say. "My child has a right to pray!"
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I'm not arguing that. If your child wants to say a prayer in their desk before school or lunch, they should be able to do so. Any kind of prayer in any kind of faith. But for a teacher to have children do it together? For a child who is raised in a home with an entirely different faith to be faced with being "wrong" each day at school? No. No, no, no. I have never understood this line of thinking.
Even the same religions differ so much internally; it would be impossible to teach one solid idea.
Public school should be a place that welcomes and includes all children, regardless of religion. Making a child feel awkward because they have to either not bow their head in what might be seen as defiance, or bowing their head to a religion they know nothing about, is not right. That is not what America is about; America was partly founded so people could have freedom of religion.
I want my child to understand that God and science go together in our family beliefs. To be able to ask me how things were made and receive a Biblical answer. I would never expect to put her in a school that is public and have those questions answered that way. I would never vote or pressure my school systems to allow or encourage teachers to do that. Their job is to educate my child. My job is to choose what works best for us, keeping that in mind. I respect the fact that there is a separation, and in our time as a family I teach and instill the values we hold dear. Because I do want her learning to include our faith, we decided to homeschool her.
That is my job. If I want that education, I have to decide how to make it work for me. Not wonder why schools aren't intervening on my behalf.
Public schools are designed to educate our children on facts. Not for a religious experience.
-By Diana Stone
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