September 25, 2007

Blame America first

Just not from the people you expect. Well, unless you remember the late Falwell blaming America for 9-11. Here, in a clip I won't post, Values Voters sing about God and America.
Why should God bless America?
She’s forgotten he exists
And has turned her back
On everything that made her what she is

Why should God stand beside her
Through the night with the light from his hand?
God have mercy on America
Forgive her sin and heal our land

The courts ruled prayer out of our schools
In June of ‘62
Told the children “you are your own God now
So you can make the rules”
O say can you see what that choice
Has cost us to this day
America, one nation under God, has gone astray
I am still amazed that this mantra has so permeated our Christian conservative movement. Yeah, right. America denies the existence of God. Except that it requires everyone to talk about God and prayer simply to be elected.

And that last verse is ridiculous. Yes, the SC ruled that school-led prayer was unconstitutional, but for people who believe in a personal God to believe somehow that removes prayer from School is theologically suspect. What it did, was to remove the option for Christian Conservatives to force others to pray.

But that didn't rhyme.


Nina said...

Hi, my first time commenting, even though I've been a reader/lurker for a while. Great blog, Streak! :)

Regarding removing the option of prayer in the schools: And yet, it is being squeaked into the schools, in the form of a "moment of silence". Even the pre-K teachers feel compelled to have the kids stand there, although they know it's inappropriate to expect kids that age to sit still that long. I believe the announcer at our kids' school even mentions suggestions as to ways of using the "moment" including prayer, meditation, etc.

I don't know why, but it bothers me. It represents to me a way to get that prayer into the schools. And that part bothers me as much as when I hear parents expecting the teachers to teach their kids discipline and manners. School is for general education. If you want your kids to pray, spend a little time with them then, and pray with them before you send them to school, ferpetessake.

Ha--and one more point before I step down: do people really want to leave the decision to the schools as to what type of prayer their kids follow, anyway? Why be so disappointed that prayer is not taught by the schools, when it may not be the "right" type of prayer?

I'm not sure I said this very well, but it is a hot spot with me. We changed schools this year, and it was the first time I had heard the "moment" being mandated. It seems pretty robotical along with the rest of the routine they run through in the morning.

::stepping off the soapbox::

ubub said...

Historically, these were exactly the points of contention. Despite some shared interest in reading the Bible in schools, the agreement quickly broke down once they started to define "Bible." Protestants predominantly supported the KJV whereas Catholics wanted to require the Douay-Rheims Bible. This was one of the primary reasons that Catholic schools emerged as a rival to the American public school systems.

Right now, in my local school district, there is an uproar over the inclusion of church flyers for Sunday school in mailings sent home with students. My view is that schools shouldn't favor secular speech over religious speech as long as that religous speech does not represent only a singular viewpoint. If the UFO cult with their black Nikes can't do the same thing, then the policy cannot stand. If they can, then cool.

steve s said...

It also resulted in the Protestant controlled leglislatures passing laws mandating public school. Eventually, the Sup. Ct. ruled that parents could decide on what kind of school to send their kids to.

Where is the "moment of silence" happening. IIRC, this practice is not ok according to current caselaw. I don't know of any schools that do it around here. I have mixed feelings about this whole issue. On one hand, I don't think the current status quo is supported by the language of the 1st Amendment, nor the intent. On the other hand, I agree that the kids that want to can still find time to pray without a mandated moment of silence.

As for manners and discipline, I don't think that schools should have to teach this, but it is obvious that many kids aren't getting this at home. My wife is a 2nd grade public school teacher and I have volunteered in my daughter's classroom (kindergarten). I certainly don't expect 'sir' and 'maam', but some kid's behavior is so bad that it is disruptive.

ubub, your view is current law (and good law, IMO). The school cannot favor one religion over another and would have to include flyers from the UFO cult. I thought the UFO cult was picked up by the UFO. Are they still around?

Streak said...

Interesting legal and historical background there. The "public" nature of public schools appears lost on many.

Nina, thanks for commenting. I saw your comment over at Small Glimpses about being a longtime reader over here and am glad you decided to jump in. You are welcome either way.

I agree with your point. It seems clear to me that the justification for organized prayer in schools is not theological, or even for the kids who pray at home. But it seems clear that it is an attempt to force others to pray.

ubub said...

Not just to force them to pray, but to pray the "right way." That's where the Establishment Clause pops up.