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Christian Right Lies About Prayer in Schools

The Family Research Council’s weekly call for prayer includes a long quote from Bishop Douglas Small, head of Alive Ministries about prayer in schools and generally in public. It’s full of the same old lies and distortions we’ve heard time and again, starting with the very first sentence:

n 1962, fifty-one years ago, the Supreme Court ruled against prayer in school, and sent a cultural-legal signal of approval for a veritable assault on public prayer, and thereby the public invocation of God’s Presence in and over our nation.

No, they didn’t rule against “prayer in school.” They ruled against the mandatory recitation of prayer in schools, prayers that were composed by the government. For crying out loud, how could anyone who rants and raves about “big government” and religious freedom be in favor of forcing school children to recite government-composed prayers?

No one could have guessed we would arrive at a place where prayer, particularly prayer in the name of Jesus, would create such an outrage. Distinctly Christian prayer – not prayer to a vague deity, not pluralistic, politically-correct, multi-faith prayer – but fervent, Bible-based prayer by believing Christians, to the Living God to whom the Founders deferred is now unacceptable, and sought to be illegal. How have we allowed this to happen?

Another lie. Who wants to make public prayer illegal? Please name them and quote them doing so. As always, the wingnuts conflate attempts to prevent government bodies from forcing people to sit through someone else’s prayers with trying to criminalize the saying of prayers. Those are not even remotely the same thing.

None of this is about religious freedom, it’s about Christian privilege. Let a Muslim try to do the very same thing that Christians demand to be allowed to do and see how quickly all that talk of religious freedom is replaced by torches and pitchforks.

Comments

  1. D. C. Sessions says

    For crying out loud, how could anyone who rants and raves about “big government” and religious freedom be in favor of forcing school children to recite government-composed prayers?

    Do I get to be the one who composes those prayers for the Government?

    If not, am I thick enough to think that the ones composing them will pick ones that I like?

  2. says

    An article I read a few minutes ago on the First Amendment Center’s web site noted something I had missed: Protestants are no longer the majority in the U.S.. Also, the Supreme Court apparently is made up of three Jews and six Catholics, and in the last election there was not a single white Protestant on either of the major parties’ tickets.*
    Their privilege is eroding, and they don’t like it one bit. Be prepared for much wailing and gnashing of teeth. Along with the (let’s hope) random bit of ultra-violence.

    * But there was a Mormon, two Catholics and a “Muslim.”

  3. John Pieret says

    Well, it’s simple. You just can’t trust them schoolkids to pray (except when there is a snap math quiz) and you sure can’t trust them Muslims, atheists and Jews to pray in the name of Jesus, so you gotta force ‘em or there will be no puplic prayer! And now it’s illegal to force ‘em! It ain’t fair I tell ya!

  4. says

    The sheriff where I live was telling me that back when he was in charge of courts as a deputy the long-time chief judge for the circuit, who was old, old, old school, had him pick a minister to give a prayer before the opening of court. When he died the new judge, whose name was Altman, said that the practice could continue as long as said minister kept any Jesus references and praying in Jesus’ name out. Under those conditions, the sheriff said, none of the area preachers would agree, thus effectively ending that practice.

  5. Mr Ed says

    Look we have and all knowing, all loving and all present god but if we don’t constantly invoke him or he’ll take his ball and go home.

    It is true that the end result is limiting praying in Jesus’ name as the vast majority of people praying are doing it in his name.

  6. StevoR : Free West Papua, free Tibet, let the Chagossians return! says

    Christian Right Lies About Prayer in Schools

    So, what else is (er not!) new?

  7. Larry says

    Is there something about a school classroom that makes a prayer double-extra-super-magicalist, even more so than family prayers, held at home, in private, before sending the children off to school? Or, even better, a church, where, I’m led to believe, actual religion is practiced amongst those professing the same beliefs in a particular sky fairy and where prayers may be offered without the snickers from us realists in the back row.

    Maybe the school is like a guitar amplifier, boosting a weak signal up to 11 when that extra value is needed to belt out that prayer to the back row. I dunno…

  8. Big Boppa says

    Is there something about a school classroom that makes a prayer double-extra-super-magicalist, even more so than family prayers, held at home, in private, before sending the children off to school?

    Yes, there is something different: indoctrination.

    They already have their own kids under control, at least until they grow up. It’s our kids that they want to infect.

  9. D. C. Sessions says

    Is there something about a school classroom that makes a prayer double-extra-super-magicalist, even more so than family prayers, held at home, in private, before sending the children off to school?

    Yes: heretics and other enemies who can be pressured to conform, and if necessary identified for special attention.

  10. dingojack says

    Big Boppa – I’d’ regard links posted by “fifth (and then there’s this asshole) dentist” with some caution.

    The link posted at #16 here lead to (totally NSFW or senstive souls) here. Hence the nickname.
    :D Dingo

  11. cjcolucci says

    There will be prayer in school as long as there is algebra. And that’s fine. What is unacceptable is Government Prayer. I think we should start calling it “Goverrnment Prayer.” Maybe the phrase will catch on, revealing the ugliness of the whole thing.

  12. says

    Is there something about a school classroom that makes a prayer double-extra-super-magicalist, even more so than family prayers, held at home, in private, before sending the children off to school?

    Yes, because they have the next generation of citizens/voters as captive participants. You’ve got to indoctrinate them while they’re young if you want to control them as adults.

  13. scienceavenger says

    … the wingnuts conflate attempts to prevent government bodies from forcing people to sit through someone else’s prayers with trying to criminalize the saying of prayers…

    If my religious inlaws are any indication, they see it as a fundamental (heh) aspect of prayer that everyone present participate. Drawing the distinction we draw between private prayer and what they have in mind misses the point entirely to them. They react as we would to a person defending the banning of a particular book with “Your right to read hasn’t been denied, you can read all those other books.” It’s as if one dissenter, or nonparticipant (as I tend to be) spoils their whole symphany of prayer the same as one offkey instrument would. Its as if their view is so absurd it can only be maintained in an environment with no temptation to think anything else.

  14. says

    People, people, people:

    GOD hears your prayers more betterer IF you amplify them by making other people uncomfortable. Yeah, yeah, you can safely ignore that admonition about “praying in the closet”; what fuckin’ idjit came up with THAT idea?

  15. dingojack says

    Christian Right Lies About Prayer in Schools“.

    And how can one tell? Easy. Their lips move.

    Dingo

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