Does prayer play an important role in our lives today? The minority would say no
and that prayer shouldn't ever have played an important role in our society. But, the
simple fact of the matter is that for hundreds of years, prayer in school has been
encouraged by both society and government. In recent years, it has been established that
prayer in schools has led to a steady moral decline. Morals must be taught, in school and
at home, and they cannot be properly taught without religion as a much needed stepping
Our government was based upon religious beliefs from the very beginning. The
Declaration of Independence says: "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men
are created equal, that they are endowed by God with certain unalienable rights. . ."
Certainly, it talks about God, creations, God-given moral rights, the providence of God,
and the final Day of Judgment-all of which are religious teachings.
And school prayer
has been an important part of our religious experience from the very beginning.
Our very First Amendment didn't separate God and government but actually
encouraged religion. It reads: "Congress shall make no law respecting the establishment
of religion, nor prohibit the free exercise thereof," (Encarta 96). The first part simply
says that the federal government cannot establish one religion for all of the people. The
simple idea of everyone in our nation being limited to one form of religion is
inconceivable. The second section insists that the government should do nothing to
discourage religion. But forbidding prayer in schools discourages religion, doesn't it?
Early congressional actions encouraged religion in public schools. For example,
the Northwest Treaty (1787 and 1789) declared: "Religion, morality, and knowledge
being necessary for good government and the happiness of mankind, schools, and the...