Against Prayer in School - Why prayer should not be part of the school system.

Essay by nmsystms@aol.comHigh School, 12th gradeA+, December 2005

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"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof." This is a key statement in the First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States. Also known as the Establishment Clause, this amendment separates the church and the state. "At an absolute minimum, the Establishment Clause was intended to prohibit the federal government from declaring and financially supporting a national religion, such as existed in many other countries at the time of the nation's founding" ("Introduction to the Establishment Clause"). There are some who believe that Thomas Jefferson and James Madison were suggesting the need to establish "a wall of separation" between church and state through the wording of this legislation. Although the "Religious Right" and many other conservative groups of people believe that prayer should be a mandatory requirement of the educational process, there are many opposing views that believe prayer should not be allowed in public school.

There are numerous reasons for why these people feel the way they do. One reason is that prayer in school is unconstitutional. As stated above, the first amendment created a separation between church and state which prohibits prayer from being part of a public school program. Another reason why prayer should not be part of the school day is because it makes some children feel uncomfortable because they may not believe in any religion and not wish to participate in any form of prayer. On the other hand, with so many different religions, it would be uncomfortable and unfair to require the student body to adopt a singular approach to prayer which would conflict with the many ways people pray. A third reason is because public schools are created to educate, not to promote religion. If a student wishes to learn...