Thursday, January 19, 2017

Taking the soul out of prayer

So Betsy Devos is probably going to be our Secretary of Education.  This has given us a lot to talk about . . .

Like a friend of mine who likes her and posted, "this woman will support prayer in schools."  This received a lot of likes, but I had to scratch my head: "Hold a sec, there already is prayer in school."

But then it hit me - oh goodness, we are talking about something completely different.  She's talking about school-led prayer.

A wave of conflicted dread flooded me.

Conflicted, because as a Christian I love it when people pray.  Or I should say, I love it when people want to pray.  When I read this comment from my friend, it hit me that battle-ready Christian culturalists in an attempt to do something good could make things really bad.  We could be cutting off our nose to spite our face.

Currently, any child in school can pray, lead others in prayer, read their Bible or talk about Jesus, God or whatever other spiritual topic they want to.  It is State-sponsored and teacher-led prayer that is not allowed.  The Supreme Court ruled that student-led prayer is legal.  Those teachers that infringe on student's rights because of ignorance or agenda lose in court routinely.  In fact, according to the Washington Post, we currently have the most religious speech and conduct than at any point in the last 100 years.

The push for public school prayer has gained steam recently.  So here I am in the awkward position of dreading the idea of imposing prayer in school.  Ideally, it would be great if everyone prayed, but that is not what would happen.

Prayer in school would be a joke.  You would have to have Christian, Buddhist, Hindu, Hebrew and Muslim prayer.  Don't forget we'd have to read the Humanist Manifesto.  Then there's the Agnostic moment of uncertainty and the Atheist's right to have a minute to not saying anything.  Everyone gets their time at publicly sanctioned prayer (or non-prayer).  It would become an exhibition of multiculuralism - which itself is nice, but it's not really prayer.

Principled legislation has a way of taking the heart out of something.  What we achieve in principle, we lose in soul.

Prayer comes from the heart.  With 50 million kids in school each day, you can bet that there are millions of prayers that go up to God right before a test, wrestling match and sitting in the Principal's Office.  Friends can pray together to start the day or to recover from the loss of a friend.  Prayer happens in school every day.  The real challenge is to get prayer in the home - and that is entirely up to us.

No comments:

Post a Comment