15 April 2009

Should We Push for Prayer in Public Schools?

My brothers and sisters in Christ,

Here are some random thoughts I have about the perceived need many of us have for getting prayer/the study of the Bible back into public schools:
  • this effort is misdirected. For what purpose are we wanting prayer in schools? So that all those unbelievers will suddenly start sincerely praying to God and will come to Christ? So that revival will break out in schools across the country? Not likely; mandating prayer may only serve to make people resent us more and believe that we want to convert by any means necessary.
  • perhaps we should work on getting more prayer in church and at home before we worry about the schools, as if that's the place for moral and religious education.
  • is there not already prayer in schools? Christians can pray anytime, anywhere, and those children who have been taught well will know this and can pray during class, before lunch, and even during conversations with other students.
  • we use an argument that can be effectively used against us. When we argue that evolution is wrong and should not be taught in part because Hitler used its premise to justify the Holocaust, we are saying, in effect, that teaching something which has been hijacked by people who do evil in the name of evolution is wrong. People could counter with this: the Bible has been used to justify some pretty evil things that go against the teachings and spirit of Jesus Christ. If people do evil in the name of Christ, then the Bible should not be taught in school, either.
  • the way to persuade people of the validity and effectiveness of a Christian worldview is not to try to make rules getting people to behave like us but to live a life of consistent love of God and of neighbor. Your life is a greater testimony that many, many debates and arguments.
Maybe I'm wrong. Maybe Randall Balmer has gotten to me (probably not). But it seems that "getting God into public schools again" is a scenario based on misinformation: he never left. It is debatable that Christian fervor really thrived when prayer was in school. Lest I be branded a heretic or something, I will say that there is an anti-Christian bias in public schools, but I affirm that the answer is not to respond with a martyr complex while trying to legislate theology.

Am I wrong?

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