Alabama lawmakers are proposing a bill that would allow public school officials to join prayers on school grounds that are student-initiated. It’s a form of coercion that takes things too far, since the teacher or administrators would effectively be endorsing religion through their actions. It’s not like they’re praying as private citizens, after all, but as government officials.
J. Pepper Bryars, a columnist from Alabama, knows that most citizens want this bill to become a reality, but he cautions them that this could all backfire… (ya think?!)
After all, even within Christianity, there are different prayers that promote different interpretations of the faith, and those aren’t just minor squabbles:
We have differences within the Christian community and some are serious enough to have divided nations, churches and even families. Simple questions about the doxology or a teacher’s remark during an expository prayer could fuel a discussion about the protestant reformation, justification, church authority, proper translations and countless other issues that should be left to parents and the churches they choose to attend. The last entity we need to involve in the matter is a government-run public school.
Public prayer and discussion by and with adults is fine. Reasonable people firm in their faith can tolerate our many differences in such forums, or at least they should. Having our children’s faith potentially incorrectly taught by a well-meaning teacher at their public school, however, may be a step too far.
Wow. A religious person from Alabama who gets it. Enjoy it, everyone. You don’t see this very often.
I would also add that there will be all sorts of chaos the moment a Muslim teacher joins in prayer with Muslim students, or a Satanist teacher does… whatever the hell they do. School officials should not be in the business of praying publicly at work. Not in the classroom or during a club meeting. It sends the wrong message, no matter who you are.
Then again, maybe it’s those non-Christians (or Christians who aren’t the “right kind” of Christians) who will finally convince people they really don’t want this bill to pass.
(Image via Shutterstock)