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Encyclopedia > School prayer

School prayer in its most common usage refers to state sanctioned prayer by students in state schools. Depending on the country and the type of school, organized prayer may be required, permitted, or proscribed. The separation of church and state, in the United States, is one legal reason given for proscribing state sanctioned school prayers. Freedom of conscience, as in Canada, is another. Mary Magdalene in prayer. ... Students in Rome, Italy. ... Constantines Conversion, depicting the conversion of Emperor Constantine the Great to Christianity, by Peter Paul Rubens. ... Freedom of thought (also called freedom of conscience) is the freedom of an individual to hold a viewpoint, or thought, regardless of anyone elses view. ...

Contents

United States

School prayer is an issue that has been controversial in the United States since the early 20th century. In the 18th, 19th and early 20th centuries, school days customarily opened with an oral prayer. [citation needed] However, citing separation of church and state as specified in the First Amendment and applied to the states via the Fourteenth Amendment, opponents of the practice were successful in having mandatory prayer abolished through the judicial process. Proponents of school prayer have worked to reestablish the practice. These recent proponents are largely, but not exclusively, Christians of various denominations. However, some major Christian denominations are opposed to the practice. Educational oversight Secretary Deputy Secretary U.S. Department of Education Margaret Spellings Raymond Simon National education budget $1. ... The Washington National Cathedral, located in the capital of the U.S., is one of the largest churches in the country. ... (19th century - 20th century - 21st century - more centuries) Decades: 1900s 1910s 1920s 1930s 1940s 1950s 1960s 1970s 1980s 1990s As a means of recording the passage of time, the 20th century was that century which lasted from 1901–2000 in the sense of the Gregorian calendar (1900–1999... (17th century - 18th century - 19th century - more centuries) As a means of recording the passage of time, the 18th century refers to the century that lasted from 1701 through 1800. ... Alternative meaning: Nineteenth Century (periodical) (18th century — 19th century — 20th century — more centuries) As a means of recording the passage of time, the 19th century was that century which lasted from 1801-1900 in the sense of the Gregorian calendar. ... This article does not cite any references or sources. ... Mary Magdalene in prayer. ... The separation of church and state is a legal and political principle derived from the First Amendment to the United States Constitution, which reads, Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof . ... The first ten Amendments to the U.S. Constitution make up the Bill of Rights. ... Amendment XIV in the National Archives The Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution (Amendment XIV) is one of the post-Civil War amendments (known as the Reconstruction Amendments), first intended to secure rights for former slaves. ... For other uses, see Christian (disambiguation). ... For other senses of this word, see denomination. ...


In the U.S., staff-sanctioned prayer in public schools was effectively outlawed by two landmark Supreme Court decisions: Engel v. Vitale [1962] and Abington School District v. Schempp [1963]. Following these two landmark cases came the Court's decision in Lemon v. Kurtzman [1971]. This ruling established the so-called "Lemon test" which states that in order to be constitutional under the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment any practice sponsored within state run schools must: 1) have a secular purpose, 2) must neither advance nor inhibit religion, and 3) must not result in an excessive entanglement between government and religion. Federal courts Supreme Court Circuit Courts of Appeal District Courts Elections Presidential elections Midterm elections Political Parties Democratic Republican Third parties State & Local government Governors Legislatures (List) State Courts Local Government Other countries  Atlas  Politics Portal      The Supreme Court of the United States (sometimes colloquially referred to by the acronym... Holding Government-directed, denominationally neutral and non-mandatory prayer in public schools violates the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment. ... Holding The Court decided 8-1 in favor of the respondent, Edward Schempp, and declared sanctioned organized Bible reading in public schools in the United States to be unconstitutional. ... Holding For a law to be considered constitutional under the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment, the law must have a legitimate secular purpose, must not have the primary effect of either advancing or inhibiting religion, and must not result in an excessive entanglement of government and religion. ... The Establishment Clause of the First Amendment to the United States Constitution states that: Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion Together with the Free Exercise Clause, (or prohibiting the free exercise thereof), these two clauses make up what are commonly known as the religion clauses. ...


The issues surrounding this ruling seemed fairly straightforward until the 1990s, when the courts began addressing prayer at school extracurricular events with less clarity. While some courts allowed student prayers from the podium at graduation exercises, a federal appellate court in Houston ruled in 1999 that student-led prayer in a huddle before a football game is unconstitutional. Much of the recent controversy has revolved around prayer at school athletics events. Guidance was provided by the Supreme Court in Santa Fe Independent School Dist. v. Doe [2000] when it upheld a lower court ruling invalidating prayers conducted over the public address system prior to high school games at state school facilities before a school-gathered audience. It has been suggested that this article or section be merged into Appeal. ... Houston redirects here. ... United States simply as football, is a competitive team sport that is both fast-paced and strategic. ... Santa Fe Independent School Dist. ...


Those in favor of sponsored prayer in state schools publicly claim that "prayer" is forbidden in state schools. [1] Prayer is not and never has been forbidden. Regarding the Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment, the courts have consistently ruled that students' expressions of religious views through prayer or otherwise cannot be abridged unless they can be shown to cause substantial disruption in the school. The Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment to the United States Constitution, taken with the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment make up the Religion Clauses. ...


Reinstatement of state-sponsored prayer has been attempted in different forms in a number of areas of the U.S. Few areas allow oral prayer, but some introduced a "moment of silence" or "moment of reflection" when a student may, if he or she wishes to, offer a silent prayer. For other uses, see Student (disambiguation). ...


Besides citing separation of church and state, some opponents question why children cannot simply pray during non-school hours, or during school hours but not as part of an organized, state-sanctioned activity. They point out that the Bible says, on the subject of public prayer, "Beware of practicing your piety before men in order to be seen by them...but when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you." [2]


At Graduation

Recently, some high schools have banned prayer from graduation ceremonies. In May 2006, the ACLU of Tennessee convinced Munford High School's principal to ban official prayer at graduation. [1] In response, students pulled out cards with the Lord's Prayer written on them and began to read. Also, some have concluded that the school's ACLU club faculty adviser has lost her job over the incident. [2] The American Civil Liberties Union, or ACLU, is a non_governmental organization devoted to defending civil rights and civil liberties in the United States. ... Munford High School is a public high school located in Munford, Tennessee. ... The Sermon on the Mount by Carl Heinrich Bloch. ...


United Kingdom

In England and Wales, the School Standards and Framework Act 1998 states that all pupils in state schools must take part in a daily act of collective worship, unless their parents request that they be excused from attending.[3] The majority of these acts of collective worship are required to be "wholly or mainly of a broadly Christian character", with two exceptions: This article does not cite any references or sources. ... St Pauls Cathedral The United Kingdom is traditionally a Christian state, though of the four constituent countries, only England still has a state faith in the form of an established church. ... State school is an expression used in the United Kingdom and other countries apart from the United States to distinguish schools provided by the government from public schools which are in fact private institutions. ... Topics in Christianity Movements · Denominations · Other religions Ecumenism · Preaching · Prayer Music · Liturgy · Calendar Symbols · Art · Criticism Important figures Apostle Paul · Church Fathers Constantine · Athanasius · Augustine Anselm · Aquinas · Palamas · Luther Calvin · Wesley Arius · Marcion of Sinope Archbishop of Canterbury · Catholic Pope Coptic Pope · Ecumenical Patriarch Christianity Portal This box:      Christianity is...

  • Religious schools, which should provide worship appropriate to the school's religion (although most religious schools in the UK are Christian.)
  • Schools where the Local Education Authority's Standing Advisory Council on Religious Education has determined that Christian worship would not be appropriate for part or all of the school.

Despite there being a statutory requirement for schools to hold a daily act of collective worship, many do not. OFSTED's 2002-03 annual report [4], for example, states that 80% of secondary schools are failing to provide daily worship for all pupils A Local Education Authority (LEA) is the part of a council in England or Wales that is responsible for education within that councils jurisdiction. ... The Office for Standards in Education (OFSTED) is a non-ministerial United Kingdom government department, established on 1st September 1992. ... High School also refers to the highest form of classical riding, High School Dressage. ...


Canada

British Columbia

Prior to 1944, in British Columbia, the Public Schools Act (1872) permitted the use of the Lord’s Prayer in opening or closing school. In 1944, the government of British Columbia amended the Public Schools Act to provide for compulsory Bible reading at the opening of the school day, to be followed by a compulsory recitation of the Lord’s Prayer. This amendment appeared as section 167 of the Public Schools Act, and read as follows: [5] Motto: Splendor Sine Occasu (Latin: Splendour Without Sunset (diminishment)) Capital Victoria Largest city Vancouver Official languages English Government - Lieutenant-Governor Iona Campagnolo - Premier Gordon Campbell (BC Liberal) Federal representation in Canadian Parliament - House seats 36 - Senate seats 6 Confederation July 20, 1871 (6th province) Area  Ranked 5th - Total 944,735...

167. All public schools shall be opened by the reading, without explanation or comment, of a passage of Scripture to be selected from readings prescribed or approved by the Council of Public Instruction. The reading of the passage of Scripture shall be followed by the recitation of the Lord’s Prayer, but otherwise the schools shall be conducted on strictly secular and non-sectarian principles. The highest morality shall be inculcated, but no religious dogma or creed shall be taught. 1948, c.42, s.167

The compulsory nature of the Bible reading and prayer recitation was slightly modified by regulations drawn up by the Council of Public Instruction. These regulations provided that either a teacher or student who has conscientious ground for objecting to the religious observances may be excused from them. The procedure to be followed in such cases was outlined in the regulations, which follow in full:

Division (15)—Scripture Readings (Section 167)

15.01 Where a teacher sends a written notice to the Board of School Trustees or official trustee by whom he is employed that he has conscientious objections to conducting the. ceremony of reading prescribed selections from the Bible and reciting the Lord’s Prayer (as provided by Section 167 of the Public Schools Act), he shall be excused from such duty, and in such case it shall be the duty of the Board of School Trustees or official trustee concerned to arrange with the Principal to have the ceremony conducted by some other teacher in the school, or by a school trustee, or, where neither of these alternatives is possible, by one of the senior pupils of the school or by some other suitable person other than an ordained member of a religious sect or denomination.

15.02 Where the parent or guardian of any pupil attending a public school sends a written notice to the teacher of the pupil stating that for conscientious reasons he does not wish the pupil to attend the ceremony of reading prescribed selections from the Bible and reciting the Lord’s Prayer at the opening of school, the teacher shall excuse the pupil from attendance at such ceremony and at his discretion may assign the pupil some other useful employment at school during that period, but the pupil so excused shall not be deprived of any other benefits of the school by reason of his non-attendance at the ceremony.

In 1982, the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms received royal assent. Section 2 of the charter guaranteeing freedom of conscience and freedom of religion trumped Section 167 of the Public Schools Act (1872). The Charter, signed by Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau in 1981. ...


The challenges to Christian opening and closing exercises occurred mainly in Ontario with the crucial case being fought in The Ontario Court of Appeal in 1988.[6]

Zylberberg v. Sudbury Board of Education (Director) The Ontario Court of Appeal ruled that the use of the Lord’s Prayer in opening exercises in public schools offended the Charter s. 2(a). 1988. (1988), 65 O.R. (2d) 641, 29 O.A.C. 23 (C.A.). The education regulations did not require the use of the Lord's Prayer and there was an exemption provision. The Ontario Court of Appeal ruled that the regulation infringed religious freedom because schools could use only the Lord's Prayer rather than a more inclusive approach. The exemption provision actually stigmatized children and coerced them into a religious observance which was offensive to them.

The Ontario Court of Appeal was persuaded by the argument that the need to seek exemption from Christian exercises is itself a form of religious discrimination. The judges described as insensitive the position of the respondents that it was beneficial for the minority children to confront the fact of their difference from the majority.


In 1989, Joan Russow challenged, in the British Columbia Supreme Court, the Public Schools Act (1872)’s requirement that in British Columbia all public schools were to be opened with the Lord’s Prayer and a Bible reading. The argument was similar to the Zylberberg case and the result was the same with the offending words in the act being struck out as being inconsistent with freedom of conscience and religion guarantees in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Joan Elizabeth Russow is a noted Canadian peace activist and former leader of the Green Party of Canada. ...

Russow v. British ColumbiaThe B.C. Supreme Court follows Zylberberg case to strike down use of the Lord’s Prayer in schools. 1989. (1989), 35 B.C.L.R. (2d) 29 (S.C.) The British Columbia Supreme Court incorporates the Ontario Court of Appeal's decision in Zylberberg in its entirety.

From 1871 to 1989, observance of school prayer had declined.


With the unfavorable court decision, the requirement for Christian morning exercises was replaced with the following clauses found in the School Act (1996) in British Columbia.[7]

Conduct:

76 (1) All schools and Provincial schools must be conducted on strictly secular and nonsectarian principles.

(2) The highest morality must be inculcated, but no religious dogma or creed is to be taught in a school or Provincial school.

France

As a declared 'laicist' (roughly 'religiously neutral', secular) state since the French Revolution in 1789, France has no school prayers. In fact, public servants are advised to keep their religious faith private, and may be censured if they display it too openly. The French law on secularity and conspicuous religious symbols in schools goes beyond restricting prayer in schools, and bans the wearing of conspicuous religious symbols by pupils in public primary and secondary schools. REDIRECT Laïcité ... The French Revolution (1789–1815) was a period of political and social upheaval in the political history of France and Europe as a whole, during which the French governmental structure, previously an absolute monarchy with feudal privileges for the aristocracy and Catholic clergy, underwent radical change to forms based on... Year 1789 (MDCCLXXXIX) was a common year starting on Thursday (link will display the full calendar) of the Gregorian calendar (or a common year starting on Monday of the 11-day slower Julian calendar). ... The French law on secularity and conspicuous religious symbols in schools bans wearing conspicuous religious symbols in French public (i. ... A primary school in ÄŒeský Těšín, Poland. ... In France, secondary education is in two stages: the collèges (IPA: ) cater for the first four years of secondary education from the ages of 11 to 15; the lycées (IPA: ) provide a three-year course of further secondary education for children between the ages of 15 and 18. ...


Turkey

Unknown to many people in the West, the predominantly Muslim country of Turkey is in the public sphere a strongly secular nation. In this regard, it is much like France, on whose system of laicism its founder Kemal Atatürk modeled the rules on religion when he reformed his country in the early 20th century. School prayer is therefore unknown, and suspected religious motivations can cause serious difficulties for public servants. There is also a collection of Hadith called Sahih Muslim A Muslim (Arabic: مسلم, Persian: Mosalman or Mosalmon Urdu: مسلمان, Turkish: Müslüman, Albanian: Mysliman, Bosnian: Musliman) is an adherent of the religion of Islam. ... REDIRECT Laïcité ... Mustafa Kemal Atatürk (1881–10 November 1938), until 1934 Gazi Mustafa Kemal Pasha, Turkish army officer and revolutionist statesman, was the founder and the first President of the Republic of Turkey. ...


References

  • "Ofsted Report 2002"
  • "British Humanist Association"

Notes

  1. ^ http://www.allaboutpopularissues.org/prayer-in-the-public-schools-faq.htm, in an article titled, "When was prayer in the public schools outlawed." "The U. S. Supreme Court issued two bans on prayer in public schools."
  2. ^ The Holy Bible (RSV), Collins, 1973. See also Discourse on ostentation#Prayer.

The discourse on ostentation, Matthew 6, is a section of the Sermon on the Mount, occurring after the antithesis of the Law, but before the discourse on judgementalism, according to the Gospel of Matthew. ...

External links

See also


  Results from FactBites:
 
School Prayer: News (998 words)
The text of a brochure mailed by the Freedom From Religion Foundation to schools, school districts and state Secretaries of Education across the country.
There is a secret about prayer in the public schools that the religious right doesn't want you to know: school prayer, like most religious activity, is legal.
In fact, laws requiring school prayer and Bible reading were not nearly as widespread as prayer advocates claim, were late-comers to the public education, were frequently and successfully challenged in court, and were on their way out when the Supreme Court handed down it's rulings in Engle v.
Guidance on Constitutionally Protected Prayer in Public Elementary and Secondary Schools (2793 words)
School authorities may disclaim sponsorship of non-curricular groups and events, provided they administer such disclaimers in a manner that neither favors nor disfavors groups that meet to engage in prayer or religious speech.
To avoid any mistaken perception that a school endorses student speech that is not in fact attributable to the school, school officials may make appropriate, neutral disclaimers to clarify that such speech (whether religious or nonreligious) is the speaker's and not the school's.
To avoid any mistaken perception that a school endorses student or other private speech that is not in fact attributable to the school, school officials may make appropriate, neutral disclaimers to clarify that such speech (whether religious or nonreligious) is the speaker's and not the school's.
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