Wednesday, August 19, 2009

A Crime for Prayer

It is clear that times continue to change. I have been able to see the changes that we face in my short lifetime. Perhaps I am beginning to understand the phrase "back when". This was especially true this week when I laid down at night and turned on the TV only to see the changes we see happen from day to day. The story that I saw on the news, two school officials are facing charges for blessing their food.

This last week two Florida school district officials are facing contempt charges for offering a prayer at a luncheon to dedicate a new athletics building for the high school. All employees in the entire district had been banned from promoting any religion to students by a court order, and when the administrators offered a blessing on the food, they where apparently in contempt of court and face charges for their actions.

I recall as a 5th grader in my elementary school in TX, we had a prayer offered every morning as we started our day. We would hear the morning announcements, recite the Pledge of Allegiance, and a student would offer a prayer. I offered the prayer myself on several occasions, not out of malice, rather I wanted to show the respect I had for my classmates by offering a prayer of gratitude for the fortune we had of getting an education.

Are we not taking the separation of church and state a little too far? When is it that the state can prevent a group of adults from offering a prayer? The luncheon was for adults only. There were not student present. The ACLU claims that there were students present, but what they fail to mention was that the students were members of the culinary arts class who were responsible for preparing the food and were completely separated from the event preparing the food.

We should all be concerned with our right not to have another's beliefs forced upon us. Should that not, however, also apply to those of us who do have religious beliefs? Why is it that we are forced to have the beliefs of those who do not believe in a higher power forced upon us? Many believe that we offer blessings on the food that we eat. It is a religious principle that has existed for thousands of years. Those who have the belief that it does not matter, and yes it is a religious view, are considered agnostic. Why is the agnostic community allowed to force their non-belief on those around them? If a teacher wants to offer a prayer, let them offer a prayer. If a teacher fails a student because he will not pray with the teacher, arrest the teacher. Why are we so scared of being sued by the ACLU that we are allowing this idea that to be a government worker or to attend a school that we must have no religion?

We should offer prayer in school. It does not always have to be a Christen prayer. It should be Jewish, and Christen and Muslim. Diversity is not removing what makes us different, but embracing it. We are different. We always will be different, and trying to keep us from that is not helping. It only leads to well meaning school officials being brought up on criminal charges and facing jail time. It seems it is a pat on the back to believe nothing, and a crime from prayer.