A Time To Pray

I never quite understood the point of there being offered a time for students to pray during school hours. For one, teachers and administrators always seem to be all about pushing as much into the kids as is possible, so to waste anywhere from 5 – 10 minutes every days just seems like a lot of time to waste in a 90 minute classroom setting, much less in a 50 minute classroom setting.

Or the thing that I really could never wrap my head around was that administration feels that they have to offer students a time to pray or to do whatever. It just seems ridiculous, if a student wishes to pray, I would hope they are able to start the process on their own and not need prompting from a loudspeaker that now would be a great time to pray if they so wanted to. Really gee thanks Mr. Loudspeaker, thanks for putting me in the mood to pray. Without you reminding me to pray, I never would have done so.

The main reason this is on my mind is a recent article in the NYT regarding the Naval Academy, which has a lawsuit filed by the ACLU on behalf of 9 students who wish for the daily prayer at lunchtime to be abolished. You can take a pretty good guess based on my introduction, that I am for a daily prayer being removed from the official schedule.

There are several reasons that I am against religion even being sideways endorsed by government and governmental organization.

First the government isn’t going to make someone believe in a particular religion, no matter how much they might stress it or include the opportunity to buy license plates with religious symbols. The second important reason is that when religion is emphasized by the government, it may say it allows for all, but really only allows first the mainstream religions and then only the ones that are followed by the majority of the public. Could you imagine what would happen in some high schools or even at the Naval Academy if during their time for prayer, someone decided to pray to Mother Nature or pulled out a prayer rug and prayed towards Mecca? Actually now that I think about it I wish I had done that sometime during high school, I wonder what would happen. I have suspicions that the school would have wound up stopping offering up the opportunity to pray if students started praying in the manner of some of the lesser followed religions.

The next big concern is that the percentage of people idetifitying themselves as having no religoin is growing in the United States, currently at 15% and going up as the percentage for younger people in the US is even higher.

Being neutral on religion is a difficult task and hard for anyone of deep and strongly held religious beliefs to accept, but is necessary here in the United States.

Justin Yost is a full-time Software Engineer and a part time educator. A graduate of Texas Tech University with a bachelor's degree in computer science, Justin relishes programming and learning more about anything and everything. When not working, Justin occasionally gives talks at the local PHP Meetup. In his free time, Justin enjoys backpacking and reading science fiction books.

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