Re: feds extort state schools into prayer declaration
>What a load of bullcrap from beginning to end!!
>OK, I went to public school in Tennessee from Fall
>1959 through Spring 1969 (whereupon I moved to Texas
>and went to high school, from which I did eventually
>graduate). Texas was far more advanced than Tennessee
>was in those days. In Texas religion was a private
>matter that one was free to indulge in on one's own
>time, but it was not the business of the school.
>But before I got to Texas, as I said, I spent my
>formative years in Tennessee, and that was quite
>Tennessee was the land of the Scopes Trial of much
>disrepute where the law still prohibited teachers from
>teaching the Darwinian theory even when I took science
>and biology in the 7th and 8th grades. It was also a
>state where every class day began with the pledge of
>allegience and a prayer. Yes, it was public school
>but they had Christian prayers nevertheless. One
>teacher I remember, I think in the 1966-67 school
>year, told the class, "you know the federal government
>has been telling us that we can't have prayer in
>school, but we have our state laws to protect us."
>That was questionable from the standpoint of
>Constitutional law as then interpreted, but it
>reflected daily reality where the teachers did lead
>the class in prayer and Bible reading.
>According to this Arizona Republic, article the
>Federal Government is now keen on preserving the
>students' and faculty's rights to pray in school
>subject to certain conditions:
>> Prayer is permitted provided it happens outside
>> class instruction and is not
>> initiated by school officials, guidelines say.
>> Students may pray at recess,
>See, when I went to school, recess was the time you
>did what YOU wanted to do, and no kid wanted to spend
>his free time praying. They made us pray during
>class, so it was not something a normal child would
>CHOOSE to do on his own time. I guess modern kids are
>> and teachers may hold their own Bible study at
>> lunch, but teachers may not
>> lead students in prayer.
>That last is an interesting loophole, actually. I
>said that the teachers would lead us in prayer in
>school. Well, actually on many, if not most,
>occasions, the teacher would assign a student to say
>"devotional," as it was called in the morning, and
>another to "say grace" when we were all lined up to go
>to lunch. I suppose since the people who led those
>prayers were children, the law would accept that, even
>though the children who led those prayers did so as
>voluntarily as they did their homework.
>I have to admit that given my tendency to
>perverseness, all the enforced religion in public
>school, (where my enlightened parents said it was
>actually illegal according to federal rulings) left me
>with considerable resentment of all things Biblical.
>Not coming from a religious home, I knew nothing of
>all the mumbo jumbo they were talking about. I didn't
>know the Old Testament from the New, couldn't
>distinguish between Corinthians and Genesis, and had
>no idea who or what those "decycles of Christ" were.
>(It was only when we had a written religious
>assignment that I discovered they were "Disciples.")
>I still remember an experience I had during recess on
>some of my first days in elementary school when other
>children with evident seriousness and even fear in
>their voices would beg me not to dig so deep in the
>sandbox "because you might bring up the Devil" (who, I
>learned later, resided a few inches under the
I can barely contain my laughter as I type! That is
SOOOO hilarious! I also liked digging deep holes as
a child. A couple times I was jokingly admonished
that I might reach China, but never did anyone suggest
I would bring up the devil :-) Then again I was
reared Catholic, so maybe the idea that the devil
dwells under sandboxes is a Protestant notion. No, the
nuns taught us that Hell was not a physical location
but a state of being consisting of eternal separation
from God. It was not known if there was also physical
punishment in Hell, but it was stressed that the primary
punishment was spiritual.
>Anyhow, the whole experience of religiousThe Catholic nuns and priests TRIED to be rational about
>indoctrination left a lasting impression -- the
>opposite, I imagine, from the one intended.
>So, when I took Civics in the 9th grade and saw film
>after Cold War film about the evils of Communism, I
>reacted to them in a perverse way too. You see, one
>of those films told us quite literally that Marxism
>was entirely logical on a purely rational level, but
>that if one had a strong religious faith, then whole
>logical construct of Marxism came tumbling down.
>Well, after my public school religious instruction, I
>had no faith whatsoever that Satan regularly popped
>out of sandboxes, or that it mattered if one had been
>sprinkled, dunked, or even baptised at all. In fact,
>by the 9th grade I was entirely convinced that
>Christianity was at best a colossal bore, and at worst
>an irrational, oppressive doctrine. All of which made
>me that much better disposed to that "entirely
>logical" doctrine of Marx.
religion, and that was the undoing of my faith. The
final clincher was when Father Prat of my tenth grade
religion class said, "We know there is a God, because
the universe reflects intelligent design. Just as this
pen I am holding did not come together by itself,
neither did the universe come together by itself."
That got me to thinking whether a God powerful and
complex enough to create the universe did not Himself
reflect intelligent design and whether if one could
conceive of a God coming together out of nothing
it was any less rational to conceive the universe as
coming together out of nothing. Thus began my
Well, if we Catholic children didn't consider the
devil under the sandbox, we did have fun in other
ways. One of my classmates wrote a new version of
the Hail Mary which went:
Hail Mary full of grace
Fell down the stairs and smashed her face.
I wrote an obscene version of the hymn
"Immaculate Mary", which I will not print here.
In any case, as the school received no public
funds, we were under no legal obligation to
exclude prayer, and we had quite a lot of it.
Prayer in the morning, prayer in the afternoon
as we left, mass every friday morning, and once
in a while the class said the rosary together.
Strangely we didn't say a collective grace
before lunch. That was left to the individual.