- United States Supreme Court
- United States of America
Prayer in Schools .. For and Against. (By Carol Brooks)
Much has been said both for and against prayer in schools. There is little doubt that neither the founding fathers nor the Lord Jesus Himself would have been in favour of ‘forced’ or ‘state sponsored’ prayer. The option to pray or not to pray is a matter of individual choice and has to come from the heart. It is a matter of some doubt whether the actual doing away of prayer in schools has directly contributed to the escalation of teen-age pregnancies and suicides and the downward spiral of the SAT scores. The Pharisees thought they would be heard for their ‘much speaking’, and similarly it is questionable as to how much value there is in a ‘canned’ prayer even if recited by thousands of young people across the country. (Consider that most schools in India start their day with a very generic prayer, similar to the one that sparked the U.S. Supreme court’s decision on the Engels v. Vitale case in 1962).
However the indisputable statistics in the following article are too frightening to be ignored and, even more damningly, the downward slide in behavior started about the time of the court decision and very evidently had something to do with it. As we see it, the court ruling to remove prayer from the school system was nothing more than the ‘official’ stamp on the removal of God from a very crucial part of our society. It was simply one large step among many small ones, which has contributed to the moral & spiritual disintegration of the US. It was a flying leap across the narrow chasm separating a God fearing moral country and the chaotic ‘everything goes’ situation we find ourselves in today. The message the Supreme Court sent to the country that fateful day was that it was okay to ‘remove’ God from His rightful place.
Remove the fear of God from the human heart, whitewash the reality that all of us will face and answer to a supremely moral Being sooner or later, eliminate the concept that He demands adherence to His laws and it is but a short step to the deterioration of the cornerstone of society… The Family. With the fear of God done away with there is no longer any reason to treat the marriage vows as sacred, to bring up God-fearing children. From there it is an even shorter step to all the other sinister and evil circumstances we find ourselves in today…. Teen pregnancies, violent crime, suicide, drugs and alcohol abuse are the very logical fruits of a society that has forgotten that He is a God of wrath.
The US Supreme Court was simply another tool, a very effective tool, in Satan’s hand.
ALEDO, TX (FR) - How did the removal of voluntary prayer from the schools of the United States affect our nation as a whole? That question has been answered in detail by a research company in Texas which has gathered and tabulated statistics from hundreds of sources relating to the rates of moral decline in America.
Specialty Research Associates, under the direction of David Barton, has released a report entitled America: To Pray or Not to Pray which uses over 100 pages of graphs and statistical analysis to prove that crime, venereal disease, premarital sex, illiteracy, suicide, drug use, public corruption, and other social ills began a dramatic increase after the Engel vs. Vitale Supreme Court decision was made in 1962 which banned school prayer.
Prayer in schools prior to 1962 was utilized in school districts all over the U.S. in many varieties. Some teachers used extemporaneous prayers, simply expressing their thoughts and desires; others implemented structured prayers, such as the Lord's Prayer or the 23rd Psalm, or others approved by local school boards. New York students prayed each day: "Almighty God, we acknowledge our dependence on Thee and beg Thy blessing over us, our parents, our teachers, and our nation." It was this simple prayer which came under fire and went to the Supreme Court for the landmark decision.
Says David Barton, "It is impossible to know how many of the 39 million children were involved in daily verbal prayers, but most accounts indicate that a clear majority of the students voluntarily participated in daily school prayer. Is it possible that the prayers that were being offered by these children and their teachers across the nation actually had any measurable, tangible effect?"
It was this question that led Barton to uncover the statistical proof that the removal of prayer did indeed take its toll on America. Below are just a few of the examples featured in Barton's report.
A. Young People
1. For 15 years before 1963 pregnancies in girls ages 15 through 19 years had been no more than 15 per thousand After 1963 pregnancies increased 187% in the next 15 years.
2. For younger girls, ages 10 to 14 years, pregnancies since 1963 are up 553%.
3. Before 1963 sexually transmitted diseases among students were 400 per 100,000. Since 1963, they were up 226% in the next 12 years.
B. The Family
1. Before 1963 divorce rates had been declining for 15 years. After 1963 divorces increased 300% each year for the next 15 years.
2. Since 1963 unmarried people living together is up 353%
3. Since 1963 single parent families are up 140%.
4. Since 1963 single parent families with children are up 160%.
1. The educational standard of measure has been the SAT scores. SAT scores had been steady for many years before 1963. From 1963 they rapidly declined for 18 consecutive years, even though the same test has been used since 1941.
2. In 1974-75 the rate of decline of the SAT scores decreased, even though they continued to decline. That was when there was an explosion of private religious schools. There were only 1000 Christian schools in 1965. Between 1974 to 1984 they increased to 32,000.
a. That could have an impact if the private schools had higher SAT scores. In checking with the SAT Board it was found that indeed the SAT scores for private schools were nearly 100 points higher than public schools.
b. In fact the scores were at the point where the public schools had been before their decline started in 1963 when prayer and Bible reading/ instruction was removed from the schools.
c. The scores in the public schools were still declining.
3. Of the nation's top academic scholars, three times as many come from private religious schools, which operate on one-third the funds as do the public schools.
D. The Nation
1. Since 1963 violent crime has increased 544%.
3. Illegal drugs have become an enormous & uncontrollable problem.
2. The nation has been deprived of an estimated 30 million citizens through legal abortions just since 1973.
It is also more than slightly disturbing that prayer has been taken out of schools yet there are so many instances where religion and the existence of God are recognized by the government. For example:
Each day's session of the Supreme Court starts with the invocation: "God save the United States and this Honorable Court."
The National Anthem, "The Star Spangled Banner" contains the words "Praise the Pow'r that hath made and preserved us a nation."
The National Motto is "In God we Trust." [See Article]
The Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag contains the words "one Nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all."
The Declaration of Independence includes the phrase: "with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence."
This petition is not to make students pray but to at least present them the opportunity to do so.