Monday, May 15, 2006

School Prayer?

Generally I don't understand the flap over school prayer. If you didn't pray silently in school (for good grades, for the teacher to please not call on you, whatever), then that's between you and whatever deity or providence you hold highest. Personally, I prayed all the time, I just didn't do it out loud.

But seriously, the arguments against having a moment for prayer after saying the Pledge of Allegiance (please tell me that children still recite this?!), or having a valedictorian request a moment of prayer, have nothing at all to do with the fiction of "Separation of Church and State". It has to do with meddling with our rights, and it's, at best, petty - at worst, it is just another example of someone *else* trying to define your normal for you under their terms. Not acceptable.

But look, the Seattle Public Schools are forming a committee to examine the question of whether prayer in school is needed to "support the needs of our diverse students and families." Can it be, here in the bluest of blue counties, King Country, that such a thing might be deemed useful and desirable for the students? Have I suddently been transported to a red state?

Not so fast. You see, the committee is not going to study the possibility of allowing prayer for all students. It is only going to discuss the needs of Muslim students !

Committee will propose guidelines for issue of prayer

The SPS Department of Race and Equity is looking for SEA members to participate in a "Prayer in Schools Committee," the charge of which is to look at how to address this issue District wide and to provide information about our Muslim students that will help teachers and building leaders make decisions that support the needs of our diverse students and families. The next meeting is scheduled for May 30th, 3:00 - 4:30.
Contact Dr. Hollins at
(From the Seattle Education Association newsletter Unity)
Hat tip to Andy MacDonald at Sound Politics.

For the record, I agree with Andy's viewpoint - the schools should have nothing to do with prayer, neither denying students the opportunity to take their own time to use for this purpose, nor setting aside time for it. Whether or not to pray is a highly personal decision, the school is there to teach, to offer information and an environment which encourages learning and mental growth. Period.

I wonder if there is anything postive that is possible to come from this discussion? I don't see a possibility of it. What are your thoughts?

Local KOMO (ABC affiliate) commentator Ken Schramm is on this one. He says that Dr. Hollins lied to him.