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Religion in Public Schools

Essay by   •  April 5, 2011  •  Research Paper  •  1,082 Words (5 Pages)  •  2,014 Views

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Definition:

Religion in school is the practice of any personal religious beliefs in a place of education.

Introduction:

In recent years teaching or the individual practice of religion in school has become a very controversial topic. There are many different views on this matter and even more opinions on how it should be handled. There are people on both sides of the spectrum, there are those who believe that it should be taught and allowed in school, and there are those who believe it should not be taught or practiced in school. There have been cases brought to court about how religion should be taken out of schools, or if it should be allowed. This essay will explore both sides of the spectrum.

Thesis:

Religion in public schools should not be taught; for schools are funded by the people and the government, and our government utilizes a separation of church and state premise.

Arguments:

Support Argument One:

Prayer in public schools is a very controversial subject. Both sides have many opinions on the matter; it can cause student and staff turmoil or distrust. Allowing voluntary prayer in school could cause turmoil, for each person's religion is individual unto him or her self. The United States does not have a "state religion;" thus, schools are unable to teach a common primacy of any religion. There could be a student up rise or unrest. An example would be, a Jewish student attends a school where a majority of the students are Christian; therefore, that Jewish student could be harassed by other students for not praying the same way or not praying at all like they do. Now, say that student is atheist and a majority of the students are still Christian, then the atheist student that doesn't pray at all when prayer time is allotted, may be ridiculed for being different. A great example of this happening in real life is the case of Ishmael Jaffree. He is an agnostic father of six children, who filed a lawsuit against the school board of Alabama after finding out that his children were being exposed to the bible and to prayer. During the course of this lawsuit, his children were harassed for being different. They were even physically abused for not believing as the other children did. This indicates how dangerous and unethical having religious practices in schools can be. The only time that prayer or any religious activity should be allowed in a school is if the school is a privately funded school. No government funded school should teach religion due to the separation of church and state. Funding comes from all tax payers regardless of their religious beliefs. The reason prayer is not permitted in the classroom is because it violates the separation of church and state as defined by the first amendment.

Support Argument 2:

If we were to allow prayer in the classroom our constitutional rights as defined by the first amendment, separating church and state would be violated. This would contradict what we've built our country on. It would take us a step back from being a free country. At that point we would be under a totally different political system and everything past generations have fought for would be for nothing. Allowing the separation of church and state to parish would place our country in the same turmoil that Mid-eastern countries are experiencing. It would impose the same kind of separation of people that apartheid has imposed in Africa, based on beliefs instead of their skin color. There may not be the same actions taken such as in slavery but there would be a great amount of persecution as is being experienced in Africa and the Mid-east. If we no longer have a separation of church and state than our government and schools would no longer have the freedom of speech we all enjoy. If people want to see religion in schools they should send their children to private schools where religion is allowed because the school is funded privately and not by the government. As long as public schools are funded by the tax payers and because we have a separation of church and state

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