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SCHOOL PRAYER 7/7/05 update

I get many emails about reinstituting school prayer as the American way. Now that I have created this webpage, I'll use it as a reply to those emails. If you want to get on that subject, I like a newspaper editorial from the heart of Texas as the final definitive word. I personally believe that religion or spirituality is vital to success in all walks of life. My experience has shown it to be a way to clear my mind and sort my thoughts to ensure my correct path in all walks of my life. I am much more productive by taking time out from my work to do church work. You need a variety of things in your life to be well rounded and properly grounded.

School prayer has been a very divisive issue for a number of years. It takes a lot of COOL thought about the loving god above and how would he react.  I really love the thoughts and reason expressed by a Waco Texas newspaper editorial that my minister (Rev Paul L'Herrou) used in a freedom of religion sermon this past year. He forwarded it to me so I could paste it in here.

READING:                  "When Prayer Comes Back to Public Schools"

by Rowland Nethaway, Waco (Texas) Tribune-Herald

            "Let's quiet down, children. Now that we've finally gotten rid of that terrible Supreme Court decision, I can again lead you in prayer. Did everyone remember to bring their chicken?

            "Mary, where is your chicken? That's all right, Mary. Don't cry. As I told you yesterday, if you can't afford a chicken, the school is required to provide one for you.  I've got plenty of extra chickens up here by the prayer mats, meditation crystals and peyote buds. Did anyone else forget to bring their chicken?

            "As you know from your schedule, children, today I will lead you in a Santeria prayer. It's a recognized, ancient religion. Now I know some of you have complained that many of these prayers don't represent your beliefs. But remember, they do represent the sincere beliefs of many Americans. Eventually we will lead the class in a prayer of your own religion.

            "But you'll have to be patient. There are hundreds of Christian denominations in the United States. And there are hundreds more non-Christian religions. If your religion isn't on our list, just let us know, and we'll make sure it's added. We won't leave anyone out.

            "Everyone knows that you have never been prevented from praying here in school, but for years you were denied having teachers and principals lead you in prayer. You should be thankful that once again we can finally lead you in prayer.

            "Johnny, I don't know what you are doing to that chicken, but stop it. This is important. Lots and lots of people said the loss of state-sponsored prayers led to drug use, crime, violence, teenage pregnancies, dropouts, family disintegration, child abuse, pornography, racism, poor academic achievement, overcrowded prisons and lots of other bad things.

            "Remember that tomorrow we will have a traditional Wicca prayer, and we'll try to cast a spell on the press. Remember to bring a lock of your mother's hair.

            "Johnny, keep that chicken quiet. What is it, Lucy?  Unitarian? Fortunately for you, the list of state-sponsored prayers is not in alphabetical order.

            "Let's see, coming up we have Christian Science, Amish, Tibetan Buddhism, Seventh-day Adventist, Comanche, Zoroastrianism, Druze, Calvinist Baptist, Unification, Hasidism and Deliverance Pentecostal.  That one should be interesting.  I think that's when you bring a rattlesnake and a cup of poison.

            "I don't see it coming up right away, Lucy. Let's see, we have the Reformed Druids of North America, American Vegan, Shanti Yoga, Evangelical Presbyterian, Baha'i World Faith, Church of Satan, Gnostic Orthodox, House of Yahweh, Agasha Temple of Wisdom, Church of Metaphysical Christianity, Jain Meditation, Catholic Charismatic, People of Destiny, Branch Davidian, Coptic Fellowship...

            " I don't know, Lucy. It doesn't look like Unitarian is coming up anytime soon. But the government requires that we lead you in a prayer of your religion at least once before you graduate. This way, it's fair for everyone - not the way it used to be.

            "OK, kids, on the count of three, yank the heads off your chickens, and I'll start today's prayer."

OK. Now how many of you still want state-sponsored public prayer in your schools?  And WHICH prayers?

CHRISTIANS SUE TO STOP SCHOOL PRAYER

That reminds me of a story in a Vermont newspaper that curiously didn't get much publicity a few years ago. CHRISTIANS SUE TO STOP SCHOOL PRAYER was the headline. It was a 95% Buddhist community and the school system was performing Buddhist prayers and meditations. It was no problem until one student complained to his parents that he didn't want [his parents' words, I'd guess:] 'to pray to someone else's god and that if he didn't join in, he was ostracized by his peers for being different and thus wrong.' This world would be a VERY boring place if everyone was the same. Vive la difference! The prayers were stopped. Oh well, prayer is for home and anywhere that we are in our own private space, anyway.

 

I click "reply all" regarding any message on religion or prayer, with this webpage, in the interest of opening their eyes to both sides of the subject, so that they don't proliferate un-thought-out and probably unintended religious bigotry among their friends (especially if they are one of my Fuller Brush distributors who could be unintentionally promoting bigotry to their customers and distributors). My ancestors came here for freedom of religion (5 on the Mayflower) and to escape religious persecution and being told what and how to believe and which religion/denomination is right or wrong. I believe the future of our free country (and thus the future of free enterprise like Fuller Brush) depends on the avoidance of a State Religion, or any semblance of same. One of my pet peeves is those companies advertising a "Christian business opportunity" which strikes me as the new version of the KKK saying Jews go home. Another pet peeve is those fanatics who say the Pope and the Jews and everyone else are going to hell unless they change to their religion. I think Jesus will have a surprise for them when they go knocking on heaven's door! Haven't they read their own definition of the Anti-Christ?

Perhaps, we should consider the argument that the nation's Christian founders founded our nation as a Christian nation and that plurality would therefore best be handled by conformity to that one religion. We might then look to one of the leading founders, the "Father of Our Country", George Washington, for his wisdom on the subject.

 In 1797, Washington signed a treaty with Tripoli which ended the Barbary Coast War, and Congress overwhelmingly approved it.  That treaty stated in part: "As the government of the United States is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion, it has in itself no character of enmity against the ideas, religion or tranquility of the Moslem religion, so it is declared that no pretext arising from religious opinion shall ever produce an interruption of the harmony existing between the two countries."

Perhaps some political leaders should go back to school and learn what our Founding Fathers had to say about why they founded this country.

If you want to get into some heavy intellectual reading, See also www.yuricareport.com/Dominionism/TheDespoilingOfAmerica.htm (capitals required as shown). Also http://www.theology.edu/journal/volume2/ushistor.htm . Also, as Americans United for Separation of Church and State say, “Thomas Jefferson Built it, George W Bush wants to destroy it”. Visit www.au.org

"If prayer is to mean anything, especially to God, it must be something that comes from the heart, not something memorized or recited robotically as a group." - Roland Rhoades.

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