The legality of saying prayers in public schools is an ongoing debate in the United States. The following article will give readers an idea of the arguments that support or are opposed to prayer in public schools.
Since the Supreme Court banned nondenominational prayer recitation in public
schools in 1962 with the Engel v. Vitale decision, people who feel that
students should be able to pray in public school classes have waged battles in
courts to change the law. Those who are opposed are equally committed to
keeping prayer out of schools. What are their arguments?
Arguments Supporting Prayer in Public SchoolsThe unites States
Government Was Formed on Religious Ideas and Principles
George Washington stated on September 17, 1796, that, “It is impossible to
govern the world without God and the Bible.” In his 1781 “Notes on the State of
Virginia,” Thomas Jefferson, the main author of the Declaration of Independence,
wrote: “God who gave us life gave us liberty. And can the liberties of a nation
be thought secure when we have removed their only firm basis, a conviction in
the minds of the people that these liberties are a gift of God?” The Founding
Fathers were convinced that the New Nation existed because of God’s will. They
would not have supported removing prayer from schools.
The Founding Fathers were not concerned with religion and government per
se, but with a state religion as the Church of England was in England the
during that time. Since many of the original colonists came to the New World to
escape religious persecution, the Fathers wanted to make sure that the
government would never adopt a "formal" religion. The separation of church and
state has been taken to an extreme that the Founding Fathers never would have
The majority of people in the United States support prayer in schools.
According to a Gallup poll conducted in July, 1999, 70% of Americans agree that
students should be allowed to say prayers out loud daily during class time.
Since the United States is a democracy and polls clearly indicate that the
majority of people living in the United States would prefer to have prayers in
schools, the government should allow spoken prayers in public schools during
The United States Has Gone Through a Moral Decline
Since the Supreme Court ruled against prayers in school in the early 1960's,
there has been a major decline in the morals and character of the American
people. Divorce rates for 1,000 married women over the age of fifteen went from
9.2 in 1960 to 20.9 in 1990. From 1963 to 2000, violent crime has increased
almost 350%. There have also been huge increases in the rates of drug abuse and
the incidents of teenage pregnancy. There is a clear link to the decline of
morality in the United States and the removal of prayer from