The controversies are raging today as to whether prayer should be allowed, or even mandated, in public schools. People of religious control over secular institutions and public schools argue that it is well within the first amendment to allow prayer in public schools, while opponents argue that this changes the rights of others who do not wish to partake in such sectarian activities. Who is right, and should it really be left up to politicians to decide?
This issue is hard to bear and complex for those who believe religious freedom is precious. These people make many competing demands to balance church and state and the right to exercise religion. On the side of the religious right, Newt Gingrich, current Speaker of the House of Representatives stated: “The Supreme Court’s decision of 1963 was bad law…if the court doesn’t want to reverse itself, then we have an absolute obligation to pass a constitutional amendment to instruct the court on its error.” The decision-makers must get in the mind of the religious and the non-religious. Decision-makers look toward a vision of America that is open and welcoming to everyone, even religious minorities.
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This subject is important and should be clear to everyone. School districts should set clear policies about religion in public schools that satisfy the First Amendment. Parents should become involved in the process of creating those policies with teachers and the whole staff involved in the education of all the students. An understanding of the mistakes underlies many of the problems that typically arise in this area.
These prayer issues are still important and those are involved should not underestimate those extremely complex issues. They also should not shy away from their concerns. Yet, all of us should know that our common goal is going to be different but to ensure that our religious liberty is intact and preserved. Few Americans would disagree that our individual religious freedom is precious and important.
Freedom is what this all comes down to, and whether you call it freedom of religion or freedom from religion, you are talking about the same thing. The Anti- Defamation League had been fighting for the rights of religious minorities to practice prayer and other religions freely and without government interference. The prayer practise of individuals at school is forbidden but some religious clubs are active today that qualifies with the 1st Amendment.
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