Creationist Wisdom #1,025: School Prayer Is Legal

Today’s letter-to-the-editor appears in the Concord Monitor of Concord, the state capital of New Hampshire. It’s titled Prayer, Darwin and schools’ mistakes. They don’t seem to have a comments feature.

Because the writer isn’t a politician, preacher, or other public figure, we won’t embarrass or promote him by using his full name. His first name is Harvey. Excerpts from his letter will be enhanced with our Curmudgeonly commentary, some bold font for emphasis, and occasional Curmudgeonly interjections that look [like this]. Here we go!

In the Jan. 12 edition of the Monitor there was a story at the top of the front page about the high level of anxiety teachers were feeling in the classroom because of outrageous destructive behavior by some of the students.

We can’t find the article Harvey is talking about, but it doesn’t matter. He says:

Decades ago the state of New York designed a prayer to be used in all the public schools in that state. The U.S. Supreme Court correctly ruled the prayer unconstitutional. It was an establishment of religion and violated the First Amendment.

We’re not sure what case Harvey is referring to, but it’s probably Engel v. Vitale. Harvey tells us:

But educators went further. [Oh no!] They decided that prayer became illegal in public schools. [Gasp!] Wrong.

Aha! Harvey says prayer in public schools isn’t illegal. He explains:

They violated the “free exercise” clause. [Huh?] Teachers should have been allowed voluntarily to lead students in prayer each morning. [That’s “free exercise” of religion?] It had been done nearly everywhere for generations but following that misinterpreted ruling some schools gradually became “blackboard jungles.”

BWAHAHAHAHAHA! Harvey is a bit confused. The right to free exercise of religion refers to what you choose to do on your own time and on your own dime — not when you’re required to go to school and you’re sitting in a government-run classroom and the teacher leading the prayer is a state employee. Let’s read on:

In addition, there has been the pernicious teaching in the public schools of Charles Darwin’s unproven theory of evolution.

Oh no — that’s horrible! Hey — look how Harvey ends his letter:

If children are taught that they are merely educated animals, should we be surprised if they often behave like animals?

Harvey’s got a good point there. Back in the days when we did have prayer in the schools, children behaved like angels — without exception. Those were the good ol’ days!

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12 responses to “Creationist Wisdom #1,025: School Prayer Is Legal

  1. This guy is right in a somewhat obtuse way. Students are free to pray all they want, as long as they do not disrupt classroom activities.

    What is not allowed is “teacher-led” prayers, nor any “official-led” prayers. Nor can an official ask a student to offer up a prayer as that is an official sanctioned prayer.

    Anyone claiming that prayer is not allowed in school has never been in an algebra classroom on test day.

  2. Laurette McGovern

    Oftentimes I wished people would act like animals and not like human beings (of course I do realize humans are, indeed, animals, but I was just responding in the spirit of the quote)

  3. What behavior is typical of animals?
    My first guess is: eating.
    Of course, we are animals. The question is what is the cause of our similarities to other animals, in particular to chimps and other apes, where the similarities are most pronounced. Are the similarities due to our design? Or are they due to our generation, being related by ancestry?
    If it is design, does that mean we should follow the goal of the design?
    I know that if is due to ancestry – well, I know that that doesn’t mean anything about what I should do. If my great uncle was a horse thief, I don’t feel any desire to steal horses.

  4. Michael Fugate

    Another opinion that should be revisited as groups push for more religion in public schools

    The writer has a problem understanding cause and effect. No evidence that prayer led by teachers or administrators has any effect on student behavior.

  5. This dimwit has no Idea how animals act…ONLY humans would harm another because he called his imaginary friend the wrong name!!!

  6. I wonder what level of “outrageous destructive behaviors” the students are reaching. The biblical level shown in numerous chapters of the Ancient Testament (mostly by God) or a less destructive one?

  7. Michael Fugate

    I think the idea is that the more religion is pushed the less students will learn. If religious instruction is forced on students, then it will allow for less instruction in other areas. Conservatives in Spain are working on an opt out policy for parents to prevent children from learning. It is all about control.

    As this recent poll shows – less religion is correlated with a better factual understanding.

  8. Props for the (humanist) Church of Satan – in municipalities that still have school-led prayer, under the guise that they aren’t religious, they’re traditional, they’re regularly petitioning to have prayers to their “god,” Baphomet, introduced since, well, it’s traditional. This has caused a fair few such schools to no longer have school-led prayer.

  9. I looked up Baphomet in Wikipedia and the name might be a derivative of Mohammed.

  10. Dave Luckett

    Well, there’s always Baal’zebub, which does actually mean “The Lord of (the) Flies”. One sees his propitiatory worship everywhere in my country, consisting of the ritual gesture to turn aside his minions. Nice to see the old ways have not been forgotten.

  11. Formerly Holding The Line In Florida

    What a joke. As if this individual really knows what is happening. I retired from evil public schools and took what I thought would be an easy couple of years of Religious Catholic School. Prayer and mass makes for the best behavior in students. Bull Feces! These kids are some of the worst behaved/non performing kids I ever stood in front of. Private/Religious schools pay big bucks for those A’s. So don’t give a real evaluation! Just give Hail Mary Full of Grace A’s and all is right with the world.

  12. Curmudgeon 1, Harvey 0