Can I Still Pray for a Good Grade?

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Can I Still Pray for a Good Grade?

Up until 1962, prayers and religious recitations were common in America's classrooms. In the Engel v. Vitale court case, however, The Supreme Court decided that New York State- composed school prayer; "Almighty God, we acknowledge our dependence on Thee, and we beg thy blessings upon us, our parents, our teachers, and our country" was unconstitutional. The following year, the courts decided that Biblical readings during public school class time were unconstitutional as well. Since the sixties, the courts have become stricter on the separation of church and state. Courthouses can not display The Ten Commandments, school prayer and school- sponsored religious groups are monitored more closely, and even things such as American currency being unconstitutional is being questioned. Polls dating back to the 1962 decision show that the number of Americans who disagree with the court's decision have been almost double than those who agree. So why then does the court still ban these displays of religion? Does America not boast "the majority rules" in many aspects of government? The establishment clause is important to all Americans because it protects all citizens to believe (or not believe) in whatever religion they choose. Although sometimes unpopular, separations of church and state, such as the banning of mandatory school prayer, are necessary to protect American minorities.

The Supreme Court is correct in upholding the Constitution's establishment and free exercise clauses. The establishment clause prevents the government from choosing a national religion. The Supreme Court has often ruled that favoring any religion can constitute choosing that particular religion over another. The tolerance of religious choices is different all over the U.S. In my hometown, nativity scenes, moments of silence during school, and church sponsored school events are overlooked and seen as a normal occurrence. Every UT football game opens up with a Christian prayer, often using the Lord's Prayer, given by an area clergyman. How is it that the Supreme Court ruled that prayer at high school football games was unconstitutional by the court case of Santa Fe Independent School District v. Jane Doe, and yet loudspeaker prayers in East Tennessee high school and college games are common? High school and college are distinct environments. High school students are minors and their attendance to school is legally mandatory. A public school institution that is praying is violating the Establishment Clause, forcing students to participate in something in which they have no choice.

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