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The Contender
Con (against)

Is public prayer okay in schools?

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Debate Round Forfeited
BrettBoelkens has forfeited round #3.
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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 11/25/2017 Category: Society
Updated: 1 month ago Status: Debating Period
Viewed: 349 times Debate No: 105297
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (3)
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Public prayer should be allowed in schools.
I look forward to this debate. The first round is for acceptance. Please do not forfeit.


I accept the opposition's challenge and I hope for a good debate. For the purposes of a good debate and us not babbling about semantics, may you please define public prayer. Do you mean by teachers and school staff, by students, or by anyone in school. If you mean by teachers and administrators in public schooling in the United States, that is in violation of the establishment clause of the first amendment, since said act would be a government endorsement of religion. Please elaborate on your position and define your terms. Either way, I hope for a pleasant and productive debate.
Debate Round No. 1


I am referring to children in school.
Public prayer should be allowed in schools.
1) Religion is a basic human right. Kids should have a right to pray at school. In my opinion, they aren't doing anything wrong. They are upholding one of our Freedoms. The freedom of religion. In a recent Gallup poll, 61% of Americans support daily prayer in school. The Supreme Court placed a ban on school-sponsored prayers.
2) Students of the same faith, and even of different faiths, can band together in unity. Prayer brings people together. They share in worship.
3) Along with the values taught and upheld by the school system, prayer lays a foundation for those principles. Prayer also helps guide student to make the right choices. They make better choices throughout the entire school year.
4) Being exposed to other religions, tears down the stereotypes of people that follow a certain faith and the culture tied to it. Prayer in schools is a wonderful opportunity for students, teachers, principals, and other school officials to promote religious tolerance and acceptance.
5) Students can pray in school " in student-organized religious clubs, in the classroom, before taking a test, on the bus, at a game, etc.

There are things that should be banned from schools. Yet, prayer shouldn't be on the list. If prayer isn't allowed, I don't know where our nation is headed. School prayer would result in many societal benefits. The public school system is tragically disintegrating as evidenced by the rise in school shootings, increasing drug use, alcoholism, teen pregnancy, and HIV transmission. School prayer can help combat these issues, would instill a sense of morality and is desperately needed to protect our children.



Okay, now that I think we are clear on our definitions and claims, let's debate. The United States government should not allow government-sponsored prayer, for it violates the establishment clause of the first amendment. To avoid ambiguity, let me specify. Essentially, public school administrators and staff can not lead school prayer or sponsor it in any way. This not to ban school prayer in its entirety. Students are still allowed to pray however they want since they are not employees of the US government.

I will counter my opponents case in the order given and then propagate my own arguments afterward.

The Engel v. Vitale supreme court case only states that government-directed prayer violates the first amendment. Students can pray however they want, if at all. They don't need the government to tell them to do so. Students could have this supposed religious unity given by prayer without the government's discretion and approval.

What evidence is there that prayer helps people make moral choices? In the contrary, the opposite has been true since almost the beginning of every religion's inception. Every faith has had a trail of blood. Just take the three great monotheisms. Read Old Testament passages of the violence of Israel against other nations in the ancient Middle East. That might be why we no longer hear about the Amalekites. What of the Crusades, counter-reformation, inquisitions, and such? What of the supposedly great moral decisions made on September 11, 2001? Until the opposition presents evidence that religion actually makes people more moral, this point is mute. Piety does not equal virtue, and just by pointing towards religious charity doesn't prove moral superiority.

If we reinitiate school-sponsored prayer as we had back in the 19th century, a plethora of problems would rearise. Which religion will be sponsored? Will it be by majority vote? What will happen if another religion becomes the majority in the US, for example, Islam? It isn't as if we could have all religions being sponsored, for at that point religions would demand equal time, and wish for the schools to teach the controversy.
Debate Round No. 2


Prayer is an important part of America"s spiritual heritage. Throughout the history of America, there have been many important documents. Some of these documents include the Declaration of Independence, the Gettysburg Address, the national anthem, and the presidential oath. In school students say the pledge daily, which states, "One Nation Under God."

A prayer says that students just want to ask for a good day and guidance throughout the day. Important documents of our country refer to God. Another factor we must acknowledge is "In God We Trust" is engraved on all coins minted and bills pressed in the United States! There are two main parts of the American tradition and these are prayer and religion.

If society keeps prayer out of the public schools, they are basically teaching the students that traditions are not important. They are trying to get the message that what this country was founded upon does not matter. Does our society today want to raise young people to disrespect and ignore what their forefathers wanted? Religious freedom?

I would like to thank my opponent for this respectful and courteous debate. I had a great time debating with you. I fully respect your views, but my opinion has not wavered at all. Vote Pro!
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Debate Round No. 3
3 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
Posted by DrCereal 1 month ago
@Shad0wXx Not when you work for a public school and are in a position of authority to kids.
Posted by Shad0wXx 1 month ago
Are teachers and administrators not also protected by the right of Free Speech? I think they are, contrary to the Supreme Court decision.
Posted by en1gma 1 month ago
There's nothing wrong with praying in a public institution.
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