The Instigator
fireant1995
Con (against)
Losing
22 Points
The Contender
Korashk
Pro (for)
Winning
43 Points

Prayer in school is justified and ought to be legal.

Do you like this debate?NoYes+5
Add this debate to Google Add this debate to Delicious Add this debate to FaceBook Add this debate to Digg  
Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 14 votes the winner is...
Korashk
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 2/22/2010 Category: Religion
Updated: 7 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 8,129 times Debate No: 11257
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (13)
Votes (14)

 

fireant1995

Con

I would like to thank my opponent in advance for accepting my challenge. To equalize the number of speeches each side gets the debate will officially start in round 2. Pro will go first. The debate will be in no formal format. Each side will begin with a constructive and then move on to rebuttals for the remainder of the rounds. Thanks again.
Korashk

Pro

I thank my opponent for making this debate and hope that it will be a good one, so on to my arguments. Since no country was specified in the opening round I will assume that we are arguing within the confines of the United States of America's legal system.

Contention 1
The first amendment to the US constitution guarantees all people the right to freely practice their religion [1].

This amendment to the constitution guarantees that everyone in America is free to exercise their religion in any way that does not directly infringe upon the rights of another person. Prayer is a non-invasive form of religious expression, therefore as long as praying does not interrupt an official school function such as regular classes or gatherings there is no legal basis for it not being allowed.

Contention 2
Praying in school is already legal.

Prayer in school is legal. Anyone in school can pray as long as they are not a disruption. The only other restrictions placed on praying in school is that teachers are not allowed to promote or demote any religion because as employees of the state doing so would violate the first amendment.

With that I conclude my opening argument and wish my opponent luck as I await his arguments and rebuttals.

[1] http://www.archives.gov...
Debate Round No. 1
fireant1995

Con

Thank you for accepting, I will now move on to my arguments.

Contention 1- Prayer in school is in violation of the first amendments establishment clause. The establishment clause states that government may not favor one religion over another or religion over no religion. By instituting prayer in school the government is favoring religion over no religion at all which blatantly violates the establishment clause.

Contention 2- Prayer in school violates the wall between church and state. Religion is supposed to be separated from government matters, by instituting prayer in school religion is being brought into a government institution which is illegal.

Contention 3- Prayer in school violates a persons right to practice whatever religion they wish. In the United States all people have the right to practice whatever religion they wish or practice on religion at all. By putting prayer in schools, we are violating a persons inherent right to practice no religion at all. Now I will move on to my opponents case.

My opponent said in their first contention that the first amendment allows free practice of religion under the free exercise clause. Under the exercise clause though people also have the right to practice on religion at all, by instituting prayer in school we actually violate the first amendment.

In their second contention they said that prayer in school is already legal. This is not so. In the supreme court case Engel v. Vitale, the court ruled that prayer in school was a violation of the free exercise and establishment clauses and was not legal.

I have now presented my arguments and rebutted my opponents. Thank you.
Korashk

Pro

I thank my opponent for his timely response. I have had many debates recently where the instigator posted an opening round and never posted again.

~~~~~~~
Rebuttals
~~~~~~~

///Contention 1///
[Allowing prayer in school does not violate the establishment clause. The establishment clause states that the government of the United States of America may not make any laws that respects an established religion. If the government were in fact to make a law that prohibited individual prayer in schools they would in fact be violating the free exercise clause [R1, source 1]. It would do this by restricting an individual's religious right to pray. Not prohibiting something is not necessarily promoting said thing.]

///Contention 2///
[The government has not established a prayer to be said in schools. If religion were completely separate from government, as you say with the statement, "religion is being brought into a government institution which is illegal." then it would be illegal to allow a Christian to have a cross necklace inside of a government building, a catholic couldn't wear a crucifix, a Jew couldn't wear a yarmulke, and a Muslim woman couldn't wear a hijab; there are many other examples. If religion wasn't allowed in government institutions then it would be illegal for a government worker to read the bible during lunch in the break-room of the building. All of these things are currently legal.]

///Contention 3///
Allowing prayer in school does not violate the free exercise clause as my opponent claims. No one is forcing anyone to pray and no one, save government employees and while on government time, is being told not to pray.

~~~~~~
Defense
~~~~~~

Before I move on I would like to point out that my opponent and I are interpreting the debate resolution in different ways. I believe that he interprets the debate resolution like so:
"There should be state sponsored prayer in school." and has taken the con position to this issue.
I interpret it as:
"People should be allowed to pray in school." and I have taken the pro position of this issue.
It is here that I believe I am upholding my side by the _word_ of the resolution whereas my opponent has intended this debate to be about state sponsored prayer, an activity that I vehemently oppose. This is merely an observation that I wish my opponent to respond to.

///...by instituting prayer in school we actually violate the first amendment.///
[I am not advocating the institution of prayer, merely the allowance of it which is not unconstitutional as I will illustrate below.]

///In their second contention they said that prayer in school is already legal. This is not so. In the supreme court case Engel v. Vitale, the court ruled that prayer in school was a violation of the free exercise and establishment clauses and was not legal.///
Here are some examples that show that prayer _is allowed in school:_
"...the same First Amendment guarantees that students may engage in many forms of non-disruptive personal religious expression, including the wearing of religious clothing and jewelry. They can pray (individually or in student-led groups) on the school bus, at the flagpole, before lunch, in the corridors, in the classroom before and after lessons, at sports events, etc. They can talk freely about religion to other students outside of class. They can distribute religious literature. If there are any student-led clubs in the school, they have the right to organize student-led Bible prayer clubs." [2].

In his defense my opponent cites Engel V. Vitale, this court case does not outlaw prayer in school. It outlaws state sponsored prayer [3].
~

I believe that I have proven my case and await my opponent's response.

[2] http://www.religioustolerance.org...
[3] http://supreme.justia.com...
Debate Round No. 2
fireant1995

Con

First, my opponent made a valid point about the way I phrased the resolution. It does in fact allow to much room for different interpretations, I apologize as this is my first debate on this site. Both my opponents and my attacks and defenses are based on our different interpretations of the stated resolution. To clarify, my intent was forced prayer in school or a set time for prayer in schools and this is what my arguments are based on. I would like to continue the round based on this. If my opponent does not accept this then I will forfeit as judging will be impossible with 2 interpretations. Moving on, I will defend based on my interpretation.

Contention 1- by making a law that forces prayer or sets a preset time for prayer congress is making a law in respect to an established religion, thus violating this clause
Contention 2- same thing as first, under my interpretation a set prayer time does violate the wall of separation. Even with my opponents interp though, prayer directed by state officials does violate the wall. People wearing crosses does not as they are not affecting anyone else.
Contention 3- Setting aside a time for prayer does violate the free exercise clause as it imposes religion on the nonreligious.
Moving on to my opponents case.
Contention 1- My opponent said they are not advocating the institution of prayer. By going pro (again I apologize for poor phrasing in the res.) they are advocating prayer in school.
Contention 2- Again it is difficult for me to refute this do to my mistake in phrasing, if an agreement is reached I will refute this then. Please do not count this as dropped as at present I cannot rebut this.
Thank you
Korashk

Pro

Due to the confusion I accept my opponent's new interpretation of the resolution to be:
"To clarify, my intent [for the resolution] was forced prayer in school or a set time for prayer in schools [should be legal]."

Here is my new argument:

If forced prayer in schools or a set time for prayer in schools is outlawed then the rights of private schools, especially those funded and run by religious institutions, to have some form of organized prayer. Since the first amendment in regards to religion only applies to actions taken by the government it does not have the power to regulate private schools in regards to religion as they are by definition private organizations.

~~~~~~~
Rebuttals
~~~~~~~

///by making a law that forces prayer or sets a preset time for prayer congress is making a law in respect to an established religion, thus violating this clause///
If congress made a law that stated that prayer was required in school it would violate the establishment clause, the same can not be said of a private institution instituting a forced prayer.

///Setting aside a time for prayer does violate the free exercise clause as it imposes religion on the nonreligious.///
Imposing religion on the non-religious is not against the law if done by a private institution.

~~~~~~
Defense
~~~~~~

///My opponent said they are not advocating the institution of prayer. By going pro (again I apologize for poor phrasing in the res.) they are advocating prayer in school.///
This is incorrect, I am advocating that instituting prayer in school should not be illegal, not that I want prayer in school.

I await my opponent's response.
Debate Round No. 3
fireant1995

Con

I thank my opponent for being willing to resolve the confusion made by my mistake. Now to my arguments.
My opponent said that outlawing forced prayer violates the right of private institutions. I refute this by saying this- even private institutions have non-secular text books provided by the federal government. This is a form of federal funding which means that the federal government ought to have some degree of control over this schools activities. Also as I have shown even private schools are in a way still somewhat a government institution, so imposing religion on students, who may be there not by there choice but by their parents choice, is illegal and violates the first amendment. Thank you
Korashk

Pro

I thank my opponent for all of his very timely responses.

~~~~~~~
Rebuttals
~~~~~~~

///My opponent said that outlawing forced prayer violates the right of private institutions. I refute this by saying this- even private institutions have non-secular text books provided by the federal government.///

It is true that it is possible for private institutions to receive funding from the government including secular textbooks. A private institution is only eligible to receive this government aid if it passes something that is
called the Lemon Test [4].

This test has three criteria that a private institution must pass in order to receive this aid. These criteria are:
*The government's action must have a secular legislative purpose;
*The government's action must not have the primary effect of either advancing or inhibiting religion;
*The government's action must not result in an "excessive government entanglement" with religion.

In the Supreme Court case of Lemon v. Kurtzman [4] the court ruled that parochial, or religious and private, schools receiving government aid were no longer able to do so because the government was found to be in violation of the first amendment. Therefore your argument that the government funds these schools so it should have some say is invalid because the government does not fund these schools.
~

///...imposing religion on students, who may be there not by there choice but by their parents choice, is illegal and violates the first amendment.///

This is a misleading statement, the first amendment only applies to the government's actions, not a parent's right to send their child to private school. As a minor an individual does not get to exercise many rights given to adults. They are still allowed to choose any religion that they want but they do not not necessarily have the choice to not have other religions forced on them via their parents. This is unfortunate, but true.
~

[4] http://tinyurl.com...
Debate Round No. 4
fireant1995

Con

Even if it is not the legal right of a student to pick not to have religion forced on them, it is still a great injustice to do so. Forced prayer in school whether private or public is a violation of a person's natural right and is thus unjust. My opponent gave the example of the "Lemon test". The 3 prongs that he gives are correct, but he is incorrect in his application of the lemon test. The lemon test is to be applied in a situation where a law would be made regarding religion. It is not applied in a case of government funding for a religion, thus my opponents attack there is void.
Thank you
Korashk

Pro

I thank my opponent for his response and move on to my conclusion.

~~~~~~~
Rebuttals
~~~~~~~

///Even if it is not the legal right of a student to pick not to have religion forced on them, it is still a great injustice to do so. Forced prayer in school whether private or public is a violation of a person's natural right and is thus unjust.///
My opponent brings up natural rights here, I wish that he would not have done that because this is a debate about legal right. It is debatable whether or not natural rights even truly exist and that is a topic for another debate. As it stands a private school forcing students to pray, or pretend to pray, in order to remain in attendance there is not illegal because the first amendment only applies to governmental actions and that is all that matters for this debate.
~

///The lemon test is to be applied in a situation where a law would be made regarding religion. It is not applied in a case of government funding for a religion, thus my opponents attack there is void.///
This is incorrect, in the above citation [4] it states that the Lemon Test came about because of the Supreme Court case of Lemon v. Kurtzman. This case was about whether or not parochial schools receiving governmental aid was unconstitutional. The decision was that this aid was unconstitutional and was stopped. It also states in source [4] that the Lemon Test applies to any action taken by the government, not just lawmaking. Therefore since parochial schools do not receive funding from the government the government has no say, for the most part, in how that school operates.
~

I thank my opponent for this debate as it has been a while since I have had a real debate and conclude my arguments.
Debate Round No. 5
13 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by swingline 7 years ago
swingline
I do not support prayer in school, however a set aside time in which some students may choose to pray is also a time other students may wish to revel in the wonders of science
Posted by 1stLordofTheVenerability 7 years ago
1stLordofTheVenerability
Great arguments, Korashk. :D Agreed on pretty much all accounts.
Posted by Korashk 7 years ago
Korashk
Really UltraGuru27, way to votebomb.
Posted by I-am-a-panda 7 years ago
I-am-a-panda
RFD:

Conduct: neither side showed poor conduct or forfeited, ergo, tied

Spelling and Grammar: Pro gets a point here due to the poor phrasing of the resolution.

Most convincing argument: Pro quickly refuted most of Cons case in spit of the fact the debate topic was changed halfway through the debate. Con offered weak arguments in rounds 4 and 5 which Pro refuted citing the law in the process.

Reliable sources: Pro cited 3 sources, and con cited none. Ergo, points here to pro.
Posted by LastManStanding 7 years ago
LastManStanding
prayer is all we have anymore.
if its illegal,
then what do we do ? :-(
Posted by mongeese 7 years ago
mongeese
lol @ the concept that the First Amendment prohibits state-established prayers.
Posted by Korashk 7 years ago
Korashk
I'm a bit confused at where you want me to start. Do you want me to post my openings in round one and then you'll post yours in round 2 and then the rest will be defense and rebuttals? If you do not respond to this comment by 3:00 pm EST (~20 hours) tommorow I will assume that this is the case and post my arguments in round one.
Posted by Ore_Ele 7 years ago
Ore_Ele
Well, don't all jump up at once to take this, lol.
Posted by Xer 7 years ago
Xer
No mention of public or private school either.
Posted by Puck 7 years ago
Puck
Yeah. Easy win for Pro if he/she just argues individual prayer at own discretion.
14 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Vote Placed by stina2bina 7 years ago
stina2bina
fireant1995KorashkTied
Agreed with before the debate:-Vote Checkmark-0 points
Agreed with after the debate:-Vote Checkmark-0 points
Who had better conduct:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Made more convincing arguments:-Vote Checkmark-3 points
Used the most reliable sources:-Vote Checkmark-2 points
Total points awarded:05 
Vote Placed by mpthemaster 7 years ago
mpthemaster
fireant1995KorashkTied
Agreed with before the debate:-Vote Checkmark-0 points
Agreed with after the debate:-Vote Checkmark-0 points
Who had better conduct:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Made more convincing arguments:-Vote Checkmark-3 points
Used the most reliable sources:-Vote Checkmark-2 points
Total points awarded:05 
Vote Placed by Controlledemo 7 years ago
Controlledemo
fireant1995KorashkTied
Agreed with before the debate:-Vote Checkmark-0 points
Agreed with after the debate:-Vote Checkmark-0 points
Who had better conduct:-Vote Checkmark-1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:-Vote Checkmark-1 point
Made more convincing arguments:-Vote Checkmark-3 points
Used the most reliable sources:-Vote Checkmark-2 points
Total points awarded:07 
Vote Placed by kingofslash5 7 years ago
kingofslash5
fireant1995KorashkTied
Agreed with before the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Agreed with after the debate:-Vote Checkmark-0 points
Who had better conduct:Vote Checkmark--1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Made more convincing arguments:-Vote Checkmark-3 points
Used the most reliable sources:--Vote Checkmark2 points
Total points awarded:13 
Vote Placed by Svilgarde 7 years ago
Svilgarde
fireant1995KorashkTied
Agreed with before the debate:-Vote Checkmark-0 points
Agreed with after the debate:-Vote Checkmark-0 points
Who had better conduct:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Made more convincing arguments:--Vote Checkmark3 points
Used the most reliable sources:--Vote Checkmark2 points
Total points awarded:00 
Vote Placed by swingline 7 years ago
swingline
fireant1995KorashkTied
Agreed with before the debate:-Vote Checkmark-0 points
Agreed with after the debate:-Vote Checkmark-0 points
Who had better conduct:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:-Vote Checkmark-1 point
Made more convincing arguments:-Vote Checkmark-3 points
Used the most reliable sources:-Vote Checkmark-2 points
Total points awarded:06 
Vote Placed by Rockylightning 7 years ago
Rockylightning
fireant1995KorashkTied
Agreed with before the debate:-Vote Checkmark-0 points
Agreed with after the debate:-Vote Checkmark-0 points
Who had better conduct:Vote Checkmark--1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:Vote Checkmark--1 point
Made more convincing arguments:Vote Checkmark--3 points
Used the most reliable sources:Vote Checkmark--2 points
Total points awarded:70 
Vote Placed by stephenm 7 years ago
stephenm
fireant1995KorashkTied
Agreed with before the debate:Vote Checkmark--0 points
Agreed with after the debate:Vote Checkmark--0 points
Who had better conduct:Vote Checkmark--1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:Vote Checkmark--1 point
Made more convincing arguments:Vote Checkmark--3 points
Used the most reliable sources:Vote Checkmark--2 points
Total points awarded:70 
Vote Placed by UltraGuru27 7 years ago
UltraGuru27
fireant1995KorashkTied
Agreed with before the debate:Vote Checkmark--0 points
Agreed with after the debate:Vote Checkmark--0 points
Who had better conduct:Vote Checkmark--1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:Vote Checkmark--1 point
Made more convincing arguments:Vote Checkmark--3 points
Used the most reliable sources:Vote Checkmark--2 points
Total points awarded:70 
Vote Placed by True2GaGa 7 years ago
True2GaGa
fireant1995KorashkTied
Agreed with before the debate:-Vote Checkmark-0 points
Agreed with after the debate:-Vote Checkmark-0 points
Who had better conduct:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Made more convincing arguments:-Vote Checkmark-3 points
Used the most reliable sources:-Vote Checkmark-2 points
Total points awarded:05