Public Prayer Should Not Be Allowed In School
Debate Rounds (5)
For one, public prayer does not necessarily constitute balanced behavior within a group of individuals of diverse religious beliefs. Taking a look at religious diversity in schools, we can pull away two very different religious beliefs and examine those closer. In any given school, we can justly assume that there will be, in most cases, at least one individual believing in Christianity and one individual believing in Islam. If we are going to allow prayer in school, then we need to accept all prayer, correct? While Christianity may be as simple as a clasp of the hands and a re-read of Bible verses, Islamic beliefs tend to follow something very different.
Islamic prayer refers to a practice called the Salat, which is a practice of ritualistic prayer referencing the Five Pillars of Islam. Salat is to be preformed five times a day and it is to be performed by reciting something called Rakat, "which consists of the prescribed movements and words followed by Muslims while offering prayers to Allah ." Each prayer from Salat is five-to-ten minutes long which, by doing it five times a day, would be a minimum of twenty-five minutes. Not to mention, Rakat follows a very distinct form of prayer, utilizing the legs and arms for their daily prayer.
With this being said, are we to allow this religion to take a minimum of twenty-five minutes out of a class time to perform their prayer? Are we going to allow a clean environment for these individuals to commit to their prayer, as well as a quiet place of belief for them to say their prayer? Let us also remember that this is one religion, but there are many other religions out there that have different prayers and different beliefs. If my opponent suggests that public prayer be allowed, then we must allow all religions with a large diversity in religious scripture and prayer, both of which have different duration and circumstances for their practices, which could very well be a problem for an educational facility already having a time restraint on school-hours.
Let us move away from that, though. Let us look at the educational system and what it does for us and our countries. We are expected to learn in a facility like this, we are expected to show up and soak in information that will better our future. I forward this question to my opponent; how can we effectively teach children and teenagers alike about certain subjects when we are taking breaks for prayer? How are we expected to use the full amount of our educational system's time whilst we are busy setting up the next religious prayer exercise? There is simply not enough time in the school day to assist everyone in every prayer there could potentially be in any given school.
We need to also remind ourselves that there are religious-based schools out there that allow this behavior (prayer, religious beliefs, etc). I assume that my opponent means public school for this debate, so I reference these religious schools as a healthy alternative to the frequent praying individual; there is a school that is designed to balance religious beliefs and education, public education is simply not molded in that same sense. That is why they are different locations entirely, they were made for separate purposes.
My point remains that we are treading dangerous ground with this one. It would be more beneficial to keep prayer out of public schools, to allow the prayer-friendly individuals to attend churches and other religious educational facilities instead. It would also be beneficial to keep prayer out of public schools to continue with education, not take breaks for every student who needs to practice their religious prayers. If I am to shorten my point to the bare minimum as an attempt to make an understanding conclusion for all to comprehend, I will share the following.
With the diversity between religions being sporadic and moderately large, we can assume that this diversity will cause a fluctuation in the duration, circumstances, environment, and monetary aspects of this practice within a public school. Such diversity and fluctuation can cost public schools time, money, and resources - the things needed to keep the educational facility up-to-date and running smoothly.
Public prayer should not be allowed in public schools for those reasons.
Now you brought up the idea of Islam and Christianity and how they have many different forms of prayer and the rituals that each practice are completely different. Now although I do agree this, lets understand that most often in public schools students are given a study hall, or as we call it academy. There stands the opportunities for students to take time and pray if they so choose too.
Now I feel that many are confused on this debate. My argument is that students should be allowed to pray in school if they so choose. I do not believe that it should be mandatory because as many know, each person believes in their own religion. But to tell a student that they are not allowed to pray before their meal, or to pray when they are having study hall, is absolutely outrageous. It is then violating our freedom of speech and our freedom of religion.
Now I would like to rebuttal my opponents arguments. His first argument was that of the point of our educational system. " Let us look at the educational system and what it does for us and our countries. We are expected to learn in a facility like this, we are expected to show up and soak in information that will better our future." Now I do agree that the point of our educational system is for us to learn and to be able to succeed in life after high school, but do you realize what they are teaching us in schools. They teach about religions, and about science. So does that mean if a student doesn't agree with evolution then they should just be able to walk out of the classroom? They would not be allowed in public schools. Also my opponent brought up the idea of Christian schools, but what if the student can't afford to go to a private Christian school. Does that mean that because of their economic struggles then they should be stopped from being able to pray in school, even though if they went to a christian school then they would be able to pray. That is just outrageous.
That is why public prayer should be allowed in schools.
My opponent has brought up that many students are given a study hall, or an academy, which is essentially "free-time" to study, work on homework, or do what you would like with the time allotted. However, this is simply not the case for all students, as many like to get a jump start on their education and replace their free periods with educational periods - not to mention, many students are in extra-curricular classes, which would mean that the study halls referenced here would be replaced with extra-curricular courses. (Ex. Band, Choir, etc) My point is, are we able to reject certain students from prayer if they don't have free time? Is it really appropriate to allow prayer in school when some students are not legitimately applicable for it and some are? Seems a bit like favoritism to me and, I would be willing to bet, many people would switch their educational periods around just so they would be able to join their friends in prayer. Thus causing many difficulties with schedules and times for classes in any individual student.
To bring the study hall point up again, I would like to note (and this continues off of my Salat response), that you would have to interrupt the entire study hall classroom to do prayer, prayer chants, and sometimes even prayer activities (such as Rakah, as I stated earlier). This is a distraction to the people trying to work on their studies; my opponent may bring up an argument showing that people who need to pray during study hall can exit to another room, but should we really allow individuals to roam the halls (during class, might I add) in search of a quiet place to do prayer? The average school day is 6.7 hours, if someone truly wants to pray, then can do it before school or after school.
My opponent's next point: "Now I do agree that the point of our educational system is for us to learn and to be able to succeed in life after high school, but do you realize what they are teaching us in schools. They teach about religions, and about science. So does that mean if a student doesn't agree with evolution then they should just be able to walk out of the classroom" - this is simply not true. Teachers are most certainly NOT able to teach any certain religion or secularism in school, as that truly is not what public education is about. Teachers can educate their students on the different types of religions, but they cannot teach religion itself. The difference being the former is educational and the latter is specific religious teachings (ex. Bible study).
My opponent's final point is about individuals not being able to afford private Christian schools. While my opponent is right that the cost of private Christian schools are a bit pricey, my opponent fails to recognize that there are different forms of religious schools out there. "Religious schools tend to be cheaper because of their additional sources of funding and their sometimes larger class sizes. For example, Catholic schools are far less expensive than most independent private schools. The average Catholic school costs about $3,700 a year for elementary and $8,200 for high school, according to the National Catholic Educational Association. "
I would like to put more points up here in regards to why public prayer should not be allowed in schools, as my rebuttal process has been completed. I'll put them as simple points so they do not overtake from my initial rebuttal, as they are the most important points.
1. "Public schools exist to educate, not to proselytize. Children in public schools are a captive audience. Making prayer an official part of the school day is coercive and invasive. What 5, 8, or 10-year-old could view prayers recited as part of class routine as "voluntary"? Religion is private, and schools are public, so it is appropriate that the two should not mix. To introduce religion in our public schools builds walls between children who may not have been aware of religious differences before. "
2. Jesus was against public prayer. "Thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men...But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret." - Matt. 6:5-6"
First I would like to touch on my own arguments, and then I would like to refute my opponents arguments. My first argument was that of having the first amendment that gives us the freedom of speech and freedom of religion. Now although you can over exercise these rights, I think it is important for us all to still realize that we do have those rights. Now my opponent has not continued to argue against this point, as we both agree that we have these rights but we must not over exercise them.
Now my opponents rebuttal to this argument was that of wasting time class, and although most students are offered a study hall not all students actually have study hall free they are either studying or have elective classes during their study hall. Now I do agree that it could potentially be a hassle. But you must accumulate to the students, based on their religious beliefs. For example Muslims where the hijaab (the head garment), and at our school we are not allowed to wear any headware at all, but because it is her religious beliefs they cannot stop her. So then it shall be the same way with prayer. Because many believe they should pray daily, and multiple times daily.
Now I want to go through and hit on my opponents points. His first point was that of "The Point of our Educational System." He focused that the point of the educational system is to learn and be able to further our lives in a positive way. But I believe that if you are stopping kids from praying in schools you are in a way taking away from their learning, because by allowing them to pray in school you give the opportunity of diversity, and the ability for a students to be the person they are and not conform to the world in fear of judgement.
His second point was that of "Religious Schools being Offered." Now I brought up the point of money and he agreed that they are a little more pricey but it depends where you live, and where you wanna go. But what about those students who don't have a religious school or Christian school around them to attend, then are you just going to tell them sucks for you?
And his last point was "The Diversity of Religions". I do agree that there is a high diversity of religions but I want to hit back on the example of the Muslim girl, if we allow her to wear her head dress, and that is religious thaen we should allow students to be able to pray at school.
My opponent makes the parallel between religious head-wear and religious prayer, but there are not many similarities between the two. Head-wear is non-disruptive, whereas religious prayer can be tedious, elongated, and rather disruptive for the people that are either in the class with the religious individual praying, or even the classes beside. I would like to show how disruptive a prayer can be by posting a video of someone doing their afternoon Salat Al-Asr. Please take not of how loud, how long, and how distracting this can be in a school educational facility. () - Head-wear does not have this type of distraction.
Private Religious Schools - Subsidized Student Aid and Funding
My opponent's second point is showing that some people may not have access to the school's they would necessarily want, more referencing the fact that some people simply cannot afford a religious school. I do not think my opponent understands that some schools (yes, even private), have student aid for low-income families. Some private schools, I'd say a good majority, can either allow subsidized funding for low-income families or full-funding, based on if the city is funding the school in question. Finding a school like that may take longer than finding a public school, but it is doable and most certainly a better way to go for religiously-inclined individuals. Let's also note that there is another alternative that's cheap and safe - homeschooling, which allows the individual to stay at home, do their work online. This would allow them education and religious freedom.
Taking away prayer, takes away learning?
Next, my opponent mentions that, and I'm quoting, "...that if you are stopping kids from praying in schools you are in a way taking away from their learning, because by allowing them to pray in school you give the opportunity of diversity, and the ability for a students to be the person they are and not conform to the world in fear of judgement."
If we stop kids from praying in school it would be because they are disrupting education. If the kids do it at lunch, when they're not disrupting anyone, then it's truly a different story, but if they are taking time out of the educator's hours, then it's disruptive and should not be done. If anything, we're not taking away the religious individual's ability to learn, we're taking away everyone else's. Even so, if that child is not learning because he's not able to pray, that is that person's fault and that person's fault only. My opponent also touches on diversity, which is a really good point that I would like to touch on as well.
There is a very, very large difference between wanting to be diverse from everyone else and wanting to have your religion thrust into school. You can be diverse without having to propagate your religion in such away that it takes away from other peoples' diversity. Giving a religious person the ability to skip class, even Study Hall, just so that they are able to pray is not only disruptive, but a slap-in-the-face to other religions. Other kids would see this, wondering why he gets out of class, "Wow, if I become Islam, I get to skip parts of school". You can see where I am going with this and I hope that you understand the detriment this could cause. Favoritism, bullying, fake religious individuals, et cetera. It's certainly dangerous ground you're treading.
Religion, drugs, and alcoholic beliefs.
If you're going to accept all religions, prayer, head-wear - then we might as well accept everything dangerous too... right?
Among Hinduism, it's not completely uncommon that the use of cannabis. "Cannabis is connected with the god Shiva who is said to have rested in the shade of the Cannabis plant on a particularly hot day. In gratitude Shiva gave the plant to mankind. Often the drink Bhang is drunk in Shiva's honor, it is a tea typically cooked with milk, spices, cannabis leaves and flowers. The leaves of the Kratom tree have also been used traditionally as an ingredient in a tea with mild stimulant and opioid properties."
Among Rastafarianism, "Many Rastafarians believe cannabis, which they call "ganja", "the herb," or "Kaya" is a sacred gift of Jah and may be used for spiritual purposes to commune with God but should not be used profanely."
Among Zen Buddhism, "...known for stressing the precepts. In Japan, however, where Zen flourished historically, there are a number of examples of misconduct on the part of monks and laypeople alike. This often involved the use of alcohol, as sake drinking has and continues to be a well known aspect of Japanese culture." - let us allow kids to misinterpret this religion and find ways to intoxicate themselves. They are teenagers and you know they will do this.
Among Judaism, "Wine plays a prominent role in many Jewish rituals, most notably the kiddush. Hasidic Jews often engage in a free ceremony called "Tisch" in which drinks such as Vodka are drunk in a group. Drinking is accompanied by singing and the study of the Torah."
Among Christianity, "In the Eucharist wine represents (or among Christians who believe in some form of Real Presence, like the Catholic and Orthodox churches, actually is) the blood of Christ."
Is it worth it, though?
Is it worth all this hassle? To maintain religious freedom while subsequently having to put borders around the same religious freedom you are trying to make for schools? If we have the alternatives: homeschooling, private religious schools, churches, religious prayers at home or before school - is it worth it that we begin to bleed such religion into schools without thinking of the consequences. ...and are you going to be subjective about which religions you choose to bring in? What about Pastafarianism, that requires you to wear a pasta strainer on your head every Friday. What about Satanism, with it's rituals akin to selling your soul to the devil. Are you going to nit-pick? If you choose one, you must choose all.
This is why religion must stay out of schools. In the simplest of forms for this argument, there are 180 days (on average) in a school year, with each day measuring about 6 hours (on average) for every day in an educational facility. Is it really that big of a deal that we allow people to pray, attend rituals, skip classes, and do dangerous prayers outside of the actually school time? You come to school to be educated, not to skip over things because of your religious beliefs. You're causing too much trouble where trouble doesn't have to be due.
godgirl04 forfeited this round.
First I would like to offer an apology to my opponent for last round, and ask that it would not count against me when it comes time to vote.
Now I would like to challenge my opponents case and then build my own.
1)""Public schools exist to educate, not to proselytize. Children in public schools are a captive audience. Making prayer an official part of the school day is coercive and invasive. What 5, 8, or 10-year-old could view prayers recited as part of class routine as "voluntary"? Religion is private, and schools are public, so it is appropriate that the two should not mix. To introduce religion in our public schools builds walls between children who may not have been aware of religious differences before. ""
Now I think there has been a major misunderstanding, I am not saying we should put aside time for students to pray, I am just saying that we shouldn't stop students from being allowed to pray. So my opponents argument about how "making prayer an official part of the school day is coercive and invasive" doesn't even matter because I am not saying that we put out a special time of day for it, I am just saying students should be given the opportunity to pray if they so choose.
2. "Jesus was against public prayer. "Thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men...But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret." - Matt. 6:5-6""
Now here you are doing, what you challenged me on earlier in this debate, that we are not just focusing on one religion or one God. So therefore you saying that one God "was against public prayer" what if the others are absolutely for it? We can not stop students from participating in religious rituals, if it does not involve illegal actions. Now the reason I included illegal actions is because my opponent brought up the point that of among many religions alcohol is often used during the religious ceremony. But we most importantly must follow the legal laws that we have been given.
3. "For one, public prayer does not necessarily constitute balanced behavior within a group of individuals of diverse religious beliefs." I do agree that many religious ceremonies and prayers are very diverse, but I would like to explain again that I am not saying that we must force them to participate in this prayer, but that we should give them the opportunity. Now you focused some on that certain religions must have a certain set up for their religious ceremonies, and there it would have to be on the discretion of the school district, and the principal of that school.
4. "Let us look at the educational system and what it does for us and our countries. We are expected to learn in a facility like this, we are expected to show up and soak in information that will better our future." Now here I must forward the question to my opponent, we are going to school to learn, and aren't we learning by participating in our religious beliefs? Also he asked "How can we effectively teach children and teenagers alike about certain subjects when we are busy taking breaks for prayers?" Now I have stated earlier in this argument, and I would like to restate it again, there will be no breaks for prayer, the student must do this in their own time (recess, lunch, before school).
5. "We need to also remind ourselves that there are religious-based schools out there that allow this behavior (prayer, religious beliefs, etc)." Now I have hit on the fact that in this debate we are talking about public schools. And comparatively public schools are cheaper then religious schools. And what about those students that their isn't a religious school in their surrounding area, so they don't have a chance to attend it? My opponent also brought up home schooling. But if my opponent took time to do research on home schooling, a parent or guardian MUST go through certification, to legally have their student home schooled. And what if a parent isn't able to stay at home with their 5 and 6 year old student, because they both have to have income to keep there house going?
Now that I have attacked my opponents arguments I would like to build my own.
1) HHaving the first amendment that gives us the freedom of speech and freedom of religion. Now my opponent and I have kind of gone head to head on this one. Because as he stated just because we have gun rights doesn't mean we can just go and shoot up a school. And yes I do agree with this. But we must give the opportunity for students to exercise those rights, without interfering with laws, or the rights of others. It is important to accept diversity in our school we don't want students to conform, but to be unique in each individual person.
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