The Instigator
Con (against)
0 Points
The Contender
Pro (for)
5 Points

Separation of church and state - School Prayer

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 3/21/2014 Category: Religion
Updated: 2 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 979 times Debate No: 49600
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (6)
Votes (1)




Prayer in schools is most definitely illegal in terms of the constitution and bill of rights. Some argue that the US was founded on Christianity. This, however, has been counteracted with the argument that the founding fathers were deists, who believed "God" had no power over America. None the less, as stated by the eleventh article of the Treaty of Tripoli:

Art. 11. As the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion,"as it has in itself no character of enmity against the laws, religion, or tranquility, of Mussulmen [Muslims],"and as the said States never entered into any war or act of hostility against any Mahometan [Muslim] nation, it is declared by the parties that no pretext arising from religious opinions shall ever produce an interruption of the harmony existing between the two countries.

In terms of law, however, the national government is only able to step into state affairs if the state is performing illegal or detrimental conduct. Thus said, states dictate the legality of religion in school.

An ex-Christian myself, I was an avid member of FCA, FCA camps, a Baptist, and a firm idealist. An atheist now, I still participate in FCA, I still go to church, but only on the accord that I can learn idealistic lifestyles without the inclusion of "Christ". I stand firm by belief that it is not moral to pray during morning announcements, nor have an official morning prayer before school begins.

This in reason, is due to the fact that not all of America is Christian. Some are atheists, some are Buddhist. Recently, in Louisiana, a school told a Buddhist family that they should move to a district where majority is primarily the same belief system as them, and would try to convert the student against his will to cease the torment from his peers. Upon investigation, it was shown that the school officialized prayer in mornings, would hang a tapestry of Christ in the gym, and prayed at mealtimes.

Prayer in school is a prime factor, and a possible reason as to why religious persecutions in schools begins. In East Texas, where I went to school, atheists were a prime target of taunts and jeers. Bias was common, atheists and non-christians being persecuted and disciplined for assumptions of deeds they had never done.

Discontinuation of official school prayer would hinder the taunting, but would not mean prayer would be completely banned in schools. By law, a person is free to belief what they wish to, so by law a person is legally permitted to pray. As long as the mass is not forced or made to participate against their faith, then a person is free to pray to themselves under-breath.

Common argument in support of prayer is "they don't have to pray/bow their head". Well, think on this matter for a second first of all. Say you are the atheist, I am the Christian. Everyone around you is praying, you don't bow your head. How do you feel? Uncomfortable? This is how the atheist feels. They are afraid they would be called out for not participating, but do not bow their head because they do not want to be called a false christian, and further face persecution.

For these reasons, I believe morning prayer should be illegal.


So I am assuming that you are for separation of church and statae and against prayers in school, so I will argue for prayer in school.

To keep this round short and sweet,

1. You said that prayer in school is most definitely illegal in terms of the constitution and bill of rights.
Simply put, the 1st amendment, part of the bill of rights, gives everyone the freedom to practice their own religion and prohibits the government from establishing any relgious intstitutions under their wing. This being said, prayer in school is by no means illegal in terms of the bill of rights or constitution.

2. You proved that America was not based on Christian faith.
This is true, but 77% of Americans identify themselves as Christian ( with the 2nd highest religious identity ironically being No religious identity. You seem to favor the constitution and America's laws and democracy, no? Well, America is built with democracy, where majority rules, meaning that Christians should rule in the religious decisions. However, there is the freedom of religion that is instilled in the 1st amendment.

Prayer in school is not mandatory, unless perhaps the school is a private, Christian school. There is a moment of silence where mandatory prayer once was, a moment to let those of religion pray to whatever they believe in. Should we ban Muslim prayers in school because they are a minority and "Prayer in school is most definitely illegal," though the bill of rights says nothing against it?
Debate Round No. 1


You say Christians should rule in terms of religious decisions for the nation, which in terms leads to bias regarding the outcome. By separation of church and state, religion plays no part in the nation's decisions, and as a result, there is a lack of bias towards all parties, regardless of majority faith.

Regardless of the majority faith of the states, it is unethical and unfair towards those of minority faiths, who are to "follow the leader", if you will. By removing a moment of prayer, replacing it with it's predecessor, we leave the students to worship their god, entity, or reflect on their philosophy in accordance to their beliefs. Replacing a moment of prayer with a moment of silence in public schools will remove any sort of bias towards those without faith in a god, and reduce religious turmoil among students by a small amount.

To ban a faith, we become our enemy, which is hatred and loathe. To force a faith is to show vanity. Should we continue to pray over loudspeakers during morning announcements, we not only develop problems between persons of faiths, but also discriminate against those of opposing beliefs. To limit prayer to individual persons, we let a person retain privacy of faith, and reduce turmoil among students. We limit the chance of rivalry of atheist and christian student, and give an atheist the opportunity, should they see fit, to dwell on other belief systems as they so wish, rather than to make them take part in something they do not support. Aye?


I am confused. Do you attend a public school where prayers are said over the announcements daily?

Schools removed prayer and replaced it with the moment of silence in order to accommodate people with non-religious identifications or religious identifications other than Christians.

However, I noticed that you didn't back up that prayer was illegal when I stated why it isn't. I said that Christians would rule religiously, but I am aware that they cannot because of the prohibition of laws and whatnot made toward/for a specific religion.

You propose that limiting prayer will limit some religious rivalry, which in essence is true. However, how can we justify limiting religious practices because some people don't agree with it? If we limit something so small as prayer in public, why would we not limit reglious marriages as well?
Debate Round No. 2


I do attend a school such as that, yes. A lot of schools in the "Bible Belt" are notorious for saying prayer over the announcements every day. Here, if you do not bow your head and partake in prayer, you get in trouble with the teachers, and are made a target for peer pressure, people attempting to convert you, and sometimes they will try to get you to move away. It's happened quite a few times here in this region, and nothing can be done about it other than...well, leaving.

Marriage in a sense isn't religiously-based, as we have seen from atheistic marriages. I noticed where you reference me saying prayer is illegal. Looking over it, it was a minor typing error, and was made to read that it is legal.


Well if it's legal then why would you start the debate under the notion that it shouldn't occur. I'm sorry, this is a really short argumented debate
Debate Round No. 3


The debate isn't to remove prayer from schools, but to disallow prayer to be announced over the intercoms.


You were debating that all prayer should be limited within schools. Now that you've changed it, I don't feel we can conduct a proper debate.
Debate Round No. 4


Adrilidexus forfeited this round.


The debate is concluded.
Debate Round No. 5
6 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 6 records.
Posted by Adrilidexus 2 years ago
I'll come out and say that I probably should have gathered my information prior to the debate, as well as found supporting evidence, as well as worded the debate differently. Nonetheless, I appreciate your taking up the offer, Jacob, and it's taught me I have a ways to go before I'm fully prepped. Thank you.
Posted by Sagey 2 years ago
I think Con should have used a different Debate Title and Attack.

"Separation of Church and State - School Prayer Should Not Be Broadcast Over Intercoms."

Maybe Con could start afresh with such a Debate.
Posted by MysticMansion 2 years ago
The concept of the separation of Church and State is not a political position but was originally drafted as a means of defence from political persecution where the state believed itself capable of deciding what their citizens had a right to believe. They also decided they had a right to determine what a person may hold in their conscience to be true. The idea was to separate the government from interfering with the rights of the church, who are the only group on earth with a commission to work on God's behalf. Governments do not have any right to meddle in religious matters, or to force anyone to go against their properly formed conscience.

The modern world ignorant beyond belief, has turned all arguments around to justify their immoral positions on a myriad of issues. They state basically that to ensure religious separation they must always chose to support what religion would oppose. Since the vast majority of what religion promotes is moral order and behaviour they justify their adherence to immoral decisions. The fact that the government is involved in immoral choices does not change because what is moral or immoral is based on religious teaching concerning what has been revealed to mankind by God.

A man or a government cannot separate themselves from the moral responsibility and consequences of their choices. The argument that the government must legalize immorality to guarantee church and state separation is ludicrously idiotic. The end result is God's displeasure and eventual punishment of the nation at fault.
Posted by Adrilidexus 2 years ago
For separation of church and state. Also debating in terms of public school systems.
Posted by bax292 2 years ago
I am also confused... Are you against separation of church and state or for it?
Posted by bax292 2 years ago
Is this debate for all school systems or just the public school system?
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by Sagey 2 years ago
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Total points awarded:05 
Reasons for voting decision: I was a little confused by this debate, I was on Con's side philosophically, but Con failed to put up a good argument and ended up conceding to Pro. Though Con needed to word the title more in Con's favor which was unfortunate for Con. It should have indicated that it was against Prayers being broadcasted, not individuals praying, which put the ball into Pro's court.