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

Prayer in School

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 7/13/2014 Category: Education
Updated: 7 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,660 times Debate No: 58913
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (1)
Votes (1)



Prayer should not be allowed in public school. As public school is a governmental institution, it must abide by the American rule of separation of church and state. Furthermore, prayer in school has been proven to subject children of opposing faiths and beliefs to discrimination and a "feeling of being left out". Unfortunately, in today's world, many religious/educational leaders (mainly Christians) who believe that all should be converted to their faith often unfairly treat and discriminate against certain children because of their opposed beliefs. Faith is often used today as an excuse to treat others unfairly and discriminate against them. As quoted by the Freedom from Religion Foundation, "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." This belief is true. Many who support school prayer do not think of those who are against the religion supported by the prayer and how these children might feel left out, dejected, and discriminated against. However, I do believe that those who value religion deeply and must pray multiple times per day (for example, devout Muslims) should be able to make exemptions for their children, and send a note to school asking a teacher for private praying time for their child every day. The child in question could be sent in the hall, outside, etc. at a requested time/times every day for their private prayer to commence.

P.S. I (the author of this post) am deeply religious, though I do not believe in public school prayer. Thanks!


My argument is not that prayer should be compulsory. It is that prayer should be allowed! Prayer brings communities together. I was raised inside a Catholic school, and prayers would often calm the class down and prepare us for dismissal. Without it, we would run wild. Prayers keep everyone in check and teach us basic things. As an athiest, I still learnt things from prayers. Maners, for instance. Is this really such a bad thing?
Debate Round No. 1


Dear TheSIgmaGamer,
Thank you for accepting the debate. I agree with your point that prayer should not be compulsory in public schools. However, when you state that prayer should be 'allowed', it seems to conflict with the above point. Hypothetically, if school staff were to 'allow' prayer, this would have to take place at a set time and with every student in attendance. This situation would result in many students with religious beliefs opposed to those referred to by the prayer feeling discriminated against and left out. Prayer should not be in the presence of others of differing religious beliefs in a governmental institution, such as public school. If a devoutly religious student wishes to pray sometime towards the day (as stated in my last point), they may do so in PRIVATE and NOT in the presence of other students. I noticed you mentioned how you had a positive experience with school prayer in the past, though the prayer conflicts with your beliefs. I have also been subject to prayer in school countered to my religious beliefs, though for me, I was often presented with a negative experience harrowed by discrimination from other students. You mentioned that you were raised in a Catholic school. These schools are private, and are not subject to separation of church and state, unlike public schools. Therefore, they exclusively may use prayer in an educational environment. Thanks!


Dear Con,
I think you have misinterpreted my point. To develop, I believe that all people can participate in prayer, but it is NOT necessary. If someone wants to ignore it, let them! As an atheist, I took no offence in listening to people pray. TV, books, public places, prayer is EVERYWHERE! If any individual is persecuting someone for not taking part, they will be punished as always! I am talking about children, here. Especially of American Nationality (of which I am not.) They are not racist, anti-Semitic lunatics. They are children that should be raised in typical Christian values, promoting peace. While I personally believe no religion is necessarily the most correct, people should be able to pray together. While I was raised catholic (obviously not very successfully!), I still wholeheartedly believe that without one thing binding us pupils together, we would have been savage. I was amongst idiots and trouble-makers. Sport, music, even free time did not satisfy their criteria for silence. By enforcing, though you could argue bribing, the student with the notion that they are misbehaving in front of a benevolent God, it stopped a ton of misbehaviour issues. Thanks.

(Like stated, I am Atheist. But not a mean one who hates religion. I am a nice one who merely accepts it. And I don't think Buddhism is a religion, yet a philosophy to live by. Buddhism is fun! Just in case you wanted to bring it up.)
Debate Round No. 2


Dear Pro,
Hi. I hope you are doing well. Sorry if anything from here on seems offensive, I do not mean it to be. First of all, I do not think that supporters of public school prayer are 'racist, anti-Semitic lunatics', though they thoroughly misinterpret the beliefs and needs of children who do not share similar religious beliefs. Yes, I understand you are an atheist who supports school prayer, though this is NOT a position taken by most atheists and nonreligious people. I know quite a share of atheists, and none of them share your point of view. Furthermore, you went to a Catholic (private) school, where prayer is most certainly allowed. However, the basis of my point regards public school prayer, which has to do with a government institution that must comply with separation of church and state. Though you are OK with Christian prayer in public schools, many (including myself) are not. You are in an extreme minority of non-Christians who are OK with public Christian prayer, seemingly because you were raised in a Christian background and seem to be sympathetic with them.

Furthermore, you state that all American children should be raised using Christian values. This is an extremely rude and ignorant point of view. Yes, most Americans are compliant with Christian values, but not all are. You do not have to be Christian or listen to Christian prayer to be a good person. Similarly, just because you do not participate in Christian prayer, you are not a 'savage', 'idiot', or 'troublemaker'. I, who do not participate in Christian prayer, am not a savage. My entire family, who do not participate in Christian prayer, are not savages. Albert Einstein, who was not Christian, was not a savage. How would Christians feel if Muslim, Jewish, or Satanist prayer was publicly uttered at school. This is exactly how almost all non-Christians (apparently excluding you) feel about public school prayer. It is offensive, no matter if we ignore it or not, when mature adults advocate religious beliefs to children of opposing religions, especially in places where adults are to be respected, such as in a public school. Yes, people should be able to pray together, but not in front of children of other faiths who are meant to feel like worthless trash. Yes, unfortunately, this is what I feel like. You need to understand that many people feel disrespected when their religious beliefs are thrown out of the window in a public institution in turn for those of a more popular faith. Though you may not, we do. As I stated above, Christians (and yourself) would not feel the same way about public school prayer if this prayer was Jewish, Muslim, Satanist, etc. Think about that. Think about a world where at school, teachers encourage and take part in worshiping Satan with children. You are the only one in the room who is not Satanist. Though they do not say so in front of you, the other children secretly taunt and disrespect you. Their prayer, encouraged by teachers, includes proverbs that state you will DIE AND FACE ETERNAL DAMNATION. This is EXACTLY what it feels like when I have to listen to Christian prayer right in front of my face and I am the only one not taking part. They might say that my religion is wrong and use that as an excuse to pray. That is not an excuse. Think about it.


PS. I do not mean to offend you, I hope you do not take anything too personally.
PS (again). I am not Satanist, I was just using that as an example.
PS (for a third time). Yes, I have been in a situation in which a Christian teacher said that I, as a non-Christian, am going to Hell. :(


(No offence taken my friend. All is fair in love and savagery. And debating.)
To clarify, I strongly believe that the Christian values are correct. In fact, most religious (non extremist, of course) teach good values to everyone. Buddhism especially so. I meant that America is undoubtedly a Christian country, and so is Britain. The values are just and correct, and should be taught. If not as religion, as a philosophy as life. I have a tool to use. Thanks Bing!:
Definition of prayer (n)
prayer[ prer ]
address to God: a spoken or unspoken address to God, a deity, or a saint.
addressing of God: the act or practice of making spoken or unspoken addresses to God, a deity, or a saint
something wished for: something that is wanted or hoped for very much
Look at number 2. It actually states that it can be unspoken. And there lies my next point! Why not allow students a minute of silence, to 'pray?' Surely, no one will be discriminated. An unspoken God will be shared among everyone really praying! And so what if a child can not pray? He then... does not pray! End of the story! A child can't say he was forced to pray if... he wasn't.
Debate Round No. 3


Dear SIgmaGamer,
Hi. You state that Christian values are correct and America is a Christian nation. Many Americans do believe that Christianity and its values are true, though many do not. Saying this discriminates against those opposed to Christian values As America is not a religiously-based nation, and public school is a governmental institution, Christianity MAY NOT be brought into a public classroom. You might say that Christian values are 'just and correct', though just because you think so, it does not mean that they are. You cannot use the excuse "Christianity is right", as many people in America, including the children told to pray, disagree. As stated in my last argument, how would you feel if America was a Satanist nation and Satanist prayer was used in public school? Please answer this in your next argument.

You state next that prayer may be silent and a "moment of silence" could be used in the public classroom. This is a good idea, as long as the silence is not specified whatsoever for prayer usage. Children may use the moment of silence to pray, though it should not be specified that the moment of silence should be used for prayer. If a teacher told the students that the moment of silence should be used for prayer, atheists and non-religious children (except for you, apparently) would feel discriminated against because they do not pray. Once more, I know many atheists, and all agree with my point of view.


P.S. I have nothing against Satanists, I was just using that as an example because Christian values are deeply opposed to those of Satanism.


TheSIgmaGamer forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 4


TheSIgmaGamer forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 5
1 comment has been posted on this debate.
Posted by TheSIgmaGamer 7 years ago
I am not religious and nor is my family, so my point is hard to make. I wanted a challenge!
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by Atheist-Independent 7 years ago
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Total points awarded:30 
Reasons for voting decision: Neither side truly brought any examples of why prayer is good or bad in schools. However, Con had a stronger opening argument and Pro made several generalizations that were rebutted successfully by Con. Overall, fairly equal debate, however both sides could have had more evidence to support their claims.

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