How can you allow all the violence currently in our schools?
A Concerned Citizen
Dear Concerned Citizen,
I am not allowed into you schools.
I admit to paraphrasing, but my reproduction is fairly accurate. The gist of the shirt was simple: violence inherent in today's schools is a direct result of not allowing prayer within them. A most fallacious premise if there ever was one.
There cannot be organized prayer in school. It can not be instituted at the Local, State, or Federal level of government, as that is a clear contravention of the First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States, which states that "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof." While the amendment only mentions Congress, due to the implication of other powers outlined in the Constitution, that provision extends throughout the governmental chain in this country. Any government that seeks to do this, is violating the Constitution, which is the over-arching law of the land.
Beyond that, allowing open prayer in school would make no difference, in any event. It is not a lack of prayer that is causing violence in schools, and in society as a whole. It is a lack of parental control, a lack of teaching morals in the home, the celebration of violence in movies and television, and the constant parade of unpunished guilt seen on the news. We cannot abdicate another layer of responsibility and heap it upon the school systems, critically overloaded with functions as they are. We cannot act as if there is one be-all and end-all cure for what plagues our human society.
The prayer in school argument is another distraction from the reality that stands before us. It is the wailing and moaning of those who cannot keep their own houses in order. It is a diversion from those questions we need to ask of ourselves, and not others. Why do we allow our children the level of latitude that we do? Why do we constantly feel we must put the desires of children ahead of their needs? Why must parents give in to every request of their children, supply them with every frivolous device available, and turn a blind eye to what they do and how they do it? At what point was it acceptable for parents to stop parenting, and turn control of their children's education over to Hollywood?
If you are worried about your child's morality and behavior, do not look to the school system to provide them with what they need. Look to yourself, to your behavior, to your comportment, to the things you say and do, the examples you set. Set the tone in your home, teach your children the difference between right and wrong, give them the moral guidance to know how to provide compassion toward others, talk with them about the things they see and hear and what they mean, and open their eyes and their minds to the wide profusion of ideas that permeate this world. Set aside judgmentalism, set aside dogma, set aside the artificial differences sown by thousands of years of blindness and bigotry. Build your child's character at home. The world we want starts with us, what we do, and the messages we pass on to the next generation, so it is time to stop with destructive rancor and start working together to eradicate the influences that create the problems in our schools and in our society.
If you want the God you believe in -- or don't believe in -- to go to school, then teach that belief in the home, and stop trying to indoctrinate all the other children in your belief system. Let each and every one of us strive to create the best children we can, and let them learn to work together and appreciate each other for their differences as well as their similarities when they come together in school. That is the way of creating a more united and harmonious world for all.