Thursday, February 17, 2005

School Prayer In Virginia

I can't help myself. Normally, I ignore the Metro section of the Wasington Post, but the wacky Virginia state legislature is in session, so the fun on those pages never stops.

The Virginia state legislature now wants to make prayer a constitutional right in schools. I think I read somewhere that children from religious families tend to do better in school, which means that the discipline and dedication that religious students have directly contributes to their academic success. Or, perhaps, God rewards suck-ups.

More importantly, maybe I am missing something, but I am not so sure students cannot, on their own, pray -- at least silently -- when at school. I don't recall teachers or principals stopping any of my classmates when they sought support from God to mask their complete lack of preparation for a test. Or perhaps to supplement that preparation.

I think this development is more about a cynical effort to radically reinterpret the views of the "Founding Fathers" (read the article to see how the bill's sponsors are justifying their amendment) to slash the separation between church and state. The only possible purpose for including this new language in the Virginia constitution is to allow teachers or other school authority figures to slowly seep their views into the educational process. Allow them to pray and therefore influence their students. After all, the bill's sponsor was inspired by criticism of his injection of religion into an anti-drug speech he gave when he was a state trooper.

The separation of church and state is not a reflection of government being "anti-religion" as the bill's sponsors claim. Rather, it is about separating the personal from the macro-political. Religion isn't suppressed or oppressed when the mechanisms of government are not used to advance it. Religion is advanced when, outside the mechanisms and authority of government, it inspires.


Blogger Brazillero said...

I was almost tempted to leave a comment to your post, but unlike you, I did resist the temptation...

10:57 PM  
Blogger Joseph K said...


I am fascinated and confused by your comment/non-comment. Not getting things is a chronic thing for me. Please explain further.

Oh, and welcome...

11:25 PM  

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