On a side note I have noticed that virtually every time I have run something about this subject my blog has been dropped from blog rolls. I don't expect everyone to agree with me. I don't need everyone to either. I find it somewhat telling and sad that some people find my position to be so offensive that they no longer want to visit. Mostly it is because they claim to be quite tolerant, but such is life.
The following are just some thoughts from the top of my head. This is not an attempt to prove the intent of the framers as being for or against, although if you want my opinion I think that they were at best neutral about it, if not downright against it. If they wanted the government to sanction prayer in school they would have specifically included it within the Constitution.
I am against organized prayer within public schools. Note that I said organized prayer. In concept, I am not against a moment of silence but I tend to be skeptical about whether people will truly be silent.
My concern about prayer in school is that it can be divisive, exclusionary and that some students may be ostracized because of their beliefs. Our schools should be havens of learning in which no one is targeted because their beliefs do not adhere to those of others. Organized prayer that is sanctioned by the school places these havens in jeopardy and infringes upon parental rights to instill values within our children.
In a Utopian society different views and philosophies are celebrated. However we know from painful experience that this is not the world that we live in. School children are subjected to tremendous social pressure to fit in and while it is noble and worthwhile to teach them to stand up for their beliefs this is not the situation in which to try and do so.
A belief in a particular religion is always rooted in faith that its tenets are true. Faith is the key word in that sentence. You cannot rely upon logic and reason to take you to the place in which an a consensus is reached about faith. This is a big hurdle.
If you note how many denominations of particular religions exist you can see how this exacerbates the situation. I know of Orthodox Jews who see the non Orthodox as apostates, evangelicals who consider Catholics to be idol worshippers etc. If you cannot find consensus among the believers of the same faith you are walking on thin ice.
Earlier I mentioned how organized prayer interferes with parental rights. It is something that I feel strongly about. My biggest job in life is to teach my children how to be menschen. It is a parent's obligation to instill values within our children. It is not the school or societies responsibility to teach them how to become good people. It is mine. This is a large part of why I make time for my kids.
I love my children and want them to be happy. So I provide them with structure, with guidance and with a framework that they can apply to life. The primary set of values is what they receive at home. It is nice for that to be supplemented by the school, but a public school shouldn't touch upon religion for all the reasons I mentioned above. There is strength in plurality.
Posts regarding Prayer in School and similar issues
You Live In A Christian Country- Deal With It
Stop The ACLU Coalition Nonsense
Religion In Schools
Prayer In School- Kentucky High School Shenanigan
Interfaith Relationships- Jews and Christians Misunderstood Again
Southern Baptist Bunk
Air Force Sued Over Religious Intolerance
Appeals court broadens prayer ban in Arkansas school district