Freedom Of Religion Essays and Research Papers

Instructions for Freedom Of Religion College Essay Examples

Title: Education legal Handbook

  • Total Pages: 5
  • Words: 1604
  • Bibliography:4
  • Citation Style: APA
  • Document Type: Essay
Essay Instructions: Research state and district policies on teacher rights and responsibilities that pertains to Trenton Public School District in Trenton, New Jersey. Also, research case law that pertains to the state of New Jersey in this regard.



Generate a "legal handbook" of 1,500 words advising teachers of The Trenton Public School District on issues such as:

1.Academic freedom
2.Freedom of association
3.Freedom of expression
4.Freedom of religion
5.Employment rights and responsibilities
6.Any other relevant information they should know regarding their rights and responsibilities
In your handbook, cite state statutes, district policy, and case law to support your discussion. Also consider adding resources the teachers might access to gather more information regarding the issue (e.g., a specific place on the district website or a specific legal website).

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References

Anderson, J.B. (2009, Fall). Academic freedom in post-September 11 America: A research guide.

Reference & User Services Quarterly, 49(1), 13-15.

Applied Engineering and Science Academy mission statement. (2007). Trenton Board of Education. Retrieved from http://www.trenton.k12.nj.us/tchs/Course%20

Catalog/Course%20Catalogue%202006.pdf.

Black's law dictionary. (1990). St. Paul, MN: West Publishing Co.

Equal Education Opportunity File Code 5145.4. (2013). Trenton Board of Education. Retrieved from www.trenton.k12.nj.us/hr/bp7.28hr/Equal%20Educ.%20Opport.doc.

Galambos, C.M. (2010, Winter). Academic freedom: A right worth protecting. Journal of Social

Work Education, 46(1), 1-3.

Haynes, C.C. (2011, December). Getting religion right in public schools. Phi Delta Kappan,

93(4), 8-10.

Media Technology Academy mission statement. (2013). Trenton Board of Education. Retrieved from http://www.trenton.k12.nj.us/tchs/mta/.

Tierney, W.G. (2004, March-April). Academic freedom and tenure: Between fiction and reality.

Journal of Higher Education, 75(2), 161-166.

Trenton Board of Education Policy (File Code 5133). (n.d.). Trenton Board of Education

Regulations. Retrieved from http://www.trenton.k12.nj.us/board/Trenton.

Trenton Board of Education Regulation No. R1400. (2010, July). Trenton Board of Education

Regulations. Retrieved from http://www.trenton.k12.nj.us/board/Trenton%20

Regulations%20July%202010.pdf.

Trenton Board of Education Regulation No. R1510. (2010, July). Trenton Board of Education

Regulations. Retrieved from http://www.trenton.k12.nj.us/board/Trenton%20

Regulations%20July%202010.pdf.

Weidner, D.J. (2003, October). Academic freedom and the obligation to earn it. Journal of Law

and Education, 32(4), 445-449.

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Title: How military chaplains facilitate freedom religion service members assistance

  • Total Pages: 2
  • Words: 757
  • Sources:3
  • Citation Style: MLA
  • Document Type: Research Paper
Essay Instructions: How military chaplains help to facilitate ?freedom of religion? for all service members who ask for assistance.

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Bibliography

Greenberg, Eric J. "Vatican Rep Accuses Israel Of 'Blood Libel,' Harsh Exchange Seen As Major Interfaith Setback." The Jewish Week, July 23, 1999.

Headquarters, Department of the Army. "Army Chaplain Corps Activities." U.S. Army Chaplain Corps. December 3, 2009. http://www.chapnet.army.mil/Documents/r165_1.pdf (accessed November 19, 2011).

International Chief of Chaplains Conference. http://www.eucom.mil/key-activities/partnership-programs/ICCC (accessed 2011).

Lampman, Jane. Taking faith to the 'new' front lines. March 4, 1999. http://www.csmonitor.com/1999/0304/p15s1.html (accessed November 19, 2011).

Lee, William Sean, Christopher J. Burke, and Zonna M. Crayne. Military Chaplains as Peace Builders: Embracing Indigeous Religious in Stability Operations. Research Report Submitted in Partial Fulfillment of the Graduation Requirements, Maxwell Air Force Base, Alabama: Air Force Fellows, CADRE/AR, 2004.

Smietana, Bob. Buddhist chaplain is Army first. September 8, 2009. http://www.usatoday.com/news/military/2009-09-08-buddhist-chaplain_N.htm (accessed November 19, 2011).

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Title: I a essay written It simple language big words fine complicated a undergraduate college level essay Below summary essay written attached problem addressed research material The essay follow APA format source

  • Total Pages: 12
  • Words: 3599
  • References:12
  • Citation Style: APA
  • Document Type: Essay
Essay Instructions: I need a essay written for me. It should use simple language (few big words will be fine, but not too complicated) this is a undergraduate college level essay. Below is the summary of how the essay should be written and attached is the problem to be addressed with research material. The essay should follow APA format and no outside source. Relatively easy essay to write, if you love writing essay.
Analyze the problem presented in the "Lincoln Problem" (attached). Write me a persuasive memo as though you were my advisor, and I were a political figure trying to decide what to do in the case of the Lincoln Problem. Your answer should make use of every source within the Lincoln Research Packet, and should analyze the points, counterpoints, and rebuttals, (as well as using all the other techniques you may have learned in the class) to give me a clear view on the "right" way to proceed. Your essay should be 12-14 pages before counting the cover page and list of references. You will have to research APA to figure out how to cite items from the packet, but, as a hint, look to things like "readers and collections" for guidance.
Essay format:
The essay should follow APA format!
INTRO/THESIS PARA: Should have one or two line of a opinion sentence (neutral voice). Should give a little background about the thesis statement. The thesis should have buzzwords (topic words, that cannot be changed in the body paragraph). The Thesis statement or the reason for writing the essay, can be more than two sentences and should select a position (prefer selecting pro-freedom of religion) . Should follow the format of opinion sentence, Intro or background and thesis sentence, these can be divided in to three different paragraph.
BODY PARA: Should start with Major Transition in, with the buzzword or topic word (that cannot be changed from the tense it is in) from the thesis sentence. Then should have points, counterpoints, and rebuttals. Then Transition sentence out that connects the buzzword or topic words from the para before and para that follows after it. Should include citations from the research packet(2) provided with APA format.
CONCLUSION PARA: This paragraph should conclude with connecting all the body paragraphs and making a point with them to select a position that supports the thesis statement.
REFERENCE PAGE: with references please.

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Works Cited

Jefferson's letter and Reply from the Danbury Baptists. (1807, October). President of the United States.

Lynch, Et Al V. Donnelly. (1985, March 5). U.S. Supreme Court.

County of Allegheny Et. v ACLU. (1989, July 3). United States Supreme Court.

Capital Square Review and Advisory Board V. Vincent J. Pinett & Donnie A. Carr & Kinghts of KU Klux Klan. (1995, June 29). United States Supreme Court.

Courts Driving Religion out of Public life. (2005, February 2). Fox Poll.

Polls. (2005, Decemeber 1). Fox News Opinion Poll.

Thomas Van Orden V. Rick Perry. (2005, June 27). Governor of Texas.

Split over Bible in Schools. (2006, April 16). CBS News.

Religios Instruction in Schools. (2012, September 13). First Amendment.

Clinton, B. (1998, May 30). President Clinton Speech.

Faust, M. (2005, August 31). Americans want religion to have wider role in schools. Nashville.

Riley, R. (1998, Novemeber 3). Letters from Richard Riley. U.S. Secretary of Education.

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Title: Capital Punishment with regards to Christian Ethics

  • Total Pages: 8
  • Words: 2667
  • Works Cited:6
  • Citation Style: MLA
  • Document Type: Research Paper
Essay Instructions: Christian Ethics - Religion 224

Reflection Paper Guidelines

Essay Town,
My topic is Capital Punishment….I am normally “Pro” Death Penalty, but there are always circumstances which could lead me to be against it. The “Reflection Paper” is due on 5 May 2010. Please follow the professor’s instructions below. The professor wants our own opinions in the paper….so feel free to write “I feel that..” Please add two "Block Quotes" and 8 "Short Quotes" properly cited. I thank you in advance for a well written paper, I am currently strapped for time and this will take a huge burden off my chest. I have never utilized any system like this. Your product was highly recommended from a fellow student. If all goes well and the paper passes “turnitin.com”, I will definitely utilize you in the future. Thank you, Mike

NOTE: My comments, within the professor’s guidance, are "italicized"!
My cell # is if you have any questions, Mike

From the Professor;

A reflection paper is a critical analysis of an ethical issue that leads to a decision on the appropriate response to that issue. It is not a research paper, per se, but research is required as a part of the critical analysis of the issue.
Part of the reflection included in the paper is constructing an argument that supports your decision. The paper should present a well thought out, and well developed, rationale for the decision. The decision should be your decision, based on your analysis of the information available from a variety of sources. This is different from merely giving your opinion, or confessing your personal experiences.
The method used to analyze the issue should be based on your own approach to making ethical decisions developed throughout the course. The methodology should be clear and concise, with the following sections:

• Issue. The issue you are addressing should be clearly stated. Be concise and to the point. Too broad an issue will be difficult to adequately address in an adequate manner. Framing the issue as a question helps to focus your reflection. The issue should be one you feel important and worth the effort required to do the paper.
• Reflection. Your approach to reflecting on the issue may vary depending on the methodology you use. You should cover all the sources of information or guidance presented in the text and in class. This section is where you analyze the information and determine how that bears on your decision.
This is also the section that will require the most research. The information considered in the decision making process comes from some source. Be sure to use reliable sources and give the appropriate credit to those sources (I normally use the Gale Research site…but I am sure you have many other reliable sources, Mike).
Even if you discount information from some source, there should be evidence within your reflection that the information was considered. There also should be some rationale as to why that information was discounted.
Research also should be a part of the use of the Bible and Christian tradition. For example, there may be more than one translation of passages. There certainly will be more than one interpretation. You will want to compare the options in making your decision. Scripture should be supported with chapter and verse references. (Essay Town, Please include/reference portions of the bible referencing Capital Punishment…note the attached document from my text book “An Introduction to Christian Ethics”, 5th Edition, by Roger H. Crook which contains several references to verses in the Bible..please use some of them in the paper. Mike)
Regardless of your methodology, you should strive to identify your feelings and preconceived biases (I am Pro death Penalty, I believe in an “Eye for an Eye” like the Old Testament, Mike). The goal is to identify these things early in the reflection process, so that the reflection can be based on an honest evaluation of the information available. You do not want to prove your point.


• Decision. Your decision should be logically and clearly spelled out. Some sort of a decision making process should be evident. Be sure to challenge yourself in this process. Do not just "parrot" someone else's view. Make it your own.
Your decision may or may not reinforce your preconceived idea. If you change a preconceived idea on the issue chosen, you have accomplished something significant.
The paper should be Time New Roman, Double spaced, 12 font type. The paper should have one inch margins and should be at least 8 pages in length. (The paper needs to be written in MLA format with citations throughout the paper and a Works Cited page, Mike)
References should reflect a balanced perspective on the issue. Given the length of the paper and the need to consider information from a variety of sources, six references is probably the minimum number. References should be reputable, so I encourage you to use caution if accessing materials from unknown sources on the internet.



Below is one of my own short essays on Capital Punishment, you could use some of the topics in the thesis paragraph for ideas.


Saving Lives of the Convicted
The United State’s legal system should abolish capital punishment. First, the Supreme Court ruled that it was unconstitutional to execute a mentally ill person in 2002. Several organizations estimate ten percent of inmates suffer from mental illness (qtd. in Fields). Secondly, technological advances are proving the innocence of convicted offenders. DNA testing is liberating numerous inmates previously sentenced to death (“Death-Row Inmates Decline”). Finally, attorneys assigned to defend capital punishment offenders must be competent. All too often, poorly qualified lawyers represent death row offenders (Keilen and Levin). The United State’s legal system must reconsider their previous mandates and abolish the death penalty.
Scott Panetti, an individual diagnosed with Paranoid Schizophrenia, murdered his wife’s family in 1992. “The Supreme Court barred Texas from executing a mentally ill inmate for murder, ruling that competency standards used in his case were too restrictive” (qtd. in Fields). Anthony Kennedy, a Supreme Court Justice, stated that the court failed to account for Mr. Panetti’s condition. Due to Mr. Panetti’s disease, Kennedy questioned the defendant’s ability to understand why the court sentenced him to death:
An expansive pronouncement on mental illness and the death penalty would have implications for hundreds of inmates. There are more than 3,300 people awaiting execution in the U.S. according to the Death Penalty Information Center, a nonprofit group critical of how the death penalty is administered. Various organizations conservatively estimate that at least 10% of them suffer from serious mental illness. In all, about 17% of the nation's prisoners have a diagnosis of serious mental illness. (qtd. in Fields)
Justice Kennedy declared, "Gross delusions stemming from a severe mental disorder may put an awareness of a link between a crime and its punishment in a context so far removed from reality that the punishment can serve no proper purpose” (qtd. in Fields). The Supreme Court’s ban on cruel and unusual punishment for the mentally handicap can be applied to juvenile offenders as well. Legal experts state that juvenile offenders, like the mentally impaired, are not able to comprehend their crimes due to an under developed mind (Greenberger).
The criminal justice system’s advancement in forensics technological is providing evidence, which is liberating many previously convicted individuals. Deoxyribonucleic acid, commonly referred to as DNA, is the key of freedom for the innocent. “The number of inmates sentenced to death has dropped because of DNA testing and questions the effectiveness of public offenders and whether the death penalty is being applied fairly” (“Death-Row Inmates Decline”). In numerous cases the use of DNA testing proved that capital punishment offenders, who were sentenced to die, were innocent. Unfortunately, these wrongly accused individuals served multiple years behind bars prior to their liberation. Today, the new technology of DNA testing is assisting the condemned prove their innocence (Keilen and Levin).
The legal representation of many convicted offenders, both past and present, is pitiable. The United State’s legal system needs to ensure that every convicted inmate is presented a professional and competent counselor. “When our government seeks to exercise the ultimate power of life and death over one of its citizens, it has the highest responsibility to ensure fairness, accuracy, and integrity at every step of the process” (Keilen and Levin). The lawyer for Johnny Ray Johnson, a man charged with murder, failed to discover that his client sustained a troubled childhood and suffered from mental retardation. In numerous situations the lawyer fails to act as counsel, never meets the client, or fails to properly advise him on developments regarding the case. There is evidence that some attorneys copy old petitions and utilize the information for new cases. Furthermore, these attorneys forgot to change the names of the trial exhibits, lawyers, and even the judge (Greenberger).
The United State’s legal system has executed 1,099 inmates from 1976 through 2007 (Keilen and Levin). Numerous mentally ill or retarded individuals were denied the right to a fair trial (Satel). The advancements in DNA testing are proving the innocence of numerous previously convicted offenders (“Death-Row Inmates Decline”). Every person facing trial has the right to a competent legal counsel. The condemned on death row contain a one-in-three chance that their case is presented by a competent attorney. As of April 1, 2008, 128 death row prisoners nationwide were cleared of charges and freed from imprisonment (Keilen and Levin). The legal system in the United States must evolve and abolish capital punishment.






Works Cited

“Death-Row Inmates Decline.” Corrections Today 1 Feb. 2007: 12. Criminal Justice
Periodicals. ProQuest. 24 Jun 2009 .
Fields, Gary. “Supreme Court Bars a Texas Execution.” Wall Street Journal [New York,
N.Y.] 29 Jun 2007, Eastern edition: A.4. Wall Street Journal. ProQuest. 23 Jun 2009 .
Greenberger, Robert S. “The Economy: Supreme Court Narrowly Refuses To Consider
Death-Penalty Plea.” Wall Street Journal [New York, N.Y.] 22 Oct 2002, Eastern edition: A.2. Wall Street Journal. ProQuest. 23 Jun 2009
.
Keilen, Andrea, and Maurie Levin. “Moving Forward: A Map for Meaningful Habeas
Reform in Texas Capital Cases.” American Journal of Criminal Law 34.2 (2007): 207-275. Criminal Justice Periodicals. ProQuest. 24 Jun 2009
.
Satel, Sally. “It's Crazy to Execute the Insane.” Wall Street Journal [New York,
N.Y.] 14 Mar. 2002, Eastern edition: A18. Wall Street Journal. ProQuest. 23 Jun 2009 .


Below is the example paper the professor gave us to review. I just wanted you to see how the writers opinion was included in the paper....I'm not used to writing papers with opinions...but I guess that would make it easier to write.


A Christian's Response to the Debate Over Mandated Prayer in Public Schools
By
Religion 224 Christian Ethics 22 July 2004

What stance should a Christian take on the issue of prayer in the public school
system? The debate over mandated prayer in public schools has been in existence since the mid-nineteenth century. Opinions on the matter vary from person to person instead of religion to religion due to the fact that there are often disagreements between members of the same denomination. A number of different aspects will be analyzed while trying to arrive at a decision on this matter that will be ethical in the eyes of the Christian community. First, a look into my personal experience on this issue will reveal any biases that I may have regarding this subject. Second, a look at culture will evaluate the social implications of mandated prayer in the public school system, any cultural biases, and any religious traditions that might be pertinent. Lastly, a look at Christian tradition, including scripture and any additional thoughts by members of the Christian community will be evaluated. These three areas make up the Relational Tri-polar Methodology and will be used to work through a variety of viewpoints on this matter and ultimately anive at a well thought out decision on this issue.
Before I begin with any historical information or debate, I feel that it would be wise to let you, the reader, know where I stand on this issue. I was raised in a variety of different settings, from a "regular family" type horne to a few state-sponsored group homes, none of which had any foundation in religion. During one of my short stays at my mother's house, she found that I had befriended a girl whose family were self¬proclaimed Born Again Christians. From the moment that she found out; she forbid me to play at her house or accompany the family to church. Then the group homes in which I resided were state-sponsored and were not allowed to encourage any type of religious activity to include any spiritual guidance or daily prayer. None of the many, many public

schools that I have attended were religious based and none participated in any type of teacher led prayer. I can always remember being interested in religion and have always prayed in the way in which I felt was right. I have never officially been indoctrinated into a specific denomination but have always felt as though I had and continue to have a relationship with God. As my previous religious back round, or lack there of, shows, I have not been influenced in any way, either for or against mandating prayer in the public school system.
The argument regarding religion and public education is an issue that has stirred up controversy within the American public since the mid-1800's. This topic has often been clouded by confusion and misinformation by people both for and opposed state¬sponsored prayer in public schools. This issue has been brought before the Supreme Court many times with the wording of the first Amendment of the United States Constitution in constant question. For one hundred and eighty five years prayer was allowed in public settings and was even the first order of business at the Constitution Convention. In 1961, the Supreme Court removed prayer from the public schools in the case Engel Vs. Vitale. They found that because the Constitution prohibits any law respecting the establishment of religion, officials of public schools could not compose public prayer even ifthe prayer was considered denominationally neutral. The parents that brought this case before the court included multiple denominations such as Christian, Jewish, Unitarian and not one of them wanted their children subjected to state-sponsored devotions. The court agreed that this scenario equated to the government promotion of religion, which is forbidden by the 151 Amendment of the U.S. Constitution (The Myth, I). In 1963, the Supreme Court ruled on another case dealing with school prayer. In

Abington Township School District Vs. Schempp, the comi proclaimed bible reading and the reciting of the Lord's Prayer to be unconstitutional (American's United, 1).
The cloud of misinfonnation and confusion comes about from individual or groups interpretation of the phrase "separation of church and state". People that are in favor of prayer with in the school system stress that the words separation, church, and state do not even appear in the 1 sl Amendment, and indeed they are correct. For the record, the 1 sl Amendment of the Constitution reads as follows:
"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise there of.. ." (The Myth, 1).
The whole notion of separation of church and state was created by Thomas Jefferson in January of 1802 in a letter addressed to the Danbury Baptist Association of Connecticut. The portion of the letter that applies is as follows:
"1 contemplate with solemn reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should 'make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting free exercise there of, thus building a wall of separation between church and state." (Jefferson, 1)
Jefferson borrowed those words from Roger Williams, a prominent Baptist preacher, because he was not a member of that denomination and was trying to establish some common ground. Roger Williams stated,
"When they have opened a gap in the hedge or wall of separation between the church and the wildemess of the world, God hath ever broke down the wall itself, removed the candlestick, and made his garden a wildemess, as at this day. And that therefore if He will eel' please to restore His garden and paradise again, it

must if necessity be walled in peculiarity into Himself from the world ... " (Erdsmore, 243)
The "wall" in the previous quote was understood as one-directional; its purpose was to protect the church from the state. Early American people had in their recent memories what happened in England when the government established the church. England forbid worship in private homes, and the people were forced to go to a "state" established church. No other denominations were allowed to exist and attendance at church was
mandatory. Violators were either imprisoned or tortured. A large majority of people in England were tired of the mandated religion and were in search of a place that provided freedom of religion not freedomFom religion. Not long after the migration to America occurred or fore fathers created the Constitution on biblical principles. An example would be found in Isaiah 33 :22, which states that "the Lord is our judge, the Lord is our lawgiver, the Lord is our King ... " (Isaiah 33 :22) The fore fathers used this scripture and created the three major branches of our government to include judicial, legislative, and executive. It was felt that due to man's corrupt nature that there needed to be separate powers, a system of checks and balances within the government.
People that are for prayer within the public schools raise issues such as if the fore fathers were so against prayer in a public forum, then why did many of their meetings
and conventions begin with a prayer. In the court system, we swear on the bible in the courtroom prior to testifying and that means that by doing that we acknowledge that God will judge us eventually if we do not tell the whole truth and nothing but the truth, so help us God. Even on our currency, on all dollar bills and coins, it proudly emblems the trademark slogan "In God We Trust", and all Americans of all denominations use that

money without complaining or protesting. People that support prayer in schools also say that our fore fathers advocated the use of God in our lives. The only reference made between the two being separate is that no ONE religion would take precedent over another. That was why the people of England originally came to America; not to rid themselves of God but instead, be able to worship Him in their own individual ways. The constitution was written for our government to be morally and ethically correct in the eyes of God, not to abolish him from our laws and practices.
The Southern Baptist Christian Life Commission (CLC) provided its aid in support of a proposed amendment to the Constitution to permit voluntary school prayer created by former speaker Newt Gingrich. This raised a lot of controversy that hasn't been addresses since the 1962/1963 Supreme Court rulings that forbid government sponsored prayer and bible readings in public schools. The initial draft of the proposal read:
"Nothing in the Constitution shall be construed to prohibit individual or group prayer in public schools or other public institutions. No person shall be required by the United States or by any individual state to participate in prayer. Neither the United States government nor any state shall compose the words of any prayer to be said in public schools." (To alston, 1)
In fact, most Southern Baptists favored a "carefully crafted prayer amendment".
There was an article in the December 1991 issue of Time magazine called One Nation Under God: Has the Separation of Church and State Gone Too Far. The best paragraph in support of prayer within our public school system is as follows:

"For God to be kept out of the classroom or out of America's public debate by nervous school administrators or over-cautious politicians serves no-ones interest. That restriction prevents people from drawing on the country's rich and diverse religious heritage for guidance, and it degrades the nation's moral discourse by placing a whole realm of theological reasoning out of bounds. The price of that sort of quarantine, at a time of moral dislocation, is and has been, far too high. The courts need to find a better balance between separation and accommodation, and Americans need to respect the new religious freedom they would gain as a result." (Gibbs, 1)
A group called the Baptist Joint Committee (BJC), which is part oflarger group called the Interfaith Coalition, disagreed with this article stating that an amendment to the Constitution would actually threaten religious freedom. This group is actually opposed to any new amendment and wrote a letter to former President Clinton expressing their vIews. The BJC lists four of their major oppositional viewpoints as follows:
1.) Students already have the right to pray in public schools. The can pray privately anytime they want to (in class, lunchroom, playground) as long as it is not disrupting others. They can even pray aloud in groups as long as it is not during a time of instruction.
2.) It is dangerous to mess with the First Amendment because for over two centuries it has been the pillar ensuring religious liberty.
3.) It "politicizes, governmentalizes, and secularizes prayer", and it "trivializes prayer" by reducing it to a brief and hollow ritual.

4.) The BJC is not opposed to prayer, it believes in it so much that they don't want the government meddling in it. The belief by this group is that prayer should be lifted to the houses of "worship, family, and the students themselves." (Toalston, 2-3)
SuppOliers of the amendment counter the above arguments by stating that:
"V oluntary school prayer will not be a cure all for society's misdeeds but prayer can be a good first-aid for what public schools need. American's can do a lot after we have prayed, but cannot do more until we have prayed. An acknowledgement that God is creator, and that students are moral creatures with the capacity to choose right and wrong, is a critical first ingredient for restoring
public morality." (Toalston, 4)
I recently spoke with a Christian friend of mine, one with a very strong foundation within her denomination, and read to her the arguments that support and oppose this issue. 1 thought she would be for school prayer but her strong response in favor of opposition surprised me. She had stated that starting the school day with a moment of silence is all right, but was strongly opposed to starting the day with what she called a "generic prayer". In her belief, the moment of silence could be used for her child to gather himself for the upcoming school day. She also stated that she would never support the idea of an added amendment to the Constitution that reintroduced prayer into public schools. She would not allow her child to be led in prayer by someone whose religious beliefs she did not know. In her thoughts, it would just be empty words with little religious meaning. There are many faith groups that join in my friend's beliefs and oppose any amendment to support the introduction of government-sponsored prayer

within the schools. Some of those groups that are opposed include: American Baptist Churches-USA, Americans Jewish Congress, Anti-Defamation League, Central Conference of American Rabbis, Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, Friends Committee on National Legislation (Quakers), General Conference of Seventh Day Adventists, National Council ofJewish Women, Presbyterian Church-USA, The Church of Christ (Scientist), Unitarian Universalist Association, United Methodist Church, and many, many others. (Americans United ... ) There was no shortage of viewpoints from those opposed the amendment but finding names of groups that were in favor was a bit more difficult.
Statistics show that over ninety percent of this nation's children attend public school. These children come from homes that practice a wide array of religious beliefs and practices. It seems as though the hardest past of this debate is coming up with a solution that respects the rights and beliefs of everyone involved. The Supreme Court cases discussed earlier in this paper are prime examples of the government's viewpoint
on this issue, they have been continuously vigilant in forbidding schools interference with citizens rights to practice their own religious beliefs and that mandated school prayer had no place in the public school system. These court rulings are where a lot of the confusion and misunderstanding began and still lies. The court did not rule that students are forbidden to pray on their own; they only ruled that the state or school could not formulate a generic prayer for the students to recite. Additionally, they cannot sponsor bible readings or force students to recite the Lord's Prayer. These acts would equate to a violation of the first amendment because a mandated school prayer would prohibit the free exercise ofreligion. Therefore it is unconstitutional.

Everyone is this country is not a Christian. Yes, this country was founded upon Christian beliefs, but one of its most basic core beliefs is liberty. Liberty gives people the freedom to practice whichever religion they choose. The Supreme Court did not remove prayer from public schools, only government-sponsored worship. Public School students could and can always pray on their own; schedule permitting. Actually in 1990, the high court ruled that public school students could form religious type clubs that meet in non¬instructional time to pray, read religious topics, as long as all denominations are given an equal chance to form the same type of club. (Americans United ... ) Overall, the belief is that the Llse of religious material used in school, such as materials for a History course, must be one of education not devotion. Public schools cannot preach to students; this would be seen as a strong persuasion by the state for students to adopt certain religious beliefs. It is believed by most parents polled that parents, not schools, should be ultimately responsible for a child's religious upbringing. (Gibbs, 1) Since the 1990 mling, there have been guidelines sent to every school in the nation by the Department of Education that stresses that students have the right to pray or discuss religion with their peers as long as they are not disruptive.
Those in favor of prayer continue to press for religious majority rule in the schools but this allows for government intmsion, and in a way uses public school as a means to evangelism. The belief by those opposed is that the religious neutrality of public education must be preserved. This allows schools to grant free religious expression to all denominations without the focus being on one single faith. Any mandated school prayer would be seen as evidence that the state sponsors the beliefs and

practices of a single faith group. The right of an individual to practice a religious faith stops when it interferes with the right of another person to practice theirs.
The biblical scripture does not conclusively promote one viewpoint or the other.
One could make some presumptions on the scripture, but it definitely is not a blatant issue. In many of the pieces of scripture I found that discuss the subject of prayer, it seems to support a more private, intimate picture of prayer. It seems as though the relationship that Jesus had with God was intimate and private, without public display. One ofthe most vivid examples that would support a more private prayer session as opposed to a public setting came straight from the mouth of Jesus. "And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in Synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by men ... But when you pray, go into your room, close the door, and pray to your Father who is unseen." (Matthew, 6:5-6) Additional pieces of scripture that have been taken from the time of Jesus' ministries that supports an intimate view of prayer are as follows: "After he dismissed them, he went up on a mountainside by himself to pray ... " (Matthew, 14:23), "Then Jesus went with his disciples to a place called Gethsernane, and He said to them 'sit here wi]] I go over there and pray'" (Matthew, 26:36), and "Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went offto a solitary place, where he prayed". (Mark, 1 :35)
In each of these instances, Jesus' prayers were a private event, one that existed between God and Himself. Jesus does state that prayer should be done alone, in the privacy of your room, with the door closed. There are many examples of Jesus preaching and ministering in public but his prayers were always accomplished in private.

In opposition to the previous belief, there is some scripture that could be used, if interpreted that way, to support prayer in the public schools. Some examples include:
"And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests ... " (Ephesians, 6: 18), and "I want men everywhere to lift up holy hands in prayer, without IIlIger or dispufing" (1 Timothy. 2: 18). Other than the scripture at one point in Ephesians that advocates prayer on "all occasions", I was unable to find any scripture that promoted public prayer. Actually, as I mentioned previously, the words spoken by Jesus promoted solitary prayer.
From my research, most people or groups are either strongly in favor or opposed to this subject. I only found one exert that walked the middle line and that piece of literature came from the college text An Introduction to Christian Ethics. The author Crook states that "A major function of the church, and of the individuals who make up the church, is worship ... We can do these things both in the company of fellow believers in a planned service of worship and in solitary and intensely private experiences.
Worship does not depend on a mood, although a spirit of expectancy is conducive to it. It does not require our presence in any particular place or use of any particular symbols ... "
(Crook, 101).
At the beginning of this decision making process, I really could not see the harm in beginning a child's day with a small prayer. Through research and by working through this process, I have formed an opinion on the matter. My opinion reflects what I believe to be the appropriate Christian response on the issue of mandated school prayer. This decision was based on the different key areas to include personal experience, Christian culture, and biblical supported scripture. These three categories and their respective sub-

categories make up the methodology that helped me to arrive at my decision. My decision sides with the large number of groups that are opposed to mandated prayer in the public school system. At first, I thought that I might be swayed in the direction of those in favor, but in agreeing with them I feel as though that is imposing one faith on children of many denominations. Any attempts by the state or government to come up with a standardized prayer would end up being verses of empty words that have meaning for only a few students that might have the same type of beliefs that the prayer represents. The religious life of any child should be initiated and fostered within the home and the church of that family's choice. That way, the teachings and the practices are geared toward their own denomination, which is more beneficial in fostering a child's development of beliefs. As for the legality of the issue, our government is not against prayer in the school system. The government has to look out for the interests of all citizens, not just the interests of one religious group. The Supreme Court enforced what was already a part of the First Amendment. They ensured that all people have the right to believe and practice whatever religion they believe without being forced to recite a prayer that has been created by someone whose beliefs aren't even known. Students are allowed to pray in school, as long as the time is appropriate. Students are allowed to participate in religious-based clubs and read scripture and pray in groups aloud, as long as all religions are allowed to come together as a group as well. This country was founded on Christian beliefs but part of being Christian is being accepting of other people and their beliefs. So in goes to prove that a good Christian should respect the fact that there are a lot of students of different denominations that would not benefit from mandated state¬sponsored school prayer. The proper Christian response to the question, "Should there be

an amendment to support the recitation of a pre-scripted school prayer?" is simply no. The encouragement of a moment of silence so that children can pray to whom ever they consider "God" and maybe take a few minutes to gather their thoughts in our over-paced society; I vote "yes".
We must all remember that this country was founded on principles of freedom of religion, not from religion. We are a society with a very diverse society and we must respect that. We cannot force our beliefs on others; that would make us no better than the original Church of England, the very church in which people came to America to escape. They wanted the freedom to worship as they chose, as most Americans do now. Our forefather's could never of foreseen America as it is today, but the declination in morals within our society cannot be blamed on the fact that there is not a 3-5 minute generic prayer recited by school students each morning. The blame for our society's downward spiral falls mostly on the parents. The parents today want to always find someone else to blame for their children's misdeeds, but the responsibility must fall on the parents ... Not the public schools, not the state or the government, and definitely not on the lack of a morning state-scripted prayer.

References
Crook, Roger H. "Faith Working Through Love" An Introduction to Christian Ethics, Prentice Hall, NJ, 2002.
Erdsmore, John. Christianity and the Constitution, MI: Baker Book House, 1987, pg. 243.
Gibbs, Nancy. "America's Holy War" Time Magazine, 9 December 1991.
Jefferson, Thomas. Jefferson Writings, Merrill D. Peter, ed. NY: Literary Classics of the United States, Inc., 1984, January 1, 1802.
Toalston, Art. Http://www.holysmoke.org/sdhok/sch7.htm December 12, 1994, Baptist Press, Southem Baptist Convention
Http://www .noapath y.org/tracts/mytho fseparation.html "The Myth of Separation of Church and State"







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