Wednesday, January 19, 2005

Online petition to lift school prayer ban

Waste of time?

I got one of those online petitions/chain letters yesterday. It read as follows:

Please do NOT let this petition stop and lose all these names. If you do not want to sign it, please forward it to everyone you know.

To add your name, click on "forward". You will be able to and your name at the bottom of the list and then forward it to your friends. Or, if necessary, you can copy and paste and then add your name to the bottom of the list


Dear President Bush:
Many of us were deeply touched to hear you recite a portion of Psalm 23 in your address to this great nation in the dark hours following the terrorists' attacks. We, the people of America, are requesting that you lift the prohibition of prayer in schools. As the pledge of our great country states, we are to be "One nation under God." Please allow the prayers and petitions of our children in schools without the threat of punishment.

Currently, adults and children in the schools are prohibited from mentioning God unless, of course, His name is uttered as part of a curse or profanity. Sincerely, The People of America

There were over 1200 names on the petition, which is pretty neat.

I responded thusly:
From one concerned Christian to a bunch of others;

A couple of points:

I really admire the intent of the petition, but I think that one e-mail, even one containing thousands of names, will have far less impact than thousands of individual e-mails, a few at a time. A few e-mails a day will have a steady, gradual impact in the long run.

Want to make a bigger difference? Type or hand-write a letter, in your own words, and mail it. This type of communication takes a little more time and is therefore considered by the politicians to be a bit more serious than e-mail. It will cost you ten minutes, a piece of paper, an envelope, and a stamp.

Secondly, the President has no authority to reverse the ban on prayer in schools: Organized prayer is prohibited in public schools because the Supreme Court of the United States has ruled it (Incorrectly, in my opinion: the 1st Amendment is about freedom OF religion, not freedom FROM religion) a violation of the first amendment to the U.S. constitution. The president is head of the executive branch of our government and has no power to change either the contents or the interpretation of our constitution. Lifting the ban on organized prayer in public schools could only be brought about by the judicial branch (through a case which would provide for judicial review by the Supreme Court of previous interpretations of the establishment clause of the first amendment as related to school prayer) or the legislative branch (through the approval of a proposed constitutional amendment by two-thirds of both houses of Congress and ratification by three-fourths of state legislatures). The president has no direct role in either of these processes -- he cannot choose which cases the Supreme Court will hear, nor does he propose or approve constitutional amendments.

Thirdly (and this is where I might make you mad), if you're sending your kids, every day, to a place where prayer is forbidden, God's existence is denied, police presence and metal detectors are required to maintain order, Biblical Christian values are mocked by their peers, and the very mention of the truth about God's creation of the universe is forbidden, then brothers and sisters, you have some thinking to do. Forget political statements -- what about your children?


After spending two hours creating this monstrous manifesto, my e-mail provider decided I wasn't signed in, and I lost it all. Arrgh!

I rewrote it, probably leaving out something from the first draft, and sent it off into cyberspace.

I wish I'd written the beginning a bit "softer", perhaps an explanation of my thinking on the matter at hand, but it's done now...I hope I didn't make anyone too mad, especially the members of my family who sent it too me. (Hi guys!)