A Discussion at the Class Reunion by Dr. Jay Hertzog

While touring our old high school the night before our 50th class reunion, one of my former classmates asked if the school from which we graduated still held Baccalaureate services.  One of our class members, now a minister, explained that area churches hold such services for those who attend their church, but that the school district no longer holds these services.  My classmate who asked the question then said; “What’s this coming to…we don’t hold Baccalaureate services and we’re not allowed to pray in schools anymore.”

Well, I was quick to point out that the ruling on school prayer said that students were not permitted to be led in prayer, but that students could certainly feel free to pray if they so chose.  Case in point, I told my former classmate, happened when I taught Research Design and Statistics at the masters and doctoral level. Whenever I handed out a test, there were 25 prayers going straight up…I didn’t lead the prayers, but there were prayers being uttered…I saw their lips moving. 

It seems that there are those who place an emphasis on slanting things to fit their own needs rather than investigating what was actually said or decided.  School prayer is one of those issues.  No one is stopping students from praying…it’s just that teachers in public schools may not lead their students in prayer.  I wonder how my classmate would react if her grandchildren were in a class taught by someone of the Muslim or Hindu faith and that their teacher would lead them in the prayers of that religion.  I suppose the take away here is that we really need to THINK about what we’re saying rather than spouting talking points from one side or the other, no matter what the topic.


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