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Prayer in Public Schools Essays

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Prayer in Public Schools


Religion is one of the most controversial issues in society today. The concern of allowing prayer in schools is an on-going debate and has resulted in numerous lawsuits. Religious school clubs, after school activities, curriculums, and moments of silence during school are just a few of the court cases that judges have administered. People in favor of prayer in schools believe that their children can only learn certain values through religious practice. On the other hand, an individual against religious practice in schools views this issue as an infringement on his or her children’s rights as Americans.

In a particular trial, Wallace V. Jaffree, an argument arose concerning a one-minute “meditation or voluntary prayer” in public schools (Wallace V. Jaffree). George Wallace, a governor of Alabama, agreed with the “1981 Alabama Statute (16-1-20.1) authorizing [this] 1-minute period of silence in all public schools” (Wallace V. Jaffree). The District Court agreed with Wallace and “ultimately held that the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment does not prohibit a State from establishing a religion” (Wallace V. Jaffree). In contrast, Appellee Ishmael Jaffree, a resident of Mobile County, Alabama objected this Alabama Statute. Since the one-minute prayer was voluntary, his children did not participate. They were then “exposed to ostracism from their peer group class members” for not participating (Wallace V. Jaffree). In the Wallace versus Jaffree trial, Jaffree has a stronger case because his complaints are justified through both the First and Fourteenth Amendments and the ideology of Separation of Church and State.

According to the First Amendment, “Congress shall make no law re...


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...a particular faith. Individuals against religion in schools do not want a faith to be part of a school day. Where do we draw the line? The individuals who support religion in schools have the right not to practice religion. In contrast, individuals against religion in schools have the same right to not practice religion.

In this particular case, or any other cases that may occur in the future, further research can be accomplished by identifying the boundaries for each argument. Sometimes the issues are so closely related that the solution becomes difficult to distinguish. Other times, evaluating the opinions of others helps to gain a broad consensus of what the majority desires. With this further research, there could be a better understanding of individual’s opposing thoughts, which could help establish a common ground and a solution to different cases.


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