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Prayer At Athletic Events Essay

2621 words - 11 pages

PRAYER AT ATHLETIC EVENTS "Dear God, please pass everybody on the math test, or please let there be a snow day, amen." Even though this is a common prayer recited by students, many people believe that prayer is not allowed in the public schools. Prayer is only not allowed, but it is a protected form of speech. The commonly asked question about public prayer is, "What's wrong with students praying at athletic events?" Nothing is wrong with someone praying at a school event, and no one is trying to take away an individual's right to pray before, during, or after school events like an athletic game. Praying is up to them. But the argument is not whether students can pray before the game; ...view middle of the document...

As a result of following these rights, there is a way to allow prayer at athletic events that will treat everyone fairly. Congress should enact legislation permitting prayer at public school sports events. The First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution states that everyone has the right to freedom of speech and religion. (Write for College, 878) This protected right makes the public education system the nation's battleground for First Amendment cases involving religion. Focus has been directed toward what will be constitutionally allowable for students to do with their religion in public. Students can meet at the flagpole to pray, wear "What Would Jesus Do" bracelets, and hand out religious literature, among other things, but teachers and employees of public schools may not cause or sponsor any type of worship. The First Amendment protects students' free speech rights, but there is a limitation to how far one can go.In light of the special characteristics of the school environment, however, the limits on the First Amendment's ability to protect expression and the degree to which government can regulate expressive activities are magnified. (Whitehead, 67) The pregame prayer case looks at whether public student prayer before a sporting event violates the Establishment Clause, which states that "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion." (Remy, 225) Many people misinterpret the meaning of this clause. The ban on state religion is not employed to make public prayer inoffensive to everyone. It is being fair and protecting the rights of Atheists, minority faiths, and Christians. Finally, the Establishment Clause does not give the state permission to allow only "Golden Rule" religion, which is criticizing those with specific religious beliefs while blessing those with the widely preferred belief systems. The Establishment Clause is not prohibiting religion; it is just giving fairness to all religious groups. The U.S. Supreme Court was given a major case in February 1999 involving the Santa Fe Independent School District v. Doe and was argued before the court on March 29, 2000. (Branch, 10) This is an important case that affects the rights of all public school students, as well as their families because the decision will decide whether public prayer will be allowed at sporting events. In fall 1995, hundreds of students and sport fans from the Santa Fe District in Texas attended a public high school football game. But before the game began, school officials turned over the microphone to a student elected by classmates to announce a prayer over the stadium's public address system. Two students in the audience, one Catholic and the other Mormon, recognized that it was not their prayer being read and felt something was wrong. The parents of the two children tried to negotiate with the Santa Fe school district, asking school officials to stop promoting prayer at school events. As those attempts...

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