It was a mistake to read about Janine Turner’s push to bring prayer “back” to school so early in the morning.
During those first few quiet moments—just before I rouse my middle-schooler for early morning band, then my daughter for her grade-school patrol duties, then my youngest for the nightmare that is waking up for second grade every single day—the last thing I want to read is anyone suggesting 15 minutes more of anything during the school day. Even if it is prayer. Especially if it’s prayer, actually.
Then came my next mistake of the day: reading what Facebook commenters had to say about the article. “It’s about time we put God back in school.” “No coincidence: schools got violent when we took God out of them!” Likes all around. These self-proclaiming Christian people were apparently totally comfortable with the idea that we are powerful enough to remove God from the world he created. Fine with this blasphemy that we can take God out of schools, just like we can take Christ out of Christmas.
This conception of God, though, is not one that I can get behind. I object to any mission to bring prayer “back” to school because I can’t support the faulty theology—downright heresy—of implying God is only around to hear our prayers when the building sanctions his presence.
Prayer never left schools. And God never did either. To suggest otherwise should make us shudder. And yet, that’s what campaigns full of good God-fearing folks seem to be saying.
To what avail? What are we communicating with our laments over godless classrooms and demands for established prayer times? We insinuate we have the power to take and put ...1
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