Radio Transcript Twana:Good evening, welcome to "What Matters" on Prayables Radio I am your host Twana James. I'm a praymaker, a mother, a wife and a member of the online community Prayables.com, where women of all faiths share the common goal of making prayer a priority in our eeryday lives. And tonight we are discussing the topic of prayer in schools, which is a long time debate in the United States. It was in 1962 when the U.S. Supreme court banned public school sanctioned prayer. And many argue that prayer should be allowed and encouraged in the public school systems but others say they don't want school officials, who's religious preference may be unclear, praying with their own children. The debate has found its way into all areas of the public education system such as prayer being banned from school graduations, school cafeterias, and in one case in East Brunswick, NJ a football coach was restricted from praying with his team players before games. Marcus Boyd was told he couldn't even kneel in silence while his players made a prayer themselves. So how do you feel about prayer in schools and are you in support of it or against it? How would you feel about a school official praying with your child? Would their religion matter to you? Tonight we discuss this issue and welcome your opinion. And let's start with a few people that I talked with earlier this week.Speaker #1:Yeah I think that would be a very positive thing, that if that's one of the things that has been taken out of the structure of the school and so I really think it just brings kind of like that serenity to the school.Speaker #2:I wouldn't mind depending on what religion they were because I wouldn't want them to be imposing another religion that is different from ours onto themSpeaker #3:I don't know, think it would be good for some people, then again not everyone believes in God you know? I pray every like...I pray for my food and everything. And so, it would be nice to pray in school.Speaker #4:I think prayer should be in school. It's a shame that they stopped that and it would be nice if they put it back in.Speaker #5:I think prayer in school has no place because it is geared towards a Christian way of thinking. Now if the school system or whatever would make allowance for different types of prayer, we would be fine, but other than that no, prayer shouldn't be in school. Twana:As you can see, opinions are varied and tonight joining me is Joanne, on line 1. Joanne, I know that you are a parent. Tell me what you think about prayer in school.Joanne:I feel that prayer should be allowed in school. I don't have a necessary issue with respects to how its done, but I know that my kids pray regardless of where they are. They've been taught to very much appreciate what they have and to give thanks and we are Christian, so they give thanks to their God, and everything including their food and they pray before meals. I think it is a good thing in my opinion for them for respect, I think they need to have a healthy respect for their creator and a healthy respect for what they have. And they begin the day with that as well.Twana:Do you remember a time when you were growing up praying in school or in the school system? I think I actually do, and I believe we are about the same age.Joanne:Yes. And we are the same age. I remember, not necessarily praying in school, but we had the pledge of allegiance and we had a moment of silence and we also had, if Iim not mistaken, I think we said some sort of a morning greeting which included God in the greeting as well. So it wasn't necessarily a prayer but we recognized God in our morning greeting, and this was a public school.Twana:Yeah, I remember saying the pledge of allegiance and saying "one nation under God" and then being retaught later "One nation indivisible, with liberties and justice for all" so I remember it going from one to the other. But I think it's ironic that it's been 50 years nearly, and this is still a topic of debate. Now the regulations and rules are different throughout the land as far as school districts are concerned. While school teachers and administrators are prohibited from leading organized prayer with students or making it a part of their curriculum, students by authority of the U.S. constitution are allowed to pray on their own in predetermined areas of the school; they can pray in school cafeterias over their food, or on the school bus and as a part of a student run club, of course with no determinned religion base. In some states a moment of silence is actually required prior to the beginning of school so that some students are allowed to pray but there are even now protests against having a moment of silence. With regulations so varied in the lines of what is appropriate is blurred the debate continues. I guess again, it's been 50 years since the ban on organized prayer was first enacted.So, the question is what guidelines do you give your children about prayer in school? And Joanne, you mentioned you teach your children how to pray; you know, have grace over their food before they eat. I thought I was doing the same thing until I recently learned that my 13 year old doesn't say grace before her meal at middle school because she says she once saw a fellow student scrutenized for doing the same thing. What do you tell your chilren to do if someone were to say something about there praying? I mean I know they're still young but I don't even know what her reaction would be because she's already afraid that praying in public would give her som scrutiny.Joanne:Well, first of all there's safety first, I don't condone it if it's a safety issue, definitely safety first. But they always, always recognize their rights and their priviledge of this free speech and recognizing it. And I also see my younger one who is 6 and he's begun to pray silently so he prays in school and he prays silently. I didn't teach him that but its apparant for him that he recognizes his ability to still have his moments and be very prayerful and mindful of other and use the same principal to recognize his spirituality, his religion, before eating, praying before he does things. In their school they do have their moment of silence, unfortunately as a working mom, I'm not there to see what they do during their moment of silence but I hope that they feel free enough to be able to pray as well during that time. Twana:Well Joanne I thank you so much for joining me and offereing your opinion. It is difficult for us mothers to know what our children are doing when they're out of our sight. No matter what your religious preference is you are hoping that they are carrying on whatever you are teaching them at home and you know in school and when they are not in your sight. And I think that what it comes to is respecting people but it's curious for me that people feel disrespected by prayer but it's also interesting as well and I would love to hear other peoples opinions in that regard as well.Seeing other people pray, people of different religions, people are very physical in their prayer in certain religions and I think that even seeing that might cause some people some discomfort, I don't know. But we do have another caller, we have Latisha on the line, but thank you so much for joining us Joanne and I hope that you will join us again on this show as well. You have a good evening. Latisha, I have you on the line, how is your opinion about prayer in school?Latisha:Well first of all let me just preface anything that I say with the fact that I am in wind down mode with my kids so you might here a scream or two.Twana:I'm a mom, we're all moms we understand.Latisha:But honestly, in regards with prayer in school, I'm torn. Part of me is more than open to the fact that we all need moments of silence and we all need a minute or two to reflect upon what is on our mind at any given moment whether it is a good thing that's happening in school or maybe even a bad thing. I think children periodically need to step aside from the busy activities of the day, decompress, and tap into their connection with the higher powers in order to clear their minds, prepare themselves the rest of the day, or even deal with teachers. Twana:Say one of your little ones comes home and says "Mommy, we had prayer in class today." What would your reaction be?Latisha:I would have to ask what was the prayer? That would be my first question. We are non-denominational. I grew up surrounded by so many faiths, I have a very difficult time accepting one as the only faith versus another or you know elevating one over another. So I would have a problem with finding out after the fact that there was prayer in school because I would like to know before hand. I would really think that the school would at least give me some notice that we are going to have prayer, especially since my understanding is it's illegal.There's a separation between church and state and I do believe that in a public school system, and that's where my children attend currently, there is no room for prayer. That's why I say I'm torn. I think if you have prayer in the classroom, if you're not specifically denominational and embracing of all faiths, you run the risk of offending someone. And there are times that I know everyone is concerned about being politically correct. I mean if someone told my son he had to say 10 hail Mary's and pray to Mary, I would be very upset.Twana:So would the teachers religious preference or whatever if it's the school administrator, maybe it's a coach for football or basketball, would their religious preference matter to you if they had prayer with your child on school grounds or even off school grounds, or even off school grounds? Latisha:I would like to say that it would not but at the same time I believe it would because again we are not practicing in my home and I would hate for my kids to feel uncomfortable just because someone took it upon themselves to practice their right to free speech or their right to prayer. And if my son were to say, "Well I don't go to church," that can lead to a whole other bag of worms, a whole other discussion, that I don't know is appropriate to say on a football field or when we're about to study math. So I'm torn because I am a very spiritual person, I do have my children respect and honor a higher power every day all day, but at the same time, is school the right place for it? If I'm not paying for Catholic school or any religious school, I don't believe that the public school system is the right place for religious observation.Twana:All right thank you so much Latisha, thank you so much for joining me and I thank you and respect your opinion completely and also I would like the thank my friend Joanne for tuning in tonight and joining in on the discussion. Certainly, prayer in school is a hot debate and it will continue, it's been ongoing for 50 years and it will continue. But as mothers and as praymakers we continue to pray for our children and as we close I would like to offer you this prayer from the Prayables.com prayer connection. Please listen.Amen.