This morning I read a story about the Medina Valley Independent School District (Texas) being sued by the "Americans United for Separation of Church and State" on behalf of Danny and Christa Schultz whose children attend a school in the district. The parents are upset that there is a student-led benediction at the graduation ceremony.
Every time I read a story like this, I shake my head in wonder at the level to which some parents go to will use their children to make a name for themselves. And without a doubt, I believe that is what this is all about. In this internet-savvy age, the Schultz's can get their name all over the country in just a matter of minutes. What better way than to use your kids to get famous? We've seen it time and time again? It's disgraceful.
When you get right down to it, is prayer that harmful especially for kids in today's society? The world has become a rough place and kids need all the help they can get to prepare for what awaits them when they graduate high school and go beyond the reach of mom and dad's protection. If prayer at the graduation ceremony, which for a seventeen-year old, is the biggest moment of their life to date, helps them get through it and appreciate all that they have, what is the harm? The students who don't pray are not forced to participate, this is something the students lead and participate in if they want to, it's not required
When I graduated high school in 1987, there was a benediction, and I wasn't offended. I was raised in a household with a father who was raised Christian and a mother who was raised Jewish. Neither religion was forced upon me while at the same time I learned a little about both sides. When I went to friend's houses or attended church with friends or family, prayer never bothered me. The way I saw it, prayer seemed to be a good thing for those people participating in it and how can you not like something that is good? We lived in the Bible Belt and most of our classmates and neighbors were Southern Baptist. Sure, there were a few people who attempted to force their religious beliefs on us, but for the most part, my experience with faith throughout my life, especially when I was a kid, has been positive. The only problems I ever had (and continue to have) were people who told me I was going to hell for not believing as they did and people who attempted to remove any hint of religion or faith from every aspect of life, period. I learned quickly that there are radical ideas on both ends of the spectrum.
To Danny and Christa Schultz and others like them I would ask why they are so offended by prayer? Why are some people so afraid of a belief in a higher power? If you don't believe, that's fine, but why would you want to infringe upon other people's desire to believe? If prayer helps a kid have hope, how on earth could that be a bad thing? Kids need all the help they can get. If your kid chooses not to participate, that is their right and no one should force them but for you to force your beliefs or rather lack of them on others? That's not right either. Live and let live. I mean really, in the whole scheme of things going on in the world today, is a voluntary student-led prayer at a high school graduation really something we should be worried about?
Oh and while we're at it, if there is this alleged separation of church and state, how come in many areas of this country, you can't buy beer on Sunday? Maybe when they finally defeat those awful kids who want to pray before their graduation ceremony, Danny and Christa Schultz can hire the Americans United for Separation of Church and State to tackle this issue? Because it really is a bummer when you run out of beer while watching the big game.