No Prayers, Please!

Here I go being controversial again!

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Before you watch the video....

May I preface all this by letting you know how much I love Jesus? One day, I will write about my "conversion" experience. Truly, I am the biggest Jesusy Bible Thumper you could ever imagine.

Annnnnnnddddd I stay pissed off at my Christian siblings because...????? Well, we are so inconsiderate of other human beings, but I digress…

Please watch the video and come back!


Liminal Space with Iyabo is a reader-supported publication. To receive new posts and support my work, consider becoming a free or paid subscriber.


The Original Rant

82 comments and 157 shares tells me my “train of thought” rant resonated with my community over on Facebook last week.  Little did I know that this sentiment of separating church and state was going to blow up in a more significant manner. Read along below.

Unequivocally, I do NOT want prayers in (public) schools.

Why?

Because ...  um... er... well... whose prayers?

Not all prayers are the same.

Hindu prayers? What is my business?

Muslim prayers? In Arabic that I do not understand?

Jewish prayers? In Hebrew that I do not understand?

Buddhist prayers? What do I know about that?

Rastafarian prayers?

Shinto prayers?

African Religious Tradition prayers?

Pagan prayers?

Animist prayers?

Native American prayers?

O, yeah. People that say they want prayers in schools only want Christian prayers, right?

Excellent. I have a rich and wonderful prayer life as a Christian so maybe this option might coulda, shoulda make sense, right?

But what do we do about people of other religions?

Force them to observe our prayers when I would never want to be forced to observe their prayers since mine are so important to me?

No. That is not very Jesus-ey like. And I really like/love/am amazed by the Jesus dude.

Ok, so if we figure out what to do about believers of other faiths...

Yeah, back to prayer...

Christian prayer?

Hmmmm.....

Whose Christian prayer?

(Oregon Historical Society) Meeting of the KKK, probably in Portland, Ore., in the 1920s.

Those in the photo above?

Catholic prayer?

Kneeling prayer?

Standing up prayer?

Santa Claus prayers?

Big Daddy in the sky prayers?

Speaking in tongues prayer?

Silent prayers?

Praise prayers?

Imprecatory prayers?

Repentance prayers?

Consecration Prayer?

The sinner's prayer?

Prayers of Blessings?

Prayers of petition?

Prayers of expiation?

Prayers of intercession?

Prayers of repentance?

Mormon prayers?

Prayers of progressive Christians?

Prayers of conservative Christians?

Prayers of Christian nationalists?

Prayers of Evangelical Christians?

Baptist prayers?

In Jesus's name?

Or in Christ's name?


Honestly, I really do not trust the prayers of not anybody unless I ask them to pray for me. If I do not know you, why are you praying for me? Did I ask you? What if we do not believe the same things? What if what you are praying for me about is not what I want?

I cannot trust any aspect of my prayer life to some Christian Nationalist Fundamentalist Evangelical hater of humanity.

No Sirree!

No thank you.

For me, prayers are at my invitation.

What the hell are we talking about here?

Nope. No. Naw. No way.

No to prayers in (public) school.

It is harmful.

It is not inclusive.

It is a tool of white supremacy culture.

It is a tool of imperialism.

It is a tool of domination.

It is unconstitutional.

#InclusionMatters

The Social and Cultural Issue at Hand:

On Tuesday this week, June 21, SCOTUS (Supreme Court of The United States) agreed that a law blocking taxpayer dollars from funding religious school tuition was an unconstitutional "discrimination against religion" in theCarson versus Makin case.

Maine has an educational program which allows rural residents who live far away from a public school to attend a private school using taxpayer dollars so long as the school was not a religious school. "Families who wanted to send their children to Christian schools challenged the program, arguing that excluding religious schools violated their right to exercise their faith," and SCOTUS ruled this program was unconstitutional as it was "discrimination against religion."

So, what is the problem?

One of the schools at issue in the case says it expects its teachers to integrate biblical principles with their teaching in every subject” and teaches students to spread the word of Christianity.” The other school, says it seeks to "develop within each student a Christian worldview and Christian philosophy of life.”

Both schools have admissions policies that permit them to "deny enrollment to students based on gender, gender identity, sexual orientation and religion," and both schools require that their teachers are "born-again Christians.”

Since 2005, when John Roberts became chief justice, SCOTUS has ruled in favor of religious organizations in orally argued cases, 85 percent of the time.

A handful of other cases that SCOTUS has ruled in favor of the religious (Christian) group:

  • A Catholic social services agency in Philadelphia refusing to work with same-sex couples for adoption of foster children.

  • Religious schools in Montana should having the same access to scholarships and funds as other private schools.

  • A 40-foot cross honoring soldiers who died in World War I, remaining on state property in suburban Maryland.

  • Employers with religious objections denying contraception coverage to female workers.

  • Employment discrimination laws not applying to many teachers at religious schools.

  • and on and on.

Analysis:

If I lived in rural main, and the public school was too far away, and there was a great Christian school that I wanted to send my kid to, and let the state government pay for it, of course, I would want that. I must pay my taxes anyway! Why should I pay tuition out of pocket when the State cannot provide me a public school for my kid nearby?

Well, how do I feel if that were a Jewish family, and my tax dollars was paying for a Jewish kid to go to a Jewish school? Truth be told, I would probably investigate my Christian kid going to the Jewish school also to learn about the roots of Christianity. I would not mind one bit.

Catholic school? Love it. They have been doing education right for a long time.

What about a Muslim school? Hmmm... I dunno. I would not be interested in my kid going to such a school, but I do think Muslim families should be able to send their kids to a Muslim school too. They have rights too.

But what if I do not have kids, or my kids are in a nearby public school, and I am aware of my tax dollars paying for private religious schools for all these kids and their various religions, how do I feel about my State funding, say.... a Mormon School with oaths to everything Mormon, a Pagan school run by Wiccans with oaths to Divine Witchcraft, an extreme sect of Christianity or a Muslim school that enforces Sharia law? How about schools by Christian Nationalist Fundamentalist Evangelical haters of non-white humanity?

What about a school that only teaches atheism as its basis? (Actually, I would be ok with this. I don't want my kids learning spirituality in a space where I do not have a voice as a parent of that child, but I digress.)

Where do we draw the line?

Why should my tax dollars support that?

I must be fair. If I can get such benefits because of my religion, then any other human being must get the same exact benefits. Period.

And I am not willing to extend that benefit to every human being as there are many religions and cults/perspectives/denominations that I do not agree with, and some that I think are fundamentally evil. I am convinced that all religions have done so much harm in the name of their faith.

It is also unconstitutional to prefer Christianity in public policy over any other religion, although it is my personal faith tradition.

What say you?

Liminal Space with Iyabo is a reader-supported publication. To receive new posts and support my work, consider becoming a free or paid subscriber.

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