The American school prayer tradition is gone.
Why is society less tolerant of prayers given for children inside public schools, despite prayers in schools as an established tradition for hundreds of years?
Society is becoming more secular and the US Constitution is interpreted to fit with the secular view.
Having no contact with prayer is a qualitative lack in a child's education.
One wonders why CHILDREN can't pray inside their school, but INMATES can read the Bible in prison?
At least some public schools allow the Bible to be taught as literature.
Welcome to the secular worldview.
Society doesn't want a stock market that rises based on helium (hot air). Likewise, society is becoming less tolerant of religious convictions perceived to be based on hot air. A growing segment of Americans agree that prayers for children in school are hot air.
Our worldview comes from our education and upbringing. Children are being taught that it's illegal to pray in a classroom while they receive a public education. Being taught early on that it's illegal to pray in school creates a suspicious worldview about prayer. Children are subconsciously taught that there is something wrong with prayer.
It doesn't matter if the story is entirely true. You just have to plant a story. Repeating the story shows the power of stories.
If a thought is repeated over and over again, people will believe it. What is being repeated over and over? Prayer is wrong when it's done in a school. That anti-prayer attitude seeps into the subconscious mind and leads to, there is something wrong with prayer.
Similarly, what is repeated and repeated in the news reports, people often believe, even if it's contrary to their own common sense experiences.
Spindrift favored testing positive prayers in the public schools. Some preliminary ideas were drawn-up despite the objections raised by the separation of Church and State issues and the repeated news reports about how prayers in school were an undermining danger to democracy.
The Spindrift question considered testing school prayer to learn if children are improved is some distinctive way or another.
One Spindrift member humorously said about objectiing to school prayer, "Maybe it's the separation of Church and Mental States." Another person said, "'Pray without ceasing' has become 'cease praying.'" (1st. Thessalonians 5:17, King James Version.)
Parents who bless a child and pray for a child are believed to prosper that child. Would Spindrift consider testing school prayer for the effects of spirituality on children?
(Answered by Bruce Klingbeil, in essence.) "Testing prayer to be considered as part of the social fabric, yes. I think there is something beneficial about prayer and spirituality being taught in the schools. A researcher could reasonably ask, 'Is there a qualitative lack in children without school prayer?'"
Bruce continued, "What happens when children pray is a legitimate area of research. However, testing school prayer is asking for trouble. The whole premise of it will stir up a hotbed of emotions and politics for people."
"Is the child praying along with his parents? Parents have to be worked into the equation, too. Parents and teachers' supportive prayers for a child improves some variable in that child. Scientists would have to decide to test a variable that is affected by prayer that can be judiciously monitored."
Here is what Spindrift would suggest about monitoring children and prayer:
- Testing the effects of school prayer on a child's developing qualities of mind is complex for it involves human beings. School prayer will take rigorous testing so the results aren't perceived as just another sociology study of children and of parents' political and religious attitudes about what should be taught in school.
- People ask Spindrift Inc. "Why don't you test people instead of plants?" It's because Spindrift seeks to do rigorous testing of prayer on simple subjects to establish a quantifiable relationship between the sequence of prayers and the sequence of results.
- How can a quantifiable relationship between invisible prayers and the children and parents who pray be established in a school setting? That question is the foremost scientific problem to be solved.
- Silent prayer would be preferable to verbal prayer because of the religious bias and political controversy caused by dogmatic verbal prayer.
- Tracking data is an enormous task. Tracking data takes volunteers and a paid staff including a statistician. Funding is necessary for testing a school prayer hypothesis.
What is the hypothesis for testing children in school?
Here is the school prayer hypothesis: Does prayer benefit school children or not? The Klingbeils contemplated what a hypothesis of quality prayer might do for children when they were most teachable. The hypothesis of testing children during their early school years paralleled with the Klingbeils' findings that seeds, cells, and plants were the most amenable to changes in their growth patterns during specific early stages of their development. Since changes and measurements registered best in the early stages of plants, perhaps changes and measurements registered best when people are the most teachable as in the early stages in the development of children.
Separation of Church and State
Prayer in school is a hotbed political issue that raises problems with the separation of church and state. However, if a study of prayer was done as a science project, one could end-run the emotional tirades caused by religion and the interpretation of the US Constitution.
President James Madison wrote: "Religion and government will both exist in greater purity the less they are mixed together." The Spindrift Team asked, "Is mixing religion and government the same thing as mixing prayer and government?" Not always. Prayer should be considered differently than being strictly perceived as church mixed with the state. Spindrift proposed that prayer could be shown to be beneficial for government and its constitutionally governed entities including schools.
Here is an example of school prayer that caused outrage for some people:Click CBS Baltimore
The ACLU said the following about these school prayers: "Not only are they unconstitutional, but they are divisive." Spindrift wonders how a scientific approach to positive prayers for children could be divisive? The question of prayer is lifted out of religion and put as a scientific proposition.
For some public schools, what is called mindfulness meditation has curved around the Constitutional argument enough to allow the practice of mindfulness. Like prayer and religion, but not called prayer or religion, mindfulness meditation gets away with being practiced in some schools. How was mindfulness allowed? Mindfulness states that it's in the science category, not the religion category.
Skeptics argue that mindfulness is stealth religion. Perhaps it is stealth religion. By believers positioning mindfulness as a system to condition the brain that does good and neuroscience also says it does good, mindfulness has wriggled its way into public schools.
When a child has no contact with prayer in childhood, the result is a qualitative lack in a child's education.
I had conversations with Bruce and John Klingbeil about prayer being taken out of American schools on the constitutional grounds that there is the separation of Church and State. It was obvious that children being told that they could not pray in school embeds in their minds that there is something wrong with prayer. When the children grow up, they have had no context from their schooling from at least some contact with prayer. This compulsory spiritual deficit in a child's education leads to secularization in society. A militant atheist would say, "Well, yeah. That is the point."