Prayer and Human Rights

prayer & flag

I found this first poem when I was living in Mena, AR. It was written by a little girl and it was praised by many Christians at that time in support school prayer. I wrote a response poem back then, but I didn’t post it because I know what a sensitive issue it is among my friends and family.

I am not against school prayer, but I am against the government promoting a particular religion above another,  even if that religion is my own. There has been a great deal of harm done over the years in the name of God. If I expect my own religious views to be respected, I must be able to give equal respect to others.

http://www.democraticunderground.com/discuss/duboard.php?az=view_all&address=104×5235247

Now I sit me down in school
Where praying is against the rule
For this great nation under God
Finds mention of Him very odd.

If Scripture now the class recites,
It violates the Bill of Rights.
And anytime my head I bow
Becomes a Federal matter now.
Our hair can be purple, orange or green,
That’s no offense; it’s a freedom scene.
The law is specific, the law is precise.
Prayers spoken aloud are a serious vice.

For praying in a public hall
Might offend someone with no faith at all
In silence alone we must meditate,
God’s name is prohibited by the state.

We’re allowed to cuss and dress like freaks,
And pierce our noses, tongues and cheeks.
They’ve outlawed guns, but FIRST the Bible.
To quote the Good Book makes me liable.

We can elect a pregnant Senior Queen,
And the ‘unwed daddy,’ our Senior King.
It’s “inappropriate” to teach right from wrong,
We’re taught that such “judgments” do not belong.

We can get our condoms and birth controls,
Study witchcraft, vampires and totem poles.
But the Ten Commandments are not allowed,
No word of God must reach this crowd.

It’s scary here I must confess,
When chaos reigns the school’s a mess.
So, Lord, this silent plea I make:
Should I be shot; My soul please take!
Amen

My Response:

Now I sit me down in school
Where public prayer’s against the rule
The reason that this nation’s great
Is separation of church and state

Public schools can’t spout one creed
It’s not their place in prayer to lead
For if teachers in the public schools
de-cide which religion rules

Do you really think they could agree
There are teachers of all faiths, you see.
The law is specific, the law is right.
God needs no government oversight

No one wants to stop school prayer
And Christian leaders be aware
Those who insist in prayer to lead,
see Matthew 6, it’s a good read.

Remember when, in times gone by
the teachers prayed to God on high
back then schools were lily white
those colored folk were not in sight

Ah, times were better way back then
God fearing people didn’t sin
The KKK would quote the bible
Jim Crow ruled, no one was liable

Back then in the good ol’ days
Teachers often were old maids
See, married women just weren’t hired
And married teachers heard ‘you’re fired.’

Until the twentieth century
Women were just property
A woman’s place was in the home
Barefoot and pregnant (not alone)

In old, old days so bright and sunny
The rule of thumb protected mummy
Wife beating with a stick too big
Was under law prohibited.

Back then, in the good ol’ days
Poor children worked ten hour days
School was for the privileged few
After all, it was their due

So these rants for public prayer
Free citizens all should beware.
Wise founding fathers did forsee
No future in theocracy

Official prayer in public halls
Really does divide us all
In silence when we meditate
I thank my Lord there’s no church-state.
Amen.

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About Ken Sayers

I'm currently employed by a children's home where my wife and I care for a cottage of girls who have been displaced from their families. I'm a middle age man with two grown children of my own and one grandchild. I have worked as a United States Marine, a youth minister, a preacher, a childcare worker, and a truck driver. My hobbies include photography, horses, playing guitar, writing, and fitness.
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