[saymaListserv] Fw: New School Prayer: Print this Out

M. C. Mykel mmykel at mindspring.com
Sat May 6 15:50:49 JEST 2000

Dear Friends;
    I have waited over a week to respond to the New School Prayer posted
here because although I have been a Friend for almost thirty years I still
have not learned to talk like a Quaker and always 'be nice'.  However, I can
restrain myself no longer.  I don't want to do or say anything that will
discourage anyone from posting whatever they like on this list serve.
However, I find the damned thing quite offensive.
    Many of us have worked hard over the years to protect ourselves and our
children from religious indoctrination by the the State and by the dominant
minority. This bit of doggerel trivializes two of the most vital protections
we have, freedom from religion and freedom from brainwashing.
    The basic premise of this "Prayer" is not just a misunderstanding of the
law and practice of religion in school, it is a deliberate lie.  The writer
knows that he or she is actually free to stop and pray (with head bowed or
unbowed) at any time and at any place he or she chooses.  The prayer may be
silent, vocal, kneeling, or rolling on the floor and weeping.  It may be
done in algebra class, in the middle of a football game, either alone or
with friends.  If this behavior is disruptive to the education of others
that is something the school officials may have to deal with but that is
another issue.  If people need the State's approval or support to practice
their religious beliefs we have to wonder how sincere or deeply held they
may be.
    The rest of the "Prayer" strikes me as more of the elitist, sexist,
racist, classist,  homophobic propaganda that the conservative right uses to
slander the public education so that they will not have to support it.
Remember, there is now less violence in the schools than at any time in the
past.  And as for pregnant prom queens -- why not?  Do you remember the
horrible things we used to do to girls who 'got caught' back in the 50s and
60s?  If you talk to the kids with the dyed hair and nose rings (and brown
skin) you may be surprised to find that they are pretty sharp and doing
fine.  The problems that our schools do have are caused not by a lack of
prayer but by the poverty that so many kids still live in.
      The conservative religious right fears and despises diversity and the
freedom of others to act and think for themselves.  In my opinion, the
people who complain about the lack of prayers and the ten commandments in
schools are not really concerned about morality and faith.  They really
regret the loss of the social control that they formerly exercised over
others and this "prayer' is just another example of their frustration.
    I do not believe that Friends need to unite with them on these matters.
    Now that I have all of that off my chest I feel better and I hope that
we can still be friends. Let us rejoice in our diversity.
    See ya'll, Mike Mykel (Atlanta Monthly Meeting)

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