Prayer In Public Schools

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Prayer in the Public School System PHI 200 Instructor: March 21, 2011 The question of whether prayer should be allowed in the Public School System is a question that has been debated for many decades. The debate started in 1962 and runs still today. In this debate some have said that if all religions cannot be represented then none should be represented. Prayer in public schools became an issue in 1960: When Madalyn Murray O'Hair sued the Baltimore MD school system on behalf of her son William J Murray, because he was being forced to pray in school. Ultimately, her actions and the actions of the American Atheist Organization resulted in the Supreme Court ruling of 1962. (Tragically, she and her son disappeared in August of 1995. In January 2001, a full five and a half years after they were last seen, the bodies of the Murray-O’Hairs were finally found on a sprawling ranch near the little town of Camp Wood, Tex.) The Supreme Court's previous last major school-prayer ruling was announced in 1992, and barred clergy-led prayers -- invocations and benedictions -- at public school graduation ceremonies. "The Constitution forbids the state to exact religious conformity from a student as the price of attending her own high school graduation," the court said then. The ruling was viewed by many as a strong reaffirmation of the highest court's 1962 decision banning organized, officially sponsored prayers from public schools. But in 1993, the justices refused to review a federal appeals court ruling in a Texas case that allowed student-led prayers at graduation ceremonies. That appeals court ruling, which is binding law in Louisiana and Mississippi, conflicts with another federal appeals court's decision barring student-led graduation prayers in nine Western states. (Prayer in public school, 2010) In Colonial America the schools were mostly run by the

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