A practical view of school prayer
Date: Mon, 21 Nov 94 15:04:41 PST
Subject: A practical view of school prayer
Forwarded-by: Dan Tenenbaum <email@example.com>
Forwarded-by: Therese McRae <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Children, pull out your chickens
by Roland Nethaway
Waco (Texas) Tribune-Herald (reprinted without permission)
Let's quiet down, children. Now that we've finally gotten rid of that
terrible Supreme Court decision, I can again lead you in prayer.
So children, let's get ready for our morning prayer. Did everyone remember
to bring their chicken?
Mary, where is your chicken? That's all right, Mary. Don't cry. As I told
you yesterday, if you can't afford a chicken, the school is required to
provide one. I've got plenty of extra chickens up here by the prayer mats,
meditation crystals and peyote buds. Did anyone else forget to bring their
As you know from your schedule, children, today I will lead you in a
Santeria prayer. It's a recognized, ancient religion. Now I know some of
you have complained that many of these prayers don't represent your beliefs.
But remember, they do represent the sincere beliefs of many Americans. I
promise you that eventually we will lead the class in a prayer representing
your own religion.
But you'll have to be patient. There are hundreds of Christian denominations
with all sorts of beliefs in the United States. And there are hundreds more
non-Christian religions recognized in America. If your religion isn't on
our list, just let us know and we'll make sure it's added. We don't want to
leave anyone out. That's not the American way.
Everyone knows that you have never been prevented from praying in school,
but for years you were denied having teachers and principals lead you in
prayer. You should be thankful.
Johnnie, I don't know what you're doing to that chicken, but stop it. You
need to straighten up and be serious. This is important. If it were not
important, then why did 224 Texas counties and 51 Texas cities go to the
trouble to pass resolutions supporting the reinstatement of state-sponsored
prayer in our public schools? I'll tell you why, because lots and lots of
people said the loss of state-sponsored prayers led to drug use, crime,
violence, teenage pregnancy, dropouts, family disintegration, child-abuse,
pornography, racism, poor academic achievement, overcrowded prisons and lots
of other bad things.
Before we start, remember that tomorrow we will have a traditional Wicca
prayer and we'll try to cast a spell on the press. Remember to bring a lock
of your mother's hair.
Johnnie, keep that chicken quiet. What is it, Lucy? If you want me to tell
you when I will lead you in a prayer of your religion, you'll have to tell
me what it is. You can't look at someone and tell their personal beliefs.
Unitarian? What's coming up...
Let's see, coming up we have Christian Science, Amish, Tibetan Buddhism,
Seventh-Day Adventist, Comanche, Zoroastrianism, Druze, Calvinist Baptist,
Unification, Hasidism and Deliverance Pentecostal. That one should be
interesting. I think that's when you bring a rattlesnake and a cup of
I don't see it coming up right away, Lucy. Let's see, we have the Reformed
Druids of North America, American Vegan, Shanti Yoga, Evangelical
Presbyterian, Baha'i World Faith, Church of Satan, Gnostic Orthodox, House
of Yahweh, Agasha Temple of Wisdom, Church of Metaphysical Christianity,
Jain Meditation, Catholic Charismatic, People of Destiny, Branch Davidian,
I don't know, Lucy. It doesn't look like Unitarian is coming up any time
soon. But if we don't lead you in a prayer of your own church or religion
this year, the government requires that we lead you in a prayer of your
religion at least once before you graduate. This way, it's fair for
OK, kids, on the count of three, yank the heads off your chickens and I'll
start today's prayer.
© 1994 Peter Langston