Prayer in Schools

Johari Reynolds, Staff Writer

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Last week, Drew Brees, New Orleans Saints quarterback, received backlash on the issue because he was seen in a promotional video for “Bring Your Bible to School Day.” Focus on the Family have been hosting “Bring your Bible to School Day” for the past five years. The purpose of this event is to “celebrate religious freedom and share God’s love with their friends” according to the coordinators of this event. In this promotion video, Brees is seen sharing his favorite bible verse and encouraging kids to “live out [their] faith.” The reason many people are bothered is because Focus on the Family is a known anti-LGBT organization. This is what Jesse Smith (their name was changed for the purposes of this article), UNO academic who studied sociology had to say: 

“The country is based on Christian values whether we like it or not so naturally there is going to be biased toward that religion. There should be freedom to bring whatever religious text or religious discussion, but organization are creating a day for just Christians there needs to be one for every religion or no religious person. Drew Brees supports the bring your bible to school day and also supports the organization, Focus on the Family, who is also anti LGBT and has history of conversion therapy. Drew Brees says he is not against LGBT people and loves everyone. He said he had no idea the program was anti lgbt, but continues to support the organization and its agenda and has been supporting them since 2010. I feel like if you really didn’t support that organization then you would have come out with an apology and disassociated yourself with that organization. Instead he is defending his actions and saying there is nothing wrong with the commercial or what he is doing.“

 

Ethan Dennis, a member of the LGBTQ+ community at the University of Louisiana at Monroe, mentioned a different point, “Drew Brees should either do his research if he wants to be a public figure outside of football or just stay on the field. Kudos to Brees for trying to stand behind what he believes in as a Christian However, everyone makes mistakes, and the commercial doesn’t feature affiliation with anti-LGBTQ+ legislation, so I believe we should be understanding-this time.”

 

Many University of New Orleans faculty, staff, and students seem to have been affected by the notion as well as by other scandals that followed the argument about having prayer in schools. “They should not be able to regulate students praying in school unless they can be sure that all religions are equally taught, promoted and respected. I don’t believe this is possible in America’s overarching, Islamophobic society.” said Ethan Dennis. Some University of New Orleans anthropology and sociology scholars were asked about the issue. They shall remain anonymous. 

 

“Okay so when it comes to prayer in school, in my opinion I do not think it should be a mandatory event. Praying and worshipping in public is a right and constitutional right at that but it is unconstitutional when your in school and it is mandatory that everybody pray and when the teacher prays and forces everybody else to pray. It not only segregates the people that are not Christian and people who pray in different ways but also this violates the right of separation between church and state even though it very clear that this country is built upon Christian ideology. Public schools are run by the federal government and open to the public of different religions. There should not be target audience of just Christians and it causes hardships for people who do not pray in that way or believe in god in general.”

 

Drew Brees did apologize and said he did not know about Focus to Family viewpoint on LGBT. However, scandal aside, prayer in school does raise questions about what could happen to children in our society. Dennis believes that “introducing prayer into schools could ultimately infringe upon every America’s rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” There are many viewpoints on the matter and what happens in the school system affects all of us. Even though people have different cultures and religious beliefs, education in our society still has set the foundation for our children. 

 

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