I received another one of those e-mails urging me to back prayer in the schools. This one began with a take off of the nursery rhyme Mary Had a Little Lamb and so I got sucked into reading it.
I usually delete these e-mail campaigns but because this one was forwarded by a friend in Australia I found myself writing a reasoned reply. You want prayers in the schools? But what prayers? Do we rotate to give equal time to all or base it upon the majority of kids in the classroom?
I frankly have nothing against prayer at various events. I frankly find invocations comforting at the beginning of conferences where weighty issues are going to be discussed. And I have attended many a twelve step meeting that ended with the holding of hands and the recital of The Lord's Prayer. I love attending churches of different denominations and bowing my head in reverence along with everyone else.
Unfortunately the people that are most advocating prayer in the schools are not just about these moments of shared quiet or inspiration. Prayer in school campaigns have noting to do with the belief in God. They are the about the desire of certain fundamentalist Christian sects that want to make our government a theocracy. In that theocracy it would be a capital offense (death penalty) to utter any prayer but the one they approved. In fact texting OMG would be taking the Lord's name in vain and get you hauled before a tribunal.
All other religions but theirs or any prayer to other than Jesus would be a capital offense. So no Zen mediation. No Muslim bows to the east. No Shaloms. It would be a death penalty offense to call God Allah or any other name used currently by the many religions of this world. It would be a crime to be a Hebrew or a Buddhist or a Gnostic or a Wiccan.
I found it interesting that this particular e-mail campaign chose Mary had a little lamb. It's fleece was white as snow . . . In their perfect world where prayer was back in the schools there would be no other colors of lambs. All the black and brown and red fleeces of lambs would be gone. Doesn't this sound a lot like Hitler and his chosen Aryan people?