I remember when I was younger and a True Believer in the Fundamentalist view of Christianity (what I’d probably be if I were a believer today is a topic for later…) and probably the biggest thing I always heard about was Prayer In School. It was always “The Supreme Court took away Prayer In School, then came pot and drugs and disobedience and crime and the evil known as liberalism (with their evil minions known as liberals). Return prayer in school, and the nation turns out right.
Now, I find it strange. First off, why would God take revenge on a ruling by a body of nine august men (and women) on the rest of the nation is beyond me.
Second, what is the mechanism behind Prayer In School ™ making things right in schools. Surely things weren’t so perfect in America before 1962 because of School Prayer. Nor could things have been so proper in the rest of society because teachers in school were busy making kids bow down their heads for fifteen seconds before hand. And most certainly the blacks in their “Separate-But-Equal” schools were getting educated because they too had to bow their heads down for fifteen seconds every day.
The only thing I can think of to make sense of things is “Social Control.” When kids prayed, they were made aware that behind that old crusty woman at the head of the class stood their parents, their friends’s parents, the neighborhood adults, their pastor/priest, and the police. Plus possibly the armies of angels, saints and God himself.
Now the schools are gleefully dissed by society. Neighborhoods are dissolved, with privacy rights paramount. Neighbors don’t really know each other, and too many of them are two-check families, meaning there’s no army of mothers watching over everyone.
And I doubt that “Prayer In Public Schools” (not that the Christian right wants it back, having decided to abandon public schools and pray for their dissolution) would make the world better. I just can’t see it.