Prayer - A Community at War

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From the film "Prayer - A Community at War" we analyze how objective the film is to both sides of the argument "should prayer be in school?" We also put ourselves in the situation where a parent wants their student to be allowed to pray in school and if we can exclude them from this prohibition.

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Created by CGray1285 over 5 years ago
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Prayer - A Community at War
1 Objectivity of the film.
1.1 The film takes an objective view
1.1.1 The film looked at both sides both for and against prayer in schools Law should be upheld to promote equality. Tradition takes precedence over law.
1.1.2 Film shows past cases of prayer in school in contrast to the case in Mississippi. Mississippi case was viewed as supporting equality and choice. Maryland case showed intolerance and removal of voluntary decisions.
1.2 Film was biased.
1.2.1 Pro Prayer side was shown as bullies and intolerant of different views from their own. On Oprah the son Kevin described people calling him names and mistreating him. The prayer in school supporters only viewed the possible positive effects of keeping prayer. Possible negative effects Students feel ostracized for believing something else. Promotes intolerance. Could cause issues for non christian teachers. Possible positive effects Students' ethics improve. Gives teachers a righteous excuse for rules. Could help students not feel helpless.
1.2.2 Lisa was shown as a leader standing up to an oppressive community.
1.3 Was the Film objective? Yes, the film does not support or try to remove religious practices led by students in schools as long as it is optional. In the film we are introduced to the plight of Lisa Herdahl when she tries to take prayer off the intercom and to keep religious freedom in schools. From here the film shows what the community sees as someone trying to change tradition for no good reason. Both sides have their supporting factors and the negatives each side have are shown equally.
2 Scenario: You are a teacher, and a parent who believes strongly in prayer in schools approaches you to schedule a conference where the matter can be discussed. The parent believes that prayer has been taken out of the schools and wants to discuss making an exception for her child. Describe the approach you would take to address the parent's concern during the conference. Note, there is always the option to defer to the principal, but for this assignment, you are knowledgeable enough on the topic to talk to the parent first, anticipating no need to solicit the principal's help.
2.1 Understanding where the parent is coming from.
2.1.1 What does the parent want for their child?
2.1.2 How is the child being kept from praying on their own?
2.1.3 Is there a student organization for prayer?
2.1.4 How much presence in the school is sufficient?
2.2 Seperation of church and state as well as freedom of religion take precedence in these matters.
2.2.1 As a faculty member if I were to take a side and support prayer for one child, I would then have to promote religious equality for all students.
2.3 Pros and Cons for supporting religious practices in school.
2.3.1 Pros Students can have communities composed of their peers. Gives students the ability to move from school to school and find like minded individuals. Could even have small groups inside of the communities to help with tutoring and motivation to be more involved in school. Student organizations existing alongside one another could promote tolerance and understanding. Promotes diversity.
2.3.2 Cons Must support any and all religious practice as long as it is legal and students don't force it on each other. Largest religious group could try and force others to feel out of place or unwelcome. If a teacher supports one group over another students may not feel that they are being graded fairly. Intolerant students could be given "righteous" reasons for discrimination. Possible repercussions from the greater community.
2.3.3 The question remains: Can/Will I make an Exception for her child? Given the amount of controversy this subject brings I would not make an exception. The community has numerous avenues where families can ensure the religious integrity of their children. School should be a place of learning facts and gaining knowledge not developing faith and belief. If the mother still wanted some way for her child to stay religiously safe at school then I would suggest that she find some like minded families whose children attend the school and promote a friendship or some other way for the students to watch out for each other and not show any sort of rule breaking or favoritism to one student or a group of students. Their religious beliefs are not my concern but their education is.

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