Should prayer be more prevalent in public schools?
Following the horrific shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School last Friday, this is one of the many cultural questions that is being asked, as Americans grapple with understanding the senseless rampage. In October, well before the horror unfolded in Connecticut, TheBlaze asked readers to weigh in on the debate over faith and its presence in public schools – a contentious subject that has, once again, come to the forefront this week.
The results of the Blaze poll are fascinating. When asked whether it is appropriate for public school teachers to lead prayer in the classroom, the majority of readers who participated in the poll answered affirmatively. While 54 percent contend that it is appropriate, 46 percent claim that it is not (1,658 individuals answered this question).
As for the relevance of prayer in public schools, 82 percent of respondents noted that it is sometimes pertinent for prayer to be present in public schools, with 18 percent rejecting this ideal.
People pray at Mountainside Assembly of God Church in Coal Township, Pa., during a interfaith prayer vigil, Sunday, Dec. 16, 2012, for the victims of Newtown, Conn. Twenty-six people, including 20 children, were killed in Friday's shooting rampage at Sandy Hook Elementary School. (Photo Credit: AP)
In a separate question, 64 percent of respondents said that they would support a teacher leading Christian prayers in the classroom, with 36 percent rejecting such a notion (of 1,686 participants).
As for reading out of the Bible during class time, 74 percent of the 1,674 people who answered this question support teachers taking such actions; 26 percent do not.
In contrast, 95 percent of those participating said that they would not be supportive of teachers leading Muslim prayers, with only five percent claiming that they would be. These proportions transition a bit when the words “Muslim prayers” were switched out for “non-Christian prayers.” The latter numbers were 88 percent and 12 percent, respectably.
Photo Credit: AP
These beliefs coincide with the notion that America is a Christian nation. While derived from a smaller sample size (975), 91 percent of readers who took the poll believe that “the USA is a Christian nation founded under Christian beliefs?” Only nine percent disagreed with this statement.
Despite concerns that sometimes arise over separation of church and state, many of these findings are not necessarily surprising. With the vast majority of Americans embracing Christian ideals, it’s no wonder there is widespread support for Christian invocations.
What do you think about prayer in schools and America's religious heritage? Let us know in the comments section below.