Author’s Note: The basic premise of this article is that allowing prayer in public schools can only help to alleviate the root causes of horrific mass school shootings. One never knows the impact that prayer can have on a child who feels lost, depressed, suicidal, or otherwise suffers from some form of mental anguish. President Reagan saw the need for prayer in public schools and proposed a Constitutional amendment to allow it. Now is the time for such an amendment to be made part of the United States Constitution.
In the aftermath of the recent Florida mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, people are looking for solutions to once and for all prevent such shootings from ever occurring again in America’s public schools. Among the proposed solutions are greater gun control, enhanced background checks, armed teachers or other armed personnel on school grounds, and so forth. It can be argued that these proposals only deal with the symptoms of a deranged person intent on causing horrific death and suffering, while overlooking the root causes of why such a person commits such crimes.
In an effort to address the root causes for such actions, the Florida legislature overwhelmingly passed a bill (HB 839) to require all public schools in the state to post the state motto, “In God We Trust”, in a conspicuous place in each school. The sponsor of the bill, Representative Kim Daniels, states that this bill is an effort to bring “light” into public schools, i. e., that God “is the light, and our schools need light in them like never before.”
In discussing the reintroduction of God back into the public school arena, it is well to realize that the great majority of Americans profess a belief in God or a universal spirit. A June 2016 Gallup poll found that 89 percent of Americans polled answered “yes” to the question “Do you believe in God or a universal spirit?”
Given the above willingness of law makers to reintroduce mention of God in public schools and the knowledge that 89 percent of Americans believe in God (or a universal spirit), it is time to launch a serious effort to have President Reagan’s proposed amendment (or a similar amendment) made part of the Constitution, thus guaranteeing the right to offer prayer in the nation’s public schools and at other public institutions. Below is the text of President Reagan’s proposed amendment:
”Nothing in this Constitution shall be construed to prohibit individual or group prayer in public schools or other public institutions. No person shall be required by the United States or by any state to participate in prayer.”
Such an amendment would, in effect, overturn the Supreme Court’s 1962 decision that prohibits organized prayer in public schools. For sure, such an amendment will encounter severe opposition, but this opposition represents only 10-15 percent of the American population. It is time for the great majority of Americans to “rule” on putting prayer back in our public schools!
About the author: Paul Gardiner lives in Hoschton, Georgia, and is an avid Constitutionalist.