Just an observation really. Whenever I read about American religion I encounter the “God was removed from school’s in 1963: Bring back School Prayer” groups.
Yet does prayer in school actually lead to theistic belief? I attended an English state school, where religious observation, in the form of a school assembly and “corporate act of worship” is actually a legal requirement. I prayed every morning, afternoon and lunchtime with my class mates. I also studied Religious Education (mandatory to 16), and continued with it to postgrad level.
Yet all these things did was render me an avowed atheist. It was many many years after I left school before I returned to my religion… So if school prayer and religious education are in fact desirable from the viewpoint of proselytising, why is the UK so overwhelmingly secular compared with the US?
I have asked this question repeatedly on Christian forums, yet never recieved a sensible answer. Any thoughts? England is a “Christian Nation”, with an Established Church. Does education in religion really serve the purposes of evangelism? Or is quite the contrary true?
If so, did the Religious Right make a tactical error to try and put God back in school?
While there are many factors why religion is treated differently in the US compared to the UK, I think the most significant is by having an established church, the UK puts religion into the same framework as taxes, i.e. a neccessary evil but not something you’d get involved in if you had the choice.
Religion in the US is much more active and anti-intellectual in the South and the Mid-West, much less so in the north-east and the west coast. This aligns with economic divides.
Also, most of the Religious Right read the Bible very selectively using it as a tool to reinforce their socio-political beliefs. It’s use has more in comon with Mao’s Little Red Book as a tool for supporting propaganda.
Christ’s message is boiled down to:
1) America is number 1.
2) God hates fags.
3) Guns are good.
4) Abortion is evil.
Pretry much everything else is irrelevant. You’ll notice how Sarah Palin’s daughters fornication was considered a non-issue by the right in the last election.
I’ve said for years that “god in school” makes no difference. I spent 13 years in Catholic schools where we prayed before every class period, before lunch, before we left for the day, etc (at least 8-10 times a day), went to Mass at least once a week, had religion/theology class every single day and there was really no difference from our schools and the public schools.
My high school (which had 2000 GIRLS in it) was filled with cussing in the halls that would shame a sailor, drinking and smoking in the bathroom (our senior prom was almost canceled because of that), girls sleeping around, pregnant girls (my best friend got pregnant her senior year), fights…I witnessed my first “real” fight when 2 girls got into it over some boy in the middle of the cafeteria. They knocked over tables and chairs and were beating the crap out of each other. It took 4 teachers, all of them male (they just happened to be in the cafeteria at the time) to pull them apart.
The school was vandalized constantly. At my brother’s Catholic boys school they had constant gang violence and fights every afternoon in the parking lot.
I never saw how praying in a public school would make any difference to kids’ behavior if going to a religious school had no effect.