The Lord’s Prayer in Public Schools

When I was in grade four, our morning routine changed. Not only would we stand up at 8:30, face the Canadian flag and sing the national anthem, but we also had to say the Lord’s Prayer. It didn’t really faze me. I grew up going to church and was proud of myself because I knew the words when not everybody else did. But even as a 10-year-old, I noticed that some of my classmates were not participating, and this didn’t bother me.

This might not be a strange anecdote if it were from 30 or 40 years ago, but I was in grade four less than 10 years ago. Looking back at it, I don’t understand why a public school would impose religion on children. I found it strange that you were supposed to say Happy Holidays instead of Merry Christmas, but every morning started off with, “Our Father who art in heaven…”

This has to be unconstitutional. Isn’t it violating some rights? Actually, when the provinces of Alberta and Saskatchewan joined confederation, they signed a document allowing them to have the Lord’s Prayer said in public schools. So much for separation of church and state.

Now I am in university and not in the same province as the town I grew up, but Facebook still updates me on the events that are going on around town. I was pleasantly surprised when I saw that my elementary school was planning on taking the Lord’s Prayer out of the morning announcements.  Even though the town I grew up in is mostly a Christian town, I don’t believe children should be saying the Lord’s Prayer every morning. Doing so is, in a way, favouring those children who have been brought up in a Christian household, which is more than unfair.

How will this affect the students? I read one Facebook status saying that the mother was concerned because her daughter said that the Lord’s Prayer made her feel safe. While this is heartwarming and slightly adorable, the child is still able to say the prayer at home before school. I don’t think this will have any major negative implications on the students because if religion does play a large role in their life, their parents will make sure they are taught their religion outside of public school, where it should be taught.

There is a time a place for the Lord’s Prayer but over the announcements at a public school is not one of them. It may promote at peace and understanding, but there has to be better way to promote these concepts without affiliating with religion.

What do you think? Should the school continue to play the Lord’s Prayer over the announcements?

Featured image from CB Midwest