Thursday, September 27, 2012

Education Doesn't Have a Prayer

Gov. Phil Bryant

Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant has come with an answer to the educational problems in this country. Prayer.  Admittedly, that’s not the most original idea, but he’s willing to advocate on its behalf.  Recently, for example, he told a group of school children all about the concept.

He said that school prayer would "let people know there is a God," adding, "those children should know that He does care about them, particularly within their classroom."

Of course, Gov. Bryant isn’t alone in the effort to shove religion down the throat of innocent youngsters.  The rich loam of religious fanaticism never ceases to produce a bumper crop of forbidden fruit in this country.
I    South Carolina, School District Five of Lexington and Richland counties have been sued over a district policy requires benedictions and invocations at school events.

·         In Louisiana, the state is using tax dollars to fund a church school under a program that allows low-income families in failing schools to move into an alternative private or public facility.

·         In Florida, voters will have a chance to reverse a law that currently bans public spending for religious projects.

Detroit-area mosque
Such short-sighted ideas.  Don’t the supporters of such proposals realize that any religion can be helped, including those the Christian supporters oppose?  Do you think a Southern Baptist will be happy seeing his tax dollars paying for an educational program in a mosque?  

That’s when prayer will really come in handy.

Let’s eliminate the possible drama by erasing religion from the classroom.  Religion is the enemy of education.  It has no place in a school.  Religion is based on belief; education is based on scholarship, research, the search for answers that may contradict a belief.  If that happens, will Bryant lead prayers to convince scientists to change their findings? After all, that was the technique in the past, such as when the report on Global Warning produced during the George W. Bush administration was bowdlerized to match the president’s religious views.

If religion had any say in education, kids would be taught that the Earth was the center of the universe.  The Dark Ages, an era dominated by religion, didn’t get that nickname by accident.

Prayer won’t reverse climate change or force the Earth to move from the outer rim of our small, meaningless galaxy.  Knowledge requires data and the elimination of preconceived notions.  The next round of research will have to be conducted by today’s schoolchildren, in particular the ones whose minds have not been polluted by religious teachings that require faith, not facts.

The states pushing religion won’t have to worry about that.  It should come as no surprise that Mississippi ranked 43rd among all states in education in a September 2012 survey by Education Week. .In the Chance for Success category, Mississippi scored a D+.  Achievement was ranked F.  South Carolina wasn’t much better: K-12 achievement earned a D; college readiness was rated D-.  Florida?  D- in K-12 achievement; D- in college readiness; F in spending per student.

The statistics don't explain how the educational systems in religious indoctrination.

However, it’s no wonder those states are pushing religion with the fervor of a drug addict.  School children in those states don’t have a prayer when it comes to knowledge.  Looking to God for answers won’t help.  Only a textbook will do that.

God has His place.  It’s in religious institutions.  He’s more limited in algebra, history, science or any field where even Gov. Bryant knows we need an educated population.

Long-time religious historian Bill Lazarus regularly writes about religion and religious history.  He also speaks at various religious organizations throughout Florida.  You can reach him at  He is the author of the famed Unauthorized Biography of Nostradamus; The Last Testament of Simon Peter; The Gospel Truth: Where Did the Gospel Writers Get Their Information; Noel: The Lore and Tradition of Christmas Carols; and Dummies Guide to Comparative Religion.  His books are available on, Kindle, bookstores and via various publishers.  He can also be followed on Twitter.

You can enroll in his on-line class, Comparative Religion for Dummies, at

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