Compelled School Prayer Is Not The Answer To Shootings And Violence.


School shootings have become all too common in the United States. In light of the Feb. 14 attack at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., that resulted in 17 deaths, most of them students, Americans are again grappling with how to respond.

A number of proposals have been put forth. Not surprisingly, gun control has been suggested. But other proposals take a different tack: They call for ushering coercive forms of religion back into public schools.

Gun control is not a church-state issue, and Americans United takes no stand on it. But we definitely have something to say about proposals to re-impose official forms of religion on public school students. Such suggestions are a grave mistake. Compelling students to take part in religion against their will won't keep anyone safe; it will only violate fundamental freedoms.

In South Carolina, Molly Spearman, the state's superintendent of education, made a video for parents following the shootings in Parkland. She assured parents that school officials would do all they could to keep students safe but then added, "By sharing Christ's love, you could be a positive influence that prevents a tragedy like this from occurring."

This is nothing less than proselytism from a government official. It's inappropriate, and it does nothing to address the issue at hand...

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