Prayer is needed in America’s schools, not just for the moral teachings, but because it represents the authority of God, according to William Murray, son of the nation’s most famous atheist, Madalyn Murray O’Hair.
“Prayer in the schools 50 years ago had little to do with morality and a lot to do with authority. The speaker of the House of Representatives, the second most powerful man in America, has the words ‘In God We Trust’ engraved over his chair in the House Chamber,” said Murray, the author of “My Life Without God.”
“This is more than the national motto; it was meant to be the real source of authority for our government. If rights come from God they cannot be taken away, but if they come from government, a simple majority vote can void those rights,” he continued. “Fifty years ago prayer and Bible reading represented the authority of God over the school, the teachers and the students. Bowing of heads in the morning for prayer was much more about surrendering to the authority of God than about learning ‘morals.’
Murray was reacting to a promotion for a new book called “Revitalizing Christianity” by Charlie Webster, who runs New Century Ministries.
His goal, according to his web site, is to reveal the real Christianity, not the system associated with “boring sermons and rituals … fluffy pep rallies.”
“New Century Ministries started in 2000 with a goal to help Christians find out more about the exciting and motivating message of Christianity that far too many Christians do not see,” the website explains.
But a promotion dispatched yesterday by the Florida-based News and Experts on behalf of the book said “This summer marks 50 years since the Supreme Court ruling that effectively banned official prayers in public schools. Ever since, wave after wave of proposed bills and amendments have sought to undo that ruling – or at least circumvent it.”
The promotion continued, “And now, a former minister says prayer as government-sanctioned religious training never had a place in public school classrooms anyway.”
Sorry Charlie, Murray writes in a commentary on the subject, “secularization does not ‘revitalize Christianity.’”
“It seems Webster contends that since America is now a ‘pluralistic’ society, the reading or teaching of ‘sacred writings’ in schools should not be done. He urges Christians to just accept the 50-year-old Supreme Court decision that removed prayer and Bible reading from America’s public schools.”
Murray said, “If rights come from God they cannot be taken away, but if they come from government, a simple majority vote can void those rights.”
“As my mother, atheist Madalyn Murray O’Hair, fought to remove prayer from the public schools, I was attending an all boys school in downtown Baltimore, Md. The school was a magnet school before the term even existed and was intended to prepare young men for colleges, majoring in science and engineering. There were 1,800 young men in the school and there was not a cop in the building, ever. The doors were unlocked and often the un-air-conditioned rooms had open windows. There were no metal detectors, and students went in and out the doors on the honor system,” he said.
“The authority of God was present even though I am very sure many of those young men, including myself, had some pretty vile thoughts that were not in the least way moral,” he said.
“The school has since merged with a girls school in another location, for purposes of political correctness. The last time I checked, the building itself was the headquarters of the Baltimore City Schools Police Force, something that did not exist when the city population was nearly double what it is now. Every kid at every school has a photo ID. All the doors of every school are locked. The doors of schools have metal detectors and drug sniffing dogs roam the corridors. I am told that every school in Baltimore has at least one cop with a gun stationed inside it.
“The authority of God has been replaced with the authority of the iron fist of government. Morals? Without the authority of God there are no morals. What is taught in the schools has become the norm in the homes, not vice versa,” he said.
In fact, the promotion for Webster’s book quotes him saying, “If we did allow the reading of sacred writings and public prayers in schools, we Christians want to think that they would always be compatible with our beliefs. But in this country, government must give equal time to all religions within a community. It would be extremely difficult – if not impossible – for schools to provide meaningful training for all the religions represented by their students.”
Said Webster, “If we as Christians are looking to the government to instill biblical values in our youngest citizens, then we’re in bad shape. Any time the church wants the state to teach morality and biblical matters, we’re definitely on the wrong path.”
His book announcement said, “Even among Christians, different groups have disparate beliefs, customs and viewpoints,” and added most in school just ignored prayer.
“The truth is that it was not what happened in schools that affected the moral fiber of this country; it was what happened in homes and churches,” Webster said. “Today, comparatively few Christian homes devote a significant amount of time to religious training, and more and more the same is true of churches.”
But Murray, also the chairman of the Washington-based Religious Freedom Coalition, notes, “Many today, even those who want to return the ‘opportunity to pray’ at school, do not understand that it was not just prayer that was removed from those buildings – it was the righteous authority of God.
“Whatever the true nature of Charlie Webster’s book, his publicist has done him no favors by promoting him as being in opposition to the authority of God over government. Humanity had enough godless governments in the 20th century. Godless atheistic governments in the 20th century killed more of their own citizens than died in all the wars in all the history of mankind. Perhaps Charlie Webster and his publicist should get some new hook lines to get on radio shows – lines that don’t sever moral government from God’s authority.”