Is skipping class to pray OK?

A local Atlanta TV station is reporting that about 50 students skipped class to pray together Wednesday morning. They started around 7:30 a.m. in the coach’s office and lasted more than two hours. Here’s the story:

From My Fox Atlanta:

“The spontaneous prayer at Lumpkin County High School has become the talk of the town. Lumpkin County Schools Superintendent Dewey Moye said that a student started the prayer in a coach’s office at 7:30 a.m. and it lasted more than two hours.

” ‘It was a student-led initiative. The student showed up at the coach’s office and the coach did pray with them and it went into the school day, over into the first period of the day,’ Moye said…. “

” ‘I believe it’s a Constitutional right to pray, yes I do. I believe they can do so at their desk, as long as they do not disrupt the school day,” Moye said.”

The superintendent says he will not discipline the coach or the students for missing class, but they will be no more prayers during school hours.

I remember groups meeting to pray before high school by the flag pole but when that bell rang everyone went to class.

So what do you think of this? Is prayer a legitimate reason to miss class? Should these kids or the coach be disciplined for missing? What is prayer’s place at public school? Would kids in Christian or other religious school be allowed to miss class to pray?

113 comments Add your comment

catlady

May 3rd, 2013
5:56 am

Prayer is important. However, this should have ended when the warning bell rang. Coach was out of line in not bringing it to a halt. He/she should have been disciplined as any teacher would who allowed students to skip classes. Corporate prayer should be at a time that anyone can join in.

fjeremey

May 3rd, 2013
6:02 am

Quality, not quantity. Being out of class for 5 or 10 minutes is fine if it is sincere and required by the tenets of your faith, e.g. mid-day prayer for Muslims. But if you’re just looking for divine intervention on the test that can be handled at your desk. If the issue is so big as to require you to be out of class then it is also likely that a corporeal entity needs to be consulted.

Bgb

May 3rd, 2013
6:10 am

“…students for missing class, but they will be no more prayers during school hours.”
- Waldo

Go DWAGS

Progress

May 3rd, 2013
6:30 am

Absolutely not. That just ensures that dumb students just get dumber. They’re missing out on actual learning so they can reinforce cult fantasies. This is one of the reasons America still has one foot in the Dark Ages.

MomOf2Girls

May 3rd, 2013
6:38 am

I can’t imagine what they were praying about or for that would last more than 2 hours. I would need more information before saying that this was or was not appropriate, but there are very few events that I think would make this acceptable (serious car crash leaving someone in grave condition comes to mind).

To answer your question about religious schools, in the schools my kids go to, there is time specifically set aside for the morning and afternoon prayers where they pray as a group. This is outside of classtime, and there is still plenty of time during the rest of the day for education (7 hours for MS, 8.5 hours for HS outside of prayer time). Can’t speak for other schools of course.

MomOf2Girls

May 3rd, 2013
6:41 am

@Progress – religious does not equal dumb. I am a member of Mensa, and my older daughter consistently makes honor role in HS. Her all-girls, RELIGIOUS high school has a 100% graduation rate, with 98% of graduates going on to additional education.

Progress

May 3rd, 2013
6:45 am

Mom- You’re right. Sometimes intelligent people can be indoctrinated into cults as well, but it’s usually the dumb ones. I guess you’re the exception.

Uh, MomOf2Girls...

May 3rd, 2013
6:45 am

…you totally missed the point in Progress’s post – so much for being a member of Mensa…

MomOf2Girls

May 3rd, 2013
6:51 am

Then please elucidate. I inferred from the comment that religious people are dumb, which was enforced by Progress’ response.

Progress

May 3rd, 2013
6:56 am

I’m sorry, but if you believe in an invisible, magical primate-like creature who willed all time, space, energy, and matter into existence by his powers of mental telepathy, then you’re dumb.

Mayhem

May 3rd, 2013
7:03 am

No it’s NOT ok. There’s a reason there’s separation between church and state. Do it before school, or after school, but NOT during school.

If you want to pray, either do it in private, or at home, or at your Private School.

Uh, MomOf2Girls...

May 3rd, 2013
7:03 am

…ELUCIDATE? say what?…I am not a member of Mensa and I admit to being dumb, but c’mon – give me a break…I got no idea as to what you are asking…

But, all I was saying is that what Progress said seemed, to me, geared more toward an insult at public education rather than religious activity, though I admit the “cult fantasies” comment was a bit hypercritical and unnecessary, and that kids missing class for any reason contributes to the potential for dumbing down school children -

Yes, he/she was taking a shot at religion, and your reaction was just what he/she was expecting – so, unwittingly and unfortunately, you helped fulfill that desire…

Progress

May 3rd, 2013
7:03 am

MO2- It also matters what one does with the intelligence they possess. You are apparently unaware of research studies that have shown a negative correlation between religious belief and both IQ and analytic thinking.

catlady

May 3rd, 2013
7:17 am

Mr, Moye is between a rock and a hard place with some of the Lumpkin County folks.

Fred ™

May 3rd, 2013
7:24 am

MomOf2Girls: you were absolutely correct in your initial assessment of the Christian bashing of “progress.”

It makes these folks feel superior to call you mentally inferior because of your faith. I pity them. The coward who uses no name except “uh” either missed the boat or truly IS to stupid to understand and is just looking for an excuse to pile on. From my experience with this particular troll, I’m thinking the first option.

Yo nameless self admitted dumb person: clicky the linky:

http://lmgtfy.com/?q=Elucidate

Fred ™

May 3rd, 2013
7:25 am

You are apparently unaware of research studies that have shown a negative correlation between religious belief and both IQ and analytic thinking.

Please provide links to said studies.

Progress

May 3rd, 2013
7:32 am

Here you go, Fred (although I don’t think you’ll be able to understand them):

Gervais, W. M., Norenzayan, A. (2012). Analytic thinking promotes religious disbelief. Science, Vol. 336(6080). 493-6. doi: 10.11126/science.1215647

Shenhav, A., Rand, D. G., & Greene, J. D. (2011). Divine intuition: Cognitive style influences belief in god. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General. Advance online publication. doi: 10.1037/a0025391

motherjanegoose

May 3rd, 2013
7:35 am

I believe in the power of prayer. When you have experienced an answer to your prayer, after others have told you things were hopeless, your faith is strengthened. I have done so. When you have prayed for guidance and it appears that such guidance has dropped right in front of you, that is the power of prayer. There are so many things I have no control over but my God does. I also know that I can pray at anytime and God will hear me.

That being said, there is a time and place for everything. Daily obligations and responsibilities are prioritized. Should a pilot stop everything to pray? Would it be o.k. for the pilot to pray before the flight, as long as the flight is leaving on time? Yes and he/she could certainly pray while flying. Hint: you do not need to close your eyes. What about a surgeon? Would it be o.k. for the surgeon to have a succinct prayer with the family before or say a quick prayer during the procedure? Yes, to me. Should you stop your car and stay at an intersection whenever you are praying? NO. Consider those who are in your midst. Responsibilities take priority.

It astounds me when people criticize prayer and faith but when we have a crisis, then it is o.k. Respectfully, would most folks be o.k, if teachers in Sandy Hook prayed with their students during that tragedy? If my child were in that public school, I would appreciate a teacher who prayed. Prayer is talking to your heavenly father: ‘Call to Me, and I will answer you, and show you great and mighty things, which you do not know.’ Jeremiah 33:3. I am thankful that I have the chance to pray and that I have experienced the power of prayer.

@ Momof2Girls …some of us feel that our country is in a much more grave condition than any given car crash. A car crash might affect 2-10 people. What is happening in our country afects so many more. I have certainly never prayed for 2 hours but perhaps that might be a good idea.

homeschooler

May 3rd, 2013
7:45 am

What religion were these kids? Sorry, I know a lot of Christian kids and none of them would be praying for two hours. If we are talking about your average American Christian kid they were more likely just hanging out, not praying. They might have even been discussing God or having an impromptu Bible study but just praying? not likely
I know some kids and families from other countries (some Christian, some not) who might pray ongoing for two hours but I am doubting that that was what was really going on.

Do we know the reason for this two hour prayer?

They should have been in class.

LeeH1

May 3rd, 2013
7:49 am

Jesus spoke about this in Matthew 6:5, and He said it nicely: “And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward.” These students are being obstenatious, and meeting in a group so they can be seen by others as being all self-righteous and smug.

I expect this kind of behavior from immature high school students. The coach is a dolt for allowing this disruption of the school day. He does not respect the academic side of school at all. For example, would the coach allow his students to interrupt a football game to pray? I don’t think so (especially if they were losing but still had a chance to win).

Jesus was right. They are hypocrites.

(the other) Rodney

May 3rd, 2013
7:52 am

No. It’s absolutely not OK. I’m a firm believer in prayer but rules are rules. Pray on your own time, on your own turf. Not while school is in session.

Johnny Too Good

May 3rd, 2013
7:54 am

@Progress, just bcuz you’re an atheist(or appear to be) doesnt mean that every one else who has a faith is wrong. You’re in the 2 percent of people worldwide. Whatever happened to tolerance? To each his own. Stay in your lane.

Jeff

May 3rd, 2013
7:54 am

I used to skip class to go to the beach, look at girls in bikinis and drink alcohol.

Progress

May 3rd, 2013
8:02 am

Goose gives us a great example of the religious believer’s inability to think analytically at 7:35. She takes two unrelated events (praying and some other event in her life) and attributes causality to them, not because there is evidence that one caused the other, but because she wants to believe that one caused the other. This fits nicely into the world view she has created for herself but is inconsistent with how evidence is compiled in the rational world. This is a sign of indoctrination. Add to this the fact that her mind filters out or “forgets” all those other times when her prayers did not “cause” a response, which surely greatly outnumber the times when she did envision a connection between prayer and some random outcome. So she ignores the overwhelming evidence that prayer is nothing more than a quiet time when she talks to herself, and instead makes the irrational leap to convince herself that the invisible magical primate is hearing her thoughts and manipulating matter to conform to her desires. This is a common intellectual shortcoming, but not one we should continue to accept in a modern world.

Mayhem

May 3rd, 2013
8:07 am

@Progress – Love!!! (8:02)

Techmom

May 3rd, 2013
8:11 am

I’m all about prayer and faith but I do question what the heck was going on for 2 hours. Having volunteered in youth ministry for a long time, I can probably guess that there were a couple of students flexing their leadership skills and got a bit carried away when they realized they could keep their fellow students lingering around listening to them babble. Seriously, when was the last time a pastor lead a 2-hour prayer meeting? The initial intentions might have been prayer but I highly doubt there was complete focus on only prayer for 2 hours (if there was then maybe some Bible college needs to start recruiting the next round of pastors from Lumpkin Co).

But I totally agree with Catlady in that the coach probably would have been ostracized for not allowing students the right to pray. He should have had enough brains to stop it after 10-15 minutes. He could have told the students they were welcome back AFTER school if they so desired.

My son’s Christian school has prayer time daily, most teachers open their classes with prayer, ask for prayer concerns, the kids all have to take Bible class daily and Chapel is weekly… I’m sure if there was reason to stop and prayer for a long period of time, I’m sure it would be allowed but I’m also positive there would need to be a good reason and not just b/c it was Thursday morning.

motherjanegoose

May 3rd, 2013
8:12 am

@ Progress, it appears your mind is made up and so is mine. The thing about having a relationship with God is that it is a choice and some choose to have it while some do not. Have a nice day.

Matthew 5:11
“God blesses you when people mock you and persecute you and lie about you and say all sorts of evil things against you because you are my followers.” NLV

Techmom

May 3rd, 2013
8:13 am

“I’m sure” – apparently my phrase of the day

Techmom

May 3rd, 2013
8:16 am

@Progress – why the deep-seeded need to try to convince people who have faith in God they’re wrong? You’re about as effective as the nut jobs standing on the corner yelling to non-Christians “Turn or Burn”.

If there’s one thing I’ve learned in life about talking to people of other beliefs, it’s that you can’t make them feel stupid if you actually want to open their mind to seeing your viewpoint. A little respect goes a long way.

Progress

May 3rd, 2013
8:23 am

@Goose- I was making an observation based on your post; I was not trying to change your mind. When someone is indoctrinated into a cult, any cult, it is extremely difficult to bring them back to reality, and certainly a brief post on my part in response would cause that type of change in your thinking. I just found it useful (and ironic) that right after I supplied Fred with a reference to a peer-reviewed research study in highly credible scientific journal that provides evidence that religious believers lack skills in analytic thinking, you provided an exquisite example not three minutes later.

Was I mocking you? To some extent, mildly. Did I lie about you or say evil things? Absolutely not. That’s just hateful on your part. But that’s okay. I forgive you.

jarvis

May 3rd, 2013
8:24 am

Yes, a person has the Constitutional Right to pray. It’s a protected under the same Constitutional Amendment that allows people to burn the flag, but I imagine if they’d been doing that for 2 hours during school things wouldn’t have been taken as lightly.

I’m sick of people using the First Amendment as an excuse to do anything they want. Telling your boss to eff-off is not protected speech, and Freedom of Religion is not an excuse to miss the first two hours of school.

Absolutely absurd. Nobody’s saying don’t pray. Just do it when you’re not supposed to be somewhere else.

Progress

May 3rd, 2013
8:25 am

typo: “would *not* cause that type of change in your thinking”

Progress

May 3rd, 2013
8:35 am

Techmom@8:16: I point out the absurdity of religion because it stands in the way of human progress. It is the antithesis of education, and I feel that education is the key to improving life for our descendants. Religion may have held some use when early humans had just crawled down from the trees, but now it only serves to promote ignorance, racism, sexism, and hatred. It stands in the way of innovations in science and medicine that can actually improve people’s lives. It is used by bad people to justify their beliefs and to give them a feeling of self-righteousness despite their reprehensible actions. It is immoral at its core.

Mayhem

May 3rd, 2013
8:46 am

Who among us is to say what is right and what is not? After all, it’s a BELIEF. There is no right or wrong. Unfortunately, however, the believers firmly believe they are correct, and cannot stand for anyone to tell them otherwise. They feel attacked if you mock or question their beliefs.

You have the right to express your beliefs/opinions, and I have the right to express mine!!!

jarvis

May 3rd, 2013
8:50 am

Progress, I don’t think the author of your 2nd study above inferred the Cognitive Relection Test data correctly. I just did a very quick look online of the assessment, and it does not appear to use CRT as a tell for IQ the way that the author suggests.

From what I read it appears to be a Cognitive analyzer looking at specific styles of ability. The results I read showed that people scoring low on the CRT were less patient that those scoring high….they didn’t want to go back and think through the problem. They also indicate that men generally score higher than women.

While I can easily see that both of those things could tie to religous belief, it would be incorrect to assume based on that data that the Test is correlated to straight intelligence. That was a bit of a jump by the author.

But that’s what you get when Pscychologists try to interpret statistics.

Also, back off on your turdy attitude toward religious people. While not particularly spiritual myself, a lot of good comes from open-minded faith based people. I’ve never understood why some hardcore Athiests want to put down faith.

Sure, religion has been used as an excuse to be bigoted, but no more so than you’re being toward them.

jarvis

May 3rd, 2013
8:54 am

Also, Progress, as far as advances in medicine go, how far back do you think medicine would be today without the philantrhropy of faith based people?

jarvis

May 3rd, 2013
8:55 am

philanthropy

M

May 3rd, 2013
8:59 am

I’m curious to see what the attitudes on prayer at this school would’ve been if the group in question had been teenage Muslim boys wearing traditional attire.

AynRant

May 3rd, 2013
8:59 am

School prayer is alright, so long as it’s done in accordance with Christ’s instructions.

The student should find a private, secluded place, like a stall in the staff bathroom, and engage in a short conversation with God, asking little or nothing, taking responsibility for and repenting his mistakes, and resigning himself to God’s will.

Heathen-style prayer, consisting of long, loud, repetitious beseechings uttered in public, should be discouraged. That kind of prayer is a public nuisance and, according to Christ, is not listened to by God.

Mayhem

May 3rd, 2013
9:09 am

So God picks and choses what kind of prayers he listens to?

Mayhem

May 3rd, 2013
9:11 am

Because THAT would explain EVERYTHING!!!!

I guess if your prayers aren’t answered, God wasn’t interested in HOW you were praying……do I have the right?

Mayhem

May 3rd, 2013
9:12 am

“Do I have *THAT* correct?”

Sorry.

K's Mom

May 3rd, 2013
9:13 am

As a Christian I am offended by this based on the little I know. I feel like many (certainly not all) Christians are looking for ways to stoke the fire of “we are being persecuted” and scream discrimination when you get caught breaking the rules. Again, I no longer live in the Atlanta area so I have not heard tons about this, but if my kids had been involved they would have gotten in trouble for skipping class.

Progress

May 3rd, 2013
9:21 am

jarvis- We’ll agree to disagree on the use of the assessment in that second study. I think the authors actually went out of their way to avoid the link between IQ and religious belief so they wouldn’t offend anyone. But it’s there in the data, nonetheless. Instead, they tried to focus on the more politically correct topic of cognitive style, and that aspect revealed that religious people are more impulsive in their thought processes, poor analytic thinkers, and more likely to pick the incorrect answer when given cognitive tasks . I don’t automatically assume that you have the training to critique either “Pscychologists” [sic] or statistics, but thanks for the attempt.

I also appreciate your attempt to scold me for my behavior, but I don’t take advice from child abusers.

joe

May 3rd, 2013
9:29 am

Prayer is one of the best things available to us as human beings. It soothes your spirit…and it’s free.

Mayhem

May 3rd, 2013
9:46 am

@Progress – Your last line in your last post was totally uncalled for. You just underminded everything you had to say by resorting to name calling. That shows that you are losing your argument.

Progress

May 3rd, 2013
9:51 am

No, no one has put forth a good argument yet in support of religion.

I try to avoid interacting with jarvis because he advocated for and admitted to beating his children on a previous thread on this blog. If that was somehow a different jarvis with a small “j” then I apologize to this jarvis. If it’s the same one then he absolutely is a child abuser. (And there’s no such word as underminded.)

jarvis

May 3rd, 2013
9:51 am

Ahhh…..now I remember you. You’re that opinionated dick that decided I’m a child abuser because I spanked my kids when they were smaller.

You throw out poorly inferred data with no real thought behind anything you’ve stated. You want (desperately) to appear as the smartest person in the room at the expense of the people you were actually seeking this approval from. Then when someone suggests that you’re “basing” your argument on something questionable you lash out like a child. “You abuse kids and can’t spell Pscychologist.” (Good one Poindexter.)

You’re the kid in school that aced the AP courses but failed Gym, Economics, and Wood Shop. You know they type, the kind that couldn’t apply anything they’d learned in a meaningful way.

Keep banging on the keyboard and killing Grunts from your mom’s basement all the while telling everyone how dumb THEY are. It’s going to serve you well in life.

Mayhem

May 3rd, 2013
9:58 am

I guess I’m a child abuser as well, since I (and my husband) spanked our kids a time or two when they got into serious trouble when they were younger. I firmly believe in a “swift kick in the ass” to get someone’s attention. I know I’ll get dragged for that, but go ahead….I can take it. I didn’t get this far in life by allowing someone’s thoughts to control my life.

I was spanked as a child a time or two. I made sure NEVER to repeat my mistakes. Talking to me, or putting me in “time-out” would NOT have changed my behavior. But getting my attention sure did. And I never thought of my parents were abusive. I never threatened them by calling 911. You just didn’t do that, as you respected your parents. After all, they were the boss!!

Jeff

May 3rd, 2013
9:59 am

Progress… a little tip…….cl;aiming that those who believe differently than you are somehow intellectually inferior (i.e. stupid) is not really the way to go about winning people over.

That’s part of the reason the anti-religion crowd doesn’t convince more people; arrogance. It’s a huge turnoff.

I one heard someone say @ religion: mother teresa, ghandi, MLK, all amazing people. EVERY atheist I know is a complete jerk.