Does prayer play an important role in our lives today? The minority would say no and that prayer shouldn't ever have played an important role in our society. But, the simple fact of the matter is that for hundreds of years, prayer in school has been encouraged by both society and government. In recent years, it has been established that prayer in schools has led to a steady moral decline. Morals must be taught, in school and at home, and they cannot be properly taught without religion as a much needed stepping stone.
Our government was based upon religious beliefs from the very beginning. The Declaration of Independence says: "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by God with certain unalienable rights. . ." Certainly, it talks about God, creations, God-given moral rights, the providence of God, and the final Day of Judgment-all of which are religious teachings. And school prayer has been an important part of our religious experience from the very beginning.
Our very First Amendment didn't separate God and government but actually encouraged religion. It reads: "Congress shall make no law respecting the establishment of religion, nor prohibit the free exercise thereof," (Encarta 96). The first part simply says that the federal government cannot establish one religion for all of the people. The simple idea of everyone in our nation being limited to one form of religion is inconceivable. The second section insists that the government should do nothing to discourage religion. But forbidding prayer in schools discourages religion, doesn't it?
Early congressional actions encouraged religion in public schools. For example, the Northwest Treaty (1787 and 1789) declared: "Religion, morality, and knowledge being necessary for good government and the happiness of mankind, schools, and the means of learning shall forever be...