I've read some articles recently about a school...up north somewhere I believe, that has Friday jumah prayers at the school. The issue, as I understand it, is that some people are claiming that having the female students who choose to attend praying behind a barrier behind the boys is sexist. Which, we'll leave that argument alone because it's not my fight and it's only the fact that reading the articles reminded me of my own school experience that makes me bring it up.
I don't know if many of you will recall, but I went to middle school and part of high school at a 'non-denominational' Christian private school. 'Non-denominational' turned out to be code for 'Southern Baptist' and it explains many of my issues with that group. :) (My apologies to Susanne, who has slowly been teaching me better...)
There was, because it was a Christian school, of course, mandatory Bible classes and prayer at the beginning of the school day. Seeing as how I was not, even then, a Christian, I read the Bible and asked questions that confused and annoyed many of my teachers and I tucked my head when everyone else was praying and thought about vampires or something else more interesting. And I felt uncomfortable, but that was to be expected. It was something to get through and then have it over and done with.
But what I didn't really expect was, when I switched to public school for the last two years of high school, the Christian groups on campus made me even more uncomfortable. And it's nothing that any of them did! I want to make that clear. It's not like they were militantly obnoxious or anything, though they were on the outs a bit since they tended to want to restrict what everyone else saw as harmless fun, like Halloween. And, of course, there was the clash between them and the LGBT teens who wanted to start their own 'club' on campus. When I say they didn't *do* anything, I mean they weren't screaming at people in the halls, throwing paint on them, spitting on them or anything like that. They were, even in disagreement, very polite and friendly as far as I ever saw them.
Only, they kept getting together in groups between classes, or at lunch and praying. And it made me uncomfortable, because they were doing it out in public. I can't explain *why* it made me uncomfortable, it just did. Maybe because I thought that religion was a very private matter and one of those things that belongs...'over there'. Away. *waves hands in that direction* And they met before school, and it just happened to be in my home room! So if I got there early, which I always tried to do so I could get a good parking space, I either had to sit out in the hall or sit in there and listen to them.
Anyway...what do you all think of allowing prayer in schools? Prayer of any kind or religion, of course. I'll be honest and say it still makes me uncomfortable, because not everyone shares that creed, or any creed at all. I still feel like it belongs, over there. Like, if the kids want to form groups and have designated times and spaces for it, then fine. That's where it belongs though. Not in the rest of the campus.