Authors note: I originally posted this February 9, 2010.
3 Nephi 13:
5 And when thou prayest thou shalt not do as the hypocrites, 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.
6 But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father who is in secret; and thy Father, who seeth in secret, shall reward thee openly.
These two verses remind my wife and I of arguments for school prayer. They rarely have anything to do with humble communication with God. Instead, they are about using prayer to make a political statement.
Am I painting advocates of school prayer in an inaccurate light? Probably. Having grown up in a place with considerable religious diversity, I have never been comfortable with public religion. I am not talking about public expressions of religion, but instead public endorsements of religion. Such endorsements violate the social contract that makes it possible for a community with such pluralism to exist.
Those who use of prayer for political points will have surely have their reward.