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Prayers are banned in public schools under 14th Amendment of the U S Constitution which deals with the separation between the church and the state. The rationale for this ban is that the public schools are funded with taxpayer’s dollars. Now, more than 15 million dollars of the taxpayer’s money are being earmarked to be spent on the presidential inauguration. There will be a religious invocation as an integral part of the ceremony. The irony of all of this seems to be lost on everybody who is debating the merits and demerits of the person who has been chosen by Obama for delivering the invocation sermon. But, no one is asking why there should be any religious invocation at all at a government funded ceremony. After all, what is sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander, too. If prayers are taboo in public schools, any religious sermon must be banned at any other public-funded activity.
“The rationale for this ban is that the public schools are funded with taxpayer’s dollars.”
Not at all. Even private schools get taxpayer money. Not to mention that line of logic would make bush’s faith based initiatives illegal and also any sort of school voucher system that appropriates money for religious schools would be illegal.
The more obvious answer is that PUBLIC schools are state institutions and as such are more strictly forbidden from entanglements with religion.
The more obvious answer to Derek’s response that “PUBLIC SCHOOLS are state institutions and as such are more strictly forbidden from entanglements with religion” is that the Presidential Inauguration being a state function attended by US citizens of different faiths must also be strictly forbidden from entanglements with any particular religion, even if it is the one commanding allegiance of the majority of the population in order to obviate ugly controversies raging on at present over Obama’s choice for delivering the invocation sermon. Past practices and conventions in this regard are not edged in stone and can and should be reversed if circumstances warrant it. After all, even the US Constitution has been amended umpteen times in response to evolving demands over time.
In the penultimate sentence of my last comment, I meant to say that “past practices and conventions are not etched in stone.”
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