ERIC Number: ED393711
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1995-May
Reference Count: N/A
Prayer in School: An International Survey.
Parachini, Allan; And Others
Placing the debate in the United States over amending the Constitution to permit state-sanctioned school prayer in global perspective, this report analyzes the results of a survey of the school prayer policies of 72 countries. The report concludes that the vast majority of the major countries of the world, including Western Europe, Central America, and Asia, have rejected state-sanctioned prayer in their public school systems. Specifically, 70 countries have unified national policies concerning prayer, religious observance, and religious instruction in public schools. Of the 70, 11 countries (15.7%) have state-sanctioned school prayer periods in their schools in which children recite a single prayer together. Eight of the 11 are nations whose religious demographics are for more homogeneous than the United States. Several nations pointedly reject a national policy for such a system including Italy, Israel, and Iran. The report also summarizes the history of the separation of church and state in the United States. It argues that the Founders recognized that for religion to flourish here as they intended, the state would have to stay out of it. Imposing a constitutional amendment designating state-sanctioned prayer periods in the public schools, the report states, would in effect repeal the First Amendment, denigrate and eviscerate its history, and transform the public schools into arenas of religious rivalry. Detailed country-by-country results of this survey are presented in the attached addendum. (LH)
Descriptors: Civil Law, Civil Liberties, Comparative Analysis, Constitutional History, Constitutional Law, Cross Cultural Studies, Democratic Values, Elementary Secondary Education, Foreign Countries, Government Role, Government School Relationship, International Studies, Law Related Education, Public Schools, Religious Discrimination, School Prayer, Social Science Research, State Church Separation, United States History
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Audience: Researchers; Policymakers
Authoring Institution: American Civil Liberties Union of Southern California, Los Angeles.
Identifiers: American Civil Liberties Union; Bill of Rights; First Amendment; United States Constitution