Prayer during school

One of the most popular stories from last week’s paper was about the Pickens County School 6-25 Page 4A.inddBoard planning to consider starting meetings with prayer again.

This was thought to be illegal, but recent rulings have said it is OK as long as you follow certain guidelines. It will be interesting to see how this turns out, but this measure only controls prayers before school board meetings.

Nobody will be checking to see if anybody has their eyes open. There are no tests as to what is asked for in each prayer.

By the same token, nobody will be keeping anybody from praying, so exams are still going to be part of the school experience.

I started school in the early 1970s, so much of this prayer issue had been settled, but not really. In elementary school, we were paid monthly visits by the Jorgusons, a married couple apparently retired from the mission field.

This was a good break in the day, as I really did not have to pay attention because most of the stories had been covered in Sunday School at church that weekend. There were no tests, so that was one part of the day I knew I would not fail.

The one activity I remember well was when the couple would lead the class in singing “Jesus Loves Me,” but we would stop at the word “me” and simply point to ourselves. I still think of the pointing when we sing that song in church.

As I got older, the Jorgusons apparently retired, or South Carolina finally listened to the Supreme Court. In high school, I may have prayed that a certain girl would suddenly like me, but I eventually figured out that praying for attention from females was not being very Christian-like.

Whenever I had a calculus test, I would silently pray, though sometimes I would pray for misfortune to strike my teacher. That didn’t work. When I had a test, misfortune would strike me and leave the teacher alone.

When I got into college, I actually took a class on religion. It was taught by a Jewish gentleman. “Great,” I thought, “I get a class on the Bible and my professor is one of those people who thinks the Bible ends after the Old Testament.”

As it turned out, my professor knew about the New Testament, too. He just did not believe it. But he gave me good grades, which helped my grade point average enough that I got a degree.

I hate that schools have changed so much that a couple like the Jorgusons would not be allowed in the classroom. They were sweet, kind people — the kind who are a blessing regardless of your religious beliefs.

Let’s hope this prayer matter is cleared up at the next school board meeting and we can get beyond the controversy.