DEVIL SHAT SIX: Pledge and Prayer in School... One and the same?!

prayer in school
by Morbus, image by Tony Sinner

We received a story from a reader down in Florida concerning religion in one of his schools. Apparently in Niceville, Florida, an administrator and a teacher had taken it upon themselves to convert their school to Christianity. The teacher would preach, while the administrator would baptize students... all under the guise of a school club or organization.

But it didn't stop there. On Friday nights, they would hold a "revival" in which kids would go and get "saved". Supposedly, kids would shake from the holy spirit for a week afterward... The reader goes on to say that it might have been the "cool" thing to do.

Now, whether this account is as true as related doesn't really matter. I can see it happening in any town. But it does bring up an important issue: religion in school. Or more specifically... prayer in school.

Does it really matter? Why do people make a big fuss over something as silly as religion? I have read papers from restaurants in which it prohibits people from having a beard UNLESS it is a documented religious law/rule/whatever. So, say I get a beard cos my religion says I can, wouldn't that single me out from all the other workers? Would other employees hold hostility toward me cos I'm one of "them people"? Is this favoring certain religions?

Now take it to school. If your religion says you should pray at 10:00 each day, but you're in school then you're outta luck. They have no pity for you. If we look at the working environment though (supposedly another religion free institution) we see that they do cater to religion. Can school be further behind?

But like, I asked before: Does it really matter? Who the hell cares? If someone wants to say their little prayer, send them out of the room, and let them do it in the hallway, along with all the other prayers. That way the halls can fill with spirituality and the children will feel better.

And hey, maybe those bad-ass kids who go and "pray" just so they can get out of class can see the beauty of "God".


Oh yeah. The administrator got "a five day suspension without pay and one year probation". The teacher got "a three day suspension without pay."

pledge in school
by Morbus, image by Tony Sinner

First, I must say that I used to have a big problem with following directions at school and would never speak the pledge for some forgotten reason. So I was not subjected to the mindless teachings of the pledge and then what soon became the mindless reciting of it also. I think students say the pledge out of habit and not really listening to what they are saying. I am saying that I can look at the invocation of the pledge and speak about it unbiased.

I can guess that more than 50% of the people in any school (religious removed) do not realize what they are saying in the mornings and that they are just doing it out of habit and because... hey! everyone else is doing it. I am also saying that when kids say the pledge they are participating in a religious act.

No, really... hear me out.

Let's compare. We start in church on a nice Sunday morning and go up to the Holy Buddha of Jerusalem or whatever and while holding a rosary pray that we hope we'll be healthy and that will never fall under the ways of evil or corruption or the people who aren't in our religion.

Now, let's start in school. We stand up at the beginning of the day, place our hands over our hearts and then salute the flag, all the while reciting a verse and looking at the flag as our heart beats beneath our palm.

For those of you who don't get it, I am saying that what we do in the morning is the same as praying in the church. The flag becomes our Holy Buddha of Zimbabwe and the prayer becomes the chant to the flag. Our hands over our heart become the rosary and the comparison becomes clear.

We've been praying mindlessly all these years to a piece of cloth. For those of you who still argue though, what about the "one nation under God" bit? Does that clinch the cake? Praying that we will pledge the allegiance to the flag and to the United States and doing it under the name of God.

And also, where did all this about being unpatriotic by not saying the pledge come in? The flag is the symbol of America but so is baseball (which we're slowly losing ANYWAY) and outdoor cooking but we don't pledge to those. The koala might be a symbol of Australia, but hey, they don't say prayers to "The Great Fuzzy"!.

Does it really matter about prayer in school anymore? We have it already. It's called the Pledge of Allegiance.

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im totally against the pledge of allegiance. its a way to brainwash an entire nation. it makes people believe that the government cares about them. when infact no government official cares about any of us , they just wanna kep themselves rich and the rest of us poor. i also think if you wanna pray in school you can, its no bodys buisness what you do any where. its only wrong if the school makes you pray. when i get to school and everyone stands for the pledge i sit down in my seet, im united with all the other kids sitting down in there seets while all the mindless followers stand. why do i sit? because the flag represents everthing i hate


whoa...wait....religon is SILLY?, dear, I don't think so. Nothing that is SO important to SO many people can be called silly! I don't think there's anything silly abour prayer in school...but I *do* think it's something that needs to be handled really carefully. It's one thing to make all the kids say prayers and wotnot when some of the kids aren't that's a whole other thing to give all the kids a few moments of private time to say their own respective prayers, if they so choose. Religon really is something that's important to a lot of people...maybe more important then education or whatever career they choose...and just BECAUSE it's so important to them, we should try to be a little tolerant of them, and let them have their chance to worship. uhmm...anyway, I just think "silly" is really the wrong word to use there...but wait...wait. .I'm thinking...I can almost see how you meant it...(it just now hit me)...k..maybe it's not such a wrong word. thoughts are all confuzled now! Oh, and the other thing...the pledge and wotnot... that's really interesting. [S] It reminds me of when I was in school (canadian version here, cuz we don't do that pledge thingy) and we'd always have to rise for the National anthom ("Ohhh... Canada.. ..our home and native land...") and sing along, and you'd get in trouble if you didn't sing...but I was really shy and I HATED to sing!! So I'd just stand there and mouth the words and hope no one noticed...I think it would have gone a lot better if 90% of the other students in my classes didn't do the same thing. [g] The thing I didn't like about that, was that I didn't like being forced to sing the anthom...ok, I'm patriotic and wotnot...I love my country and I defend it against silly Americans [S] whenever I can...but I don't like being FORCED to PROVE that I love Canada! Just lemmie do it in my own way, darnit! It's no good if it's being forced anyway...would you wanna hold a gun to some woman's face and force her to say "I love you"?

Der... OHYA!! And another thing that bugged me!! One of the letters down there at the bottom....they used the expression "blind faith" ok...I swear..I hate that expression!! Well...I don't hate the expression so much as I hate the way it's used sometimes...I mean, it's a legit expression, and it has it's place, but some people just don't seem to realize that there's a difference between "BLIND FAITH" and just "FAITH"! Blind faith seems like kind of a bad thing to me cuz you don't even know what you belive in...but faith is a GOOD thing!! It's good for you to belive in somethings that you can't prove. [S] It may be a little hard one someone (like me) who really craves proof and logic, but it makes you feel better sometimes and it's actually an enjoyable feeling to hold. Well...I dunno if that makes any sense...sometimes I really suck at explaining things... anyway, I just think there's a difference, and it really irks me when people see all faith as being me, that seems a little blind of them. Does that make sense? At least be broadminded enough to respect the fact that not everyone who belives in things that can't be proven is just some mindless idiot! Some of 'em even question their faith, only to have it reaffirmed.


More and more I see everyday people being led blindly by a blind faith called religion. It seems to me that the majority of problems in our society as well as in humanistic terms stems from religion. Wars are being fought every day in the name of religion, bombings, racism, and to an extent dysfunctional families. I am not a religious person however I am spiritual in the sense that something created the universe and created the first spark of energy. Everyone wants to complain about the government, which ours is based on Christianity (prayer before congress starts) but the people complaining are as much to blame as those in it. A friend told me once "behind every smiling garage is a dysfunctional family", how true. All these little suburbanites go to church one day a week and sin for six. Good ratio. Here is a idea, stop waiting for Jesus to come back and save you, save yourself. When people step back and look at reality and themselves for what they are, they will find a whole new peace within themselves. All those little gang bangers and people like that have got to be so angry with themselves, only the world is a much easier scapegoat for them because we all know it is a catch 22. Our problems lie within the individual human being. Religion now has lost all sense of truth. For instance, Thanksgiving. What is the true meaning of Thanksgiving? A bunch of family hanging out once a year getting fat on turkey and watching football with their pants unzipped. Wrong, Hey people when our forefathers came to this country they were lost, dying, and very hungry. Who saved them? The Indians. Who then did our forefathers attempt to exterminate? The Indians. We, America nearly wiped out an entire race. Sound familiar. But we have the balls to celebrate Thanksgiving. This is where we have come, convenience. Convenience of justification. Most religious people use their faith to justify their actions. When they do something wrong they justify it within themselves and feel ok about it. Or, hey priest I killed five people yesterday what should I do? Say two hail marys and kiss your cross and you will be forgiven. I dont know, I just know that religion has gone to far. Divide and Conquer, or even worse Unite and Rule (Ayn Rand).


I would first like to start off saying that I think Devil Shat is a great zine. You people don't take crap from nobody, even AOL. Anyway the real reason I'm writing you is tell you I was quite surprised when I saw the topics of Devil Shat six included prayer in school and pledge in school. For many years I have always thought that the pledge of allegiance was like a prayer but no one else seemed to see the connection.

The first time I noticed this was in 7th grade. Our substitute teacher had spite on our class flag trying to prove a point to us that when we say the pledge of allegiance we should say it with honor not whispering to our friends, leaning against our desk or walking around the room. "When you dishonor your flag, its like spitting on it" he told us. "You might as well say I don't really care about all those men who died defending our country" Our whole class stood in amazement. I remember by recess the whole school was talking about the substitute who spite on the flag. We took it personally. Who was he to come to are school and spite on are flag? Yet everyday, after we took attendance we all slowly got up from are seats mumbled the pledge of allegiance and sat back down like it was nothing. We didn't even care about the stupid pledge. But when that sub [had] spite on our flag it was like he had crossed some kind of line. Its easy to ignore the pledge or look at the flag like its just another flag,but you never spite on it, you never burn it, and you never let it touch the ground.

Just like its easy to take Gods name in vain, or to sin, or to walk right past a church but your would never think of yelling at a priest or burning a bible... would you?

A bible is sacred, a prayer is sacred , just like the flag is sacred.

When I was in elementary school and middle school everyday we [said] the pledge but no one ever prayed or had bible studies. Now that I'm in high school no one ever says the pledge but you always see people carrying bibles, praying, in fact we even have a bible club that meets every thursday in the gym. Strange how when you grow up so many things change.


Just read Issue 6, and I like it.

That's an interesting comparison, prayer and the pledge.

Both attempt to instill sheepdom. Both stem from the same hierarchical demand: faith. One in some bearded God, the other in Uncle Sam. Uncle Sam and God go bowling every other Friday, where they compare notes on who's going to heaven and who's goin to hell.

I should add that I believe in God, but not the Christian God, or the US God (Uncie Sam), or any other deity named in any religion.

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Devil Shat Six was released on 08/01/97. Last updated: 06/21/98.