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Old 05-14-2006, 03:11 PM
 
Location: Canton, Georgia
75 posts, read 246,063 times
Reputation: 33

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Hi ya'll!

I am working on a series of novels that are based in rural North Carolina, and one of these novels has as a side issue the debate over school prayer, specifically invocations before sports events. Unfortunately, I have not yet been able to find out -- through my Internet research -- if this issue has ever been raised with the state or county school boards in NC. I have used a case in Texas as the basis for my writing, but I would love to know if this issue has ever been raised in North Carolina, and the history of that debate. I do know that North Carolina allows for a moment of silence before the games.... but I am interested in the history of how that came about.

Does anyone here remember anything like that???

I also know there was a huge rally in Asheville in the year 2000 which was in response to a Supreme Court ruling, but that was in response to the case in Texas, not one in NC.

Cheers,
Diana
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Old 05-14-2006, 06:38 PM
 
Location: Snow Hill, NC
787 posts, read 3,321,817 times
Reputation: 302
I was in school when it apparently was stopped. I remember in the 4th grade that we were required to be able to say the Lord's prayer and the 23rd Psalm. That would have been 1961 I believe. We also said the Pledge of Alligence every morning. And we prayed before we went to lunch. Some time between then and the year I started high school which would have been the fall of 1965 and also the year intergration was started here, it just stopped. I don't recall any big hoopla about it but then again I was very young. In 1961 I would have been 9 and in 1965 I was 13 until August anyway. I can attempt to ask some of the parents from that time. But it just seemed to be there one day and then one year it just disappeared. Now mind you, I am in Greene County some 45 miles southeast of where your novel is set.
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Old 05-14-2006, 06:54 PM
 
Location: Greater Charlotte area
104 posts, read 542,200 times
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I am a 'pre-historic' NC native. I recall hearing discussions about it, but if you are inquiring as to whether it has been the basis of a court case, I don't recall one. Personally, I don't think there is a place for forced prayer in the school nor for prayer through intimidation. No problem with silent prayer as long as it isn't 'initiated' by tax paid personnel. I really do believe in separation of Church and state although I am not the 'A' word that is always hurled.

I do recall when I was a child in school many teachers had morning prayer and my 5th grade teacher went 'way' beyond that. Every Monday morning she asked who went to church on Sunday and required a raising of the hands. God help you if you couldn't raise your hand because you had to explain to Him and the entire class why you were so negligent. It had better be good or you were in deep trouble. She knew too who missed more than one Sunday and if the excuse was 'feeble'.

Every Monday that same teacher also required us to recite a Bible verse before the entire class. It couldn't be 'Jesus wept', and it couldn't be the same one you had used the week or two before. Not only did she have the memory of an elephant, but she kept notes. This woman was obsessive. It never occurred to her that there might be other religions in the world besides hers not would she have cared had she known. Neither did she care that she was being paid to 'teach' the three R's not religion. So, I have seen an authoritative, overbearing power wielding religious zealot in action and I don't think we would want our children subjected to that sort of person from any religion even if it were our own.

Put that in your book.
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Old 05-14-2006, 07:35 PM
 
Location: Snow Hill, NC
787 posts, read 3,321,817 times
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Gosh, Carolina Girl it would seem you have a very unpleasant experience with what was allowed and what was not allowed. I never saw anything like that when I went to school. Even children that were of a different faith and didn't do certain things were not required to participate as long as the parent opted out of it. The teachers sent them to the library during this time unless it was say prayer before lunch. In that case, they were just sent to the hall to wait. Also in 1961 the county that I was in didn't have a lot of people that were diverse in their religion. We were all either Baptist or Methodist for the most part. So it didn't present that big of a problem. I can see how it could now however.
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Old 05-14-2006, 08:21 PM
 
Location: Blue Ridge Mtns of NC
5,661 posts, read 24,670,044 times
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Prayer was still permitted in rural Montgomery County schools when I was there in 1968. North Carolina was mostly Christian then as well as now.
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Old 05-14-2006, 09:48 PM
 
Location: Canton, Georgia
75 posts, read 246,063 times
Reputation: 33
Perhaps I should give a bit more detail as to what I'm looking for.

Number one, I'm not looking to start a debate here! I'm not looking to take sides... just looking for historical information.

My novel takes place in 2001. Bethany, what you're referring to is the court battle that took place in the 60s when Madeline Murray O'hair (sp?), a prominent atheist, took her case to the Supreme Court and won, and forced prayer was taken out of the schools across the country, not just in NC. What I'm looking for, though, is any arguments concerning voluntary prayer, specifically before sporting events.

The case in Texas in the year 2000 involved voluntary, student-led invocations prior to sporting events. The school allowed a student, elected by other students, to lead an invocation prior to the football game. Participation was voluntary. But two families took the school district to court, charging that even student-led invocations are a violation of separation of church and state. One of the sticking points was that the student saying the prayer was using the school's PA system, and it was argued that this meant the school was sanctioning the prayer.

Whether I agree with this or not isn't really the point. Again, I'm just looking to find out IF anything happened in North Carolina, and WHAT and WHEN it happened. Just the facts, ma'am. And I'm especially interested in what might have happened within the last ten or fifteen years. I have been told by one person on another board that at her school there were prayers before games, at the option of the participants, but not fully organized and totally voluntary. (This person is in her early twenties now) If that's the case, I want to know that too. Just want to get it right.

Please PM me if anyone reading this feels uncomfortable responding publicly.

Cheers,
Diana
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Old 05-14-2006, 10:10 PM
 
Location: Blue Ridge Mtns of NC
5,661 posts, read 24,670,044 times
Reputation: 3808
I don't recall the issue ever being brought up in my neck of the woods. Supreme Court rulings and some other laws don't mean much to folks in the rural areas if it conflicts with their traditional way of life. Many of these small rural community school systems are way too close knit with the local residents and churches. Do you want present-day official state policy or various unofficial local practices?

Last edited by mm34b; 05-14-2006 at 10:17 PM..
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Old 05-15-2006, 05:21 AM
 
Location: Snow Hill, NC
787 posts, read 3,321,817 times
Reputation: 302
That name does sound familiar now that you mentioned it, Dianalee.
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Old 05-15-2006, 07:57 PM
 
Location: Canton, Georgia
75 posts, read 246,063 times
Reputation: 33
mm34b... I've checked the website of the North Carolina board of education, and found a document that stated that a moment of silence before the games was allowed. That document, if I recall correctly, was dated around 1991.

The way I've handled it in the story takes into account the "tradition" of the prayer, and the close knit relationships with churches in rural areas, like you mentioned. But with changing demographics in recent years (which I assumed in the story), I thought perhaps the issue would have come up. But if the board of education just worked this thing out to allow a moment of silence, without any big to-do about it, then I might have to come up with another issue for the novel... something that would involve just my ficticious community rather than the county school district. (I am trying to be very respectful of the people who live in Nash County, while I'm borrowing their landscape and basic culture for my stories... which means I can't just make everything up as I go along.)

As a side note......... CONGRATULATIONS! to Southern Nash High School's varsity baseball team for a fantastic season! Playoff bound! You guys ROCK!

Cheers,
Diana

Last edited by dianalee4jc; 05-15-2006 at 08:00 PM..
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