For years, religion has had trouble staying in the public school system, as these schools are unable to sponsor anything of the sort. However, a Texas high school seems to be bucking the trend and starting a debate in doing so. Liberty High School in Frisco, Texas put a room together in 2009 for students to use as a prayer room. Muslim students are the ones who mainly use the room, but the room is said to be open to all faiths, including Christians.
Each day after 2:00 p.m., the room opens for students who want to have a place to use it. It was opened due to the fact that the closest Muslim Mosque was too far from the school for them to walk. This is why the room was opened, and it seemed to be okay for some while others did not like the move. This includes Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton.
Despite the school claiming otherwise, he believes the room is off-limits to non-Muslim students. Paxton said in a letter on Friday to the school district that any exclusion would be inconsistent with First Amendment protection of religious liberty. A school spokesperson would come out at that time and claim the classroom was available to “students of all walks of life.” Of course, this got people talking in the community and across the state of Texas.
This led to talk on Fox and Friends where the pastor of the First Baptist Church in Dallas spoke with them. Robert Jeffress said this regarding the school prayer room.
“I believe as long as students had equal access to the room it’s not a First Amendment issue. I believe we really as conservatives need to be careful that we don’t pervert the First Amendment like liberals do to use it for their own agenda.”
Democratic political consultant and Muslim-American, Mustafa Tameez, said that the Texas Attorney seemed to be creating controversy where it simply did not exist, telling Fox and Friends the following.
“In airports we have a chapel where people can go pray. So it’s not necessarily just for Muslim students. It’s for anybody, anybody of faith that wants to use a room to communicate with their creator.”
Tameez and Pastor Jeffress are right. The first amendment cannot be violated if all students from every faith are allowed into the room. Some may assume that it might be uncomfortable for Christian students to use the room with Muslims in there as well. Plus Christians typically pray in different ways in comparison to Muslims.
According to the bill of rights, the first amendment says this.
“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press, or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”
This allows every American the right to say what they wish in the way they wish to say it. It allows them to praise people and go against them by protesting in a peaceful way. Due to this, one can praise whatever God they wish. If by chance they harm others, the first amendment no longer protects them. Most of course get how this works, but politicians often times look for issues where they are not any.
There are some who are against the room simply because of how they grew up. Many Americans grew up in an era where religion was not so much banned by schools, it just was not sponsored or encouraged by them. Christians wanted to have the freedoms that were afforded to the Muslims at Liberty High School in Texas. However, that did not come for them despite numerous attempts by many people over the years.
The good part about Liberty High School is that they wanted to help the Muslims by giving them a prayer room. However, they did not want to somehow give one group more of an ability over the others. The room is open to all, which means it does not violate the first amendment. It will be interesting to see how this develops, as it has apparently been an issue for nearly a decade now.
[Featured Image By Eric Gay/AP Images]