An Illinois lawmaker has recently called for the official recognition of prayer, or general religious symbolism, in U.S. public schools so students may turn toward religion "when they feel weak."
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The lawmaker's recent comments contribute to the ongoing debate on how to effectively end school violence, such as the mass shooting that occurred at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., on Dec. 14.
"I also urge the ministers here to fight to get prayer back in schools. That's a mission that we need to do. We need to make sure that we get prayer back in schools in some form or fashion," Rep. La Shawn Ford (D-Chicago) recently told a group of ministers, as reported by the Alton Daily News.
Ford, who has recently pleaded not guilty to charges of federal bank fraud, added that if official prayer cannot be allowed in schools, students should have access to religious shrines on campus to seek peace, should they feel troubled.
According to CBS St. Louis, Ford's suggestion was not well-received by the ministers to whom he spoke, who argued that establishing official prayer in schools is not on their top priority list.
According to the Americans United for Separation of Church and State, a nonpartisan educational organization, official prayer is not permitted in public schools in the U.S.
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SOURCE: Christian Post