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Jackson, Rollins, Shelton 1

Daijon Jackson; Ariel Rollins; Aria Shelton

Ms. Jackson

12th Grade British Literature

24 March 2017

Constitutional Updates for 21st Century Living

Prayer In School: The Continued Debate

When a person prays, typically they are calling upon, fellowshipping or communicating

with a deity to make a request, give thanks, and or worship. The deity is considered to be

empowered to render aid, grant blessings, miraculously heal, execute judgment, or even change

the course of the future. Prayer is very personal, and it serves as the primary way in which

people commune with God. According to the example of our Founding Fathers, the United

States is a country that was built on prayer. Exploration of the New World, which led to the

discovery of America, was guided by men and women seeking to escape religious oppression in

Europe to find a place where they could live happily and worship freely.

In the 17th Century Protestant missionaries from England ventured to the Colonies of

New England. During the early days of this Nation, Christian prayers were commonly recited at

open forums. Many believed prayer guided and supported Americas growth, while providing

protection from the enemy. When Public Schools (academies or associations funded by citizens

taxes and controlled by an elected board) were established, it was expected that prayer would

again be that guiding light successfully building and maintaining that new institution.

Consequently, prayers and Bible reading became the norm as Teachers and students started the

school day. However, tensions developed between the religious population and citizenry who

were not religious, leading to debates, legal action, and Court battles that eventually banned
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prayer and Bible reading in Public Schools. Many say the removal of prayer has led to moral

decay, an increase in school violence and immoral behavior all due to the separation of Church

and State. It is an issue that remains controversial today, but one that deserves attention.

History proves that the United States is a country that was built on Christianity and

prayer. Europeans set sail toward America to fulfill their desire for religious freedom. Many

groups, including the Puritans, settled in the New World to avoid religious persecution in Europe

(World Book Encyclopedia, 305). As a result, the founding fathers of this country provided for

freedom of religious expression by making it possible for citizens to practice their faith, or not be

subjected to any form or religious expression at all.

The Constitutional Convention of 1787 was held in Philadelphia to speak on issues

pertaining to governing the United States. During the Convention, Benjamin Franklin expressed

the importance of prayer in governing. In his address, Franklin indicated that ultimately God

oversees and directs the happenings of men (Thomas, 115). Franklin further indicated that the

longer he lived, the more he witnessed greater and more convincing proofs of this truth. He

pointed out the fact that if a sparrow cannot fall to the ground without Gods noticing it, its

impossible for a Nation to rise without Gods help (Thomas, 115). Franklin continued by making

a strong case for prayer for the good of the country. He begged that prayers be said calling upon

Gods aide and blessings. He requested that prayer precede any business or deliberations at the

start of every morning and that Clergy officiate.

Early education during the era of the American colonies was totally private and mostly

religious, due to the strong influence of Catholics. The Catholic population boomed in this

country during the 1700s (Greenawalt, 13). In 1790, there were approximately 35,000

American Catholics. By 1860 that number grew to more than three million.
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Prayer became a regular practice in public schools during the nineteenth century. In the

mid 1800s, non-private schools began dismantling those that were private that dominated the

American landscape due to the emergence of a different society (Greenawalt, 13). As the

population grew in this country, an anti-Catholic society was also growing. Persons who were

anti-Catholic greatly influenced the development of a different type of school system (Thomas,

115).

Non-Catholics continued to protest and demand change. Non-Catholic groups of citizens

embraced a broad nondenominational Protestantism. Teachings of this group were extremely

religious. By 1830 and during the 30 years that followed, many cities in the United States began

what became known as public schools, which adopted different religious practices (Greenawalt,

14). It was common place each day for school to start with readings from the King James Bible

(Thomas, 115). Students also recited a Protestant version of The Lords Prayer, and were

required to participate regardless of their religious preferences (Thomas, 115).


The tug of war between Protestants and Catholics over school sponsored religious

exercises eventually led to the first round of court battles on the issue. The practice or activity of

Bible reading and reciting The Lords Prayer was not well received by Catholics. They protested

about their children being forced to embrace the Protestant Bible instead of a Catholic one

(Thomas, 115). Disagreements became so heated that in 1844 in Philadelphia, several Catholic

Churches, as well as a convent, were set on fire. Elsewhere, what became known as The Bible

War in Cincinnati, forced the Board of Education to stop the practice of mandatory Bible

teaching (Thomas, 115).


The first round of Court challenges to school sponsored religious actions began around

the late 19th Century (Thomas, 115). The role of Public Schools was starting to be defined, as

many States were against the practice of school sponsored actions requiring students to say
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prayers or read devotions. They indicated that any religious practice imposed by the

Government violated a States Constitution, and basic rights (Thomas, 115). This viewpoint was

adopted by the U.S. Supreme Court, which enforced the U.S. Constitutions First Amendment

provision separating Church and State. State was defined basically as Government at a local,

provincial or national level (Thomas, 115).


Four major cases ruled upon by the United States Supreme Court paved the way toward

banning, and declaring as unlawful, state-approved religious activities in schools. These cases

occurred between the 1960s and the year 2000. They were Engel vs. Vitale in 1962, in which the

High Court ruled that States could not establish official prayers for students to recite (World

Book Encyclopedia, 185). The following year in 1962, required Bible readings were forbidden

in the School District of Abington Township, Pennsylvania vs. Schempp (World Book

Encyclopedia, 185).
The case of Wallace vs. Jaffree in 1985, ordered that a law promoting the observance of a

moment of silence by students for voluntary prayer, was a violation of the Constitution (World

Book Encyclopedia, 185). Moreover, as recent as the year 2000, in Santa Fe Independent School

District vs. Doe, it was decided that students could not have public prayer sessions prior to high

school football games. All of the rulings were based on the First Amendment to the U.S.

Constitution (World Book Encyclopedia, 185). The First Amendment forbids the government

from supporting or sticking up for any religious practice or belief or interfering with any (World

Book Encyclopedia, 185). Due to the fact that Public Schools are financially sustained by people

paying taxes, they are considered to be government institutions.

Religion is a form of expression guaranteed under the First Amendment, which has two

distinct provisions on the matter: the Establishment Clause, and the Free Exercise Clause

(American Civil Liberties Union, 1). The Establishment Clause states that Congress is to make
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no law, favoring any religious establishment (American Civil Liberties Union, 1). The Free

Exercise Clause ensures the rights of the people to practice their religion without government

influence (American Civil Liberties Union, 1). Freedom of religion is the right of a person to

believe in, and practice whatever Faith he or she chooses. Freedom of religion also includes an

individuals rights to have no religious beliefs at all (World Book Encyclopedia, 305).

Freedom of religion and School Prayer are political issues in this country that continue to

be a subject of hot debate today (World Book Encyclopedia, 305). Society was more embracing

of prayer during the earlier days of this nation. In 1787, when Colonists gathered for the

Constitutional Convention, heated disagreements caused Benjamin Franklin, who at the time was

81-years-old, to remind the delegation that prayers were essential in moving this Country

forward (Thomas, 114). Franklin stated that in the beginning of their contest with Britain, as

they were aware of the dangers confronting them, they resorted to daily prayers asking God for

Divine Protection, and that their prayers were not only heard, but answered. Franklin continued

by stating All of us who engaged in the struggle must have observed frequent instances of a

superintending providence in our favor, and have we now forgotten this powerful friend? Or do

we imagine we no longer need His assistance? (Thomas 114-115).

In more recent times, the case that became a trailblazer for others, and started the debate

across the country on the issue of school prayer was the 1962 decision of Engel vs. Vitale and

Schempp, in which the High Court in a six-to-one vote, overwhelmingly ruled that a state

sponsored program of nondenominational prayer in New York Public Schools was unlawful

(Boles, 186). Questioned was the constitutionality of the State Law, and the School District

requiring students to recite the nondenominational prayer. Since this landmark case in 1962,

parents have argued that mandatory prayer violates the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution
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which indicates, Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion (Boles,

187).

Terry Arcola, a parent of a high-school student involved in a school-prayer controversy in

Jackson, Mississippi, commented Our schools arent there to put values and morals in our kids,

thats why [parents] do. If we cant do that, thats whats wrong with the world today, is parents

arent doing their job. Its not up to the school or the school system or a principal or teachers, or

anybody else out there. Its up to the parents. (Andryszewski, 7).

Meanwhile, there were many across the country who opposed the Supreme Courts

decision. Among them Alabama Governor George Wallace who stated, I dont care what they

say in Washington, we are going to keep right on praying and reading the Bible in the public

schools of Alabama. (Andryszewski, 7). Many years later the debate continued in July of 1995,

when President Bill Clinton stated that balance was the answer to the controversy. Clinton

indicated, Our Founders understood that religious freedom was basically a coin with two sides.

The Constitution protected the free exercise of religion, but prohibited the establishment of

religion. Its a careful balance thats uniquely American. It is the genius of the First

Amendment. It does not, as some people have implied, make us a religion-free country. It has

made us the most religious country in the world. (Andryszewski, 7).

The removal of prayer in school has led to an increase in immorality, violence, and a rise

in teen pregnancy. In the book Grappling with the Good: Talking about Religion and Morality in

Public Schools, the author, Robert Kunzman, talks about the role of religion in school, and how

it helps or hurts students in terms of being able to respect and tolerate differences (36).

Moreover, Kunzman agrees with the use of religion in conversations with students as a form of

expression to enable them to learn how to dialogue with other students, as well as express
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differences and morality (principles that distinguish between good and bad, right and wrong)

(36). Kunzman also stresses the importance of increasing religious diversity in conversations

about religious differences indicating a persons beliefs define who they are and how they act

(36). Three main topics are the focal point of the book Religion In Schools: should prayer be

allowed; should religion be allowed; and whether Intelligent Design (the idea that life did not

develop by change, but by some intelligent entity, person or thing) should be taught (Merino, 5-

6). Regarding prayer, arguments on both sides of the issue were explored. Supporters of prayer

say that it provides many benefits to society. Among them, teaching morality (right vs. wrong /

good vs. bad) (Merino, 72). Various viewpoints maintain that prayer assists with offsetting the

rise in school shootings, drug use, alcoholism, teen pregnancy and transmission of HIV and other

diseases among students (Merino, 73).

Ann Donnelly, a former Chair of the Clark County, Washington Republican Party,

commended the idea of prayer in public schools. Donnelly said students who take time to

assemble prayer groups at local high schools in her State (of Washington) are doing a good thing

(Haugen and Musser, 148-149). By that, she indicated they are doing their part to make their

schools more positive places to learn. She also praised teachers stating Similarly, the teachers

who agree to monitor the groups are using their scant personal time for a worthy purpose: filling

the spiritual void in students lives that if neglected, could draw them toward violence, drugs or

gangs. (Haugen and Musser, 150).

In a 1954 survey of Teachers opinions, the magazine Nations Schools, discovered that

the majority of teachers polled felt the duty of teaching religion was not the responsibility of the

school (Boles, 284). 500 administrators were surveyed, and 44-percent (220) responded, in reply
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to a series of questions, including Whose responsibility is it to train children in religion?

(Boles, 284-285).

1.4 % said it was the job solely of the church.

54.5 % indicated it was the duty of both the church and parents.

44.1 % believed this type of training was a shared responsibility of the Church,

home and school (Boles, 285).

In a separate study of just California schools, conducted by a Committee of Moral and

Spiritual Values in Education in Napa, California, surveyors sought to analyze opinions on how

the local school system could transmit moral and spiritual values with attention devoted to

Bible reading as an avenue toward attaining the goal (Boles, 285). The Napa Study included the

opinion of Teachers on all levels from elementary school through college. A total of 53

elementary teachers; 27 High School instructors and 34 College Professors participated (Boles,

287).

98% of the teachers polled believed that schools should impart moral values.

93% felt schools should spread spiritual values.

78% believed schools should be responsible for conveying these values.

95% felt greater emphasis should be placed on these in educational study (Boles, 287).

It was also noted that the greatest number of the 22 percent who opposed schools

providing religious instruction were elementary teachers, while the lowest number of the 22

percent was among college professors (Boles, 287). 25% percent of the teachers polled said their

goal was to include moral and spiritual values in all work and activities (Boles, 288).

The removal of prayer in school has led to an increase in criminal and immoral activity.
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Dating back to 1998, one can readily see a pattern emerging of an increase in the number of

incidents of School violence with the removal of prayer in school. In late March 1998, two

Jonesboro, Arkansas middle school students murdered four of their classmates and a teacher

(Haugen and Musser, 149). A week later, a 12-year-old boy calling himself Mr. Pimp, was

convicted of leading a prostitution ring in his classroom (Haugen and Musser, 149). During

April 1998, a 15-year-old was expelled from a school in Ohio for having an electronically

produced Hit List, composed of both teachers and students names (Haugen and Musser, 149).

In that same month, a student from Ohio decided to hold administrators and students hostage and

threatened to kill them if the authorities didnt supply him with Whiskey and Vodka (Haugen and

Musser, 149).

In more recent years, this country has seen a soaring number of school shootings. April

20, 1999, 12 students and one teacher were gunned down by two students ages 17 and 18 in the

Columbine High School Shootings, which at the time was deemed the worst school incident in

U.S. history (CNN Headline News, 1999). Just before Christmas, on December 14, 2012 in

Newtown, Connecticut, school was in progress with approximately 700 students present when a

20-year-old gunman arrived targeting two classes of kindergartners and first-graders. When his

rampage was over, 20 children and 6 adults were killed (CNN Headline News, 2012). In one

classroom, a substitute teacher was filling in for the regular class teacher who was out on

maternity leave. Police indicated the perpetrator killed all 14 students in that substitute teachers

classroom, including the teacher (CNN Headline News, 2012).

In conclusion, Prayer in schools has helped hold together the moral fabric of students.

The Nations Schools and this country have both suffered great tragedies due to the removal of

prayer from schools. This countrys future, and answer to school violence, as well as moral
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decay can possibly be found in a simple word prayer. It is evident that since prayer and

Scriptures were banned from Public Schools, this country has spiraled into a moral downfall, and

school violence has definitely increased (Cahn, 21).

The United States moral descent is even described in the New York Times Best Seller,

The Harbinger, a fact based book written in the form of a novel. In the book, Jonathan Cahn

speaks of the result of the moral decay in this country through a Prophet who has a series of

conversations with a well-known Newspaper Reporter. The Prophets foretells Americas dismal

future if it fails to repent and return to God. In the warning he speaks of how the removal of

prayer in Public Schools was the start of America turning its back on God. Cahn writes, In the

middle of the twentieth century America began officially removing God from its national life. It

abolished prayer and Scripture in its public schools. (21). The author further indicates that just

as Israel during ancient times removed the Ten Commandments from public display and public

squares as a result of a government decree, the same has happened in the United States (Cahn,

21).

Over the course of time, God has also been drive out of this Countrys public life.

According to Cahn, the very principles on which this Country was built, ultimately has become a

point of ridicule and attack (21). Building his case, the Prophet states, That which had

once been revered as sacred was now increasingly treated as profanity. And as God was driven

out, idols were brought in to replace Himidols of sensualitygreed of moneysuccess,

comfort, materialism, pleasure, sexual immorality, self-worship, self-obsession. (Cahn, 21). The

Prophet continues by stating that, the sacred increasingly disappeared, and the profane took

its place. It was another kind of spiritual amnesia; the Nation forgot its foundations, its purpose,

and its calling. The standards and values it had long upheld were now abandoned. What it had
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once known as immoral, it now accepted Children were taught of sexual immorality in public

schools while the Word of God was banned. (Cahn, 22).

As indicated in the book Religion in Schools, there are societal benefits that prayer offers,

and that we as a Country have witnessed, among them, instilling moral values (Merino, 72).

This was emphasized in the viewpoint Should Prayer be Allowed in Schools. Schools must be

about the business of doing more than just providing an education to children. In addition to that

role, many would agree that they must provide nourishment for their souls and reinforce values

taught at home (Merino, 72). For those children living in homes that dont instill morals, values

and ethics, school may be the only place that provides instruction in these critically important

areas. While school prayer may not, and cannot solve all of the issues schools are confronted

with today, it can teach children morals, and help train their minds to think and act differently,

which in the end benefits both them and society as a whole.

Gun Laws and Gun Control

Throughout most the twentieth century, gun violence has been accountable for the death

of many U.S. citizens. Former President Barack Obama continued to find a solution to this

problem until the incident on October 1, 2015. On this day, there was a mass shooting at a

community college in Roseburg, Oregon. Later the following November there a video was

released of a policeman shooting and killing an African-American teenager on October of 2014,

causing an uproar in the city of Chicago. (Gale, 2016)

There are many more unaired incidents involving the killing of African-Americans due to

a lack of gun laws and simple police brutality. While police brutality holds its own problems, gun

violence amongst citizens is still a large reason for death. Days after the shooting in Chicago, a

gunman attacked a Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado. Three bystanders were killed and nine
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were injured. America was even more stunned by December 2nd when a husband and wife

attacked a holiday convention in California. (Gale, 2016)

Former President Obama said that these mass shootings were a result of what he saw as

"too-lenient gun laws". Later, Obama made a national television address on December 6 which

shocked the nation. He said that the San Bernardino shooting was a terrorist attack while

reassuring jittering Americans. Obama also said that his administration would take the threats

seriously and that all issues would be overcome with time. The official White House video lasted

for about thirty-three minutes as Former President Obama asked for civilization from the

American people, yet violence remains. Rather than pointing fingers or assigning blame, he

said, let us use this occasion to expand our moral imaginations, (Gale, 2016)

Gun laws were not only an issue in the past century, but all throughout history, such as

the nineteenth century. In the nineteenth century, laws concealing weapons varied greatly. The

court case of 1822, Bliss vs. Commonwealth, ruled to strike down a law in Kentucky in which

concealed weapons in the state. Early in this case, it was believed that the weapon was not the

gun, but rather the sword concealed in the shaft of the cane, which meant that weapons unseen

was more of a threat than the obvious threat such as a gun. Two decades later another case

emerged in the Supreme Court known as State vs. Buzzard. (Gale, 2016)

Unlike the Kentucky Supreme Court, the Arkansas Supreme Court upheld a law that

prohibited the carrying of weapons that could not be seen. These two cases highlighted different

views on the Second Amendment which grants all citizens of America the right to bear arms. For

some people the Second Amendment allows unrestricted freedom to possess arms for their

defense while others believe that it protects the rights of citizens to form what is known as a
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well-regulated militia. Since the Constitution was written, the legal definition for well-

regulated and militia has been interpreted differently. (Johnson, 2016)

As the early twentieth century approached, favoritism for the restriction of concealed

weapons emerged. Other states began to catch on to the obvious issue of firearms and by the

1980s, more than a dozen states prohibited private citizens from carrying concealed firearms.

These states became known as no-issue states since they do not issue or recognize concealed

weapons. In the following decades, however, these no-issue states changed their laws to allow

at least some gun owners to carry concealed weapons. States such as Alaska and Arizona now

allow gun owners to concealed weapons without a permit. (Johnson, 2016)

Despite this set-back, most state have some form of requirements that must be met for a

citizen to carry a firearm. Requirements to be met may include classroom instruction or the

demonstration of proper use of the firearm by the potential owner. Even though most gun laws

are ruled on a state level, federal gun control laws have enacted nationwide restrictions which

contradict local laws. The Gun-Free School Zones Act of 1990 prohibits carrying a firearm

within one-thousand feet of any elementary or secondary school in the United States. In urban

areas, this makes it almost impossible for citizens to carry concealed weapons since schools are

always within this range. (Johnson, 2016)

There have been critics of the Gun-Free School Zones Act who state that school

shootings are still increasing and that this act is ineffective. There was a massacre in 2007 at

Virginia Tech University in which more than thirty people were killed, more evidence that the act

was ineffective since Virginia Tech had taken some precautions against firearms. Following the

massacre, the group Students for Concealed Carry on Campus was formed. The group has
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impacted a regulation which now states that only licensed individuals can carry concealed

firearms onto campus grounds to increase safety. (Lott, 2005)

Another step back was taken less than a decade later in the state of Texas. The Texas

Senate Bill 11 was passed on May of 2015 which granted individuals to carry firearms on

campus, dormitories, and even in the classrooms of the states public universities. Around the

same time in the year 2009, Former President Obama administered and signed a bill into law

which allowed individuals to carry concealed weapons within most of United States national

parks. This was formerly illegal because firearms used to be administered by a federal agency.

(Lott, 2005)

Surprisingly, there are many supporters for the carrying of concealed weapons despite all

the mayhem that has been caused from citizens carrying firearms. They say that firearms provide

a means of self-defense or for the use of preventing robbery. This is true, but gun laws are too

lenient and allow dangerous individuals to carry and purchase firearms too easily. There is never

a background check which is why America is in the predicament that it is in now. John Lott, an

economist, defends supporters with the fact that allowing citizens to carry concealed firearms in

the 1980s to the 1990s resulted in lower crime rates. (Lott, 2005)

These supporters continue to refer to Mr. Lotts studies to increase their argument. This

argument popularized John Lotts book titled More Guns, Less Crime, which has been criticized

by several noted academics. Steven Levitt, who is also an economist, noted that citizens carrying

concealed weapons did not cause the rate of crime to decrease, but that crime was already

decreasing during this time period. Levitt also confirmed that the gun control laws during that

time period did not contribute to the decrease in crime. As of 2016, it has been confirmed that the
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Second Amendment does not allow for the carrying of concealed firearms in public places such

as parks or museums. (Lott, 2005)

A law was upheld in California that now required those who wanted to purchase a firearm

to have a good reason for needing a permit. The ruling did not overturn any of Californias

existing gun laws, but it did express another loss for our rights and liberties to supporters of

carrying concealed weapons. For those supporting gun control, this ruling was a success. This

case has continued to spark the debate on whether public safety and defense should be in the

hands of the government or if we as citizens should have most of the say in whether we can carry

concealed weapons. (Rosen, 2016)

By the year 2015, nearly thirty-two thousand Americans died from gunshot

wounds in the past year. This means that approximately eighty-eight people die daily from

gunshot wounds. The misuse of guns has been an ongoing problem for centuries and there is still

not a stable solution. Democrat Stacey Newman proposed a bill that would make gun purchasers

wait seventy-two hours before they could receive their purchase. This seventy-two-hour rule

would help to prevent anyone with immediate intentions to kill. However, this bill will not fully

prevent weapons from ending up in the wrong hands, which is the ultimate goal. (Rosen, 2016)

To discourage unnecessary violence, Newmans bill would also require gun

purchasers to tour emergency rooms on the weekend between the hours of 10:00pm and 6:00am.

Around this time, most hospitals have victims of firearms present. Gun buyers would be required

to meet with at least two families of the victims. Afterwards they would have to meet two people

who have attended funerals of minors who were killed by a firearm. Newman says that she wants

gun buyers along with state legislatures to understand the dangers of firearms and how they

affect families, friends, and co-workers. (Rosen, 2016)


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Even though there is virtually no way for the bill to be passed in Missouri because it has a

Republican-dominated legislative, Newman reached her goal. The bill went viral over the

internet and people supported the idea. This caused supporters to send thousands of letters

demanding their elected representatives to do something. Newman is now working at with

Washington University in St. Louis to treat gun violence. She says that she has learned that

tenacity eventually pays off because evidence that gun control laws save lives overrules all other

debates. (Rosen, 2016)

Other state lawmakers have greatly impacted America despite the knowledge that

Congress will not pass any major gun control laws. Many state lawmakers aspire to Former

President Obama because of his executive decisions to protect more citizens from becoming a

victim of firearms. By 2016, lawmakers in over forty-one states have passed one-hundred

twenty-five laws since the Sandy Hook massacre in 2012. Laura Cutilletta, a senior staff

attorney, confirmed that sixteen states are considering bills that will get rid of loopholes in most

gun control laws and finally require a background check. It was also confirmed that another

thirteen states were considering a bill that would remove firearms from domestic abusers.

(Williams, 2017)

Red states like Louisiana supported the idea and said that deaths were decreased when

firearms are kept from dangerous people and safety measures are taken. In 2008, a court case

confirmed that the Second Amendment granted law-abiding citizens the right to purchase

weapons for lawful purposes. This did not mean however that citizens are allowed to carry a

firearm whenever and wherever they choose to go. This confirmation went on to state that guns

are not allowed in sensitive places such as schools. Gun control advocates soon passed laws to

protect vulnerable individuals like children, the elderly, and the handicap. (Williams, 2017)
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Since the 2008 decision, Cutilletta says that gun control laws were passed dealing with

gun dealer sales and gun owner responsibilities. States have also passed laws dealing with assault

weapons such as machine guns. Despite this, some states have made it easier to acquire

handguns even after mass shootings such as the Sandy Hook case. Still, bills permitting guns in

schools were not approved nor were bills passed that would have permitted guns on most college

and university campuses. (Williams, 2017)

Immigration Reform

In this modern day and age constitutional reform is a necessary measure to ensure that

America stays progressive and continues on its path to modernity. Reform means make changes

in (something, typically a social, political, or economic institution or practice) in order to

improve it(Google) The main reason this is necessary is that since the time of the drafting of the

constitution a lot has changed. Whether it be more immigration newer technologies various

regulations and even discrepancies with power. Constitutional reforms need to be carefully

planned based on specific instances if they are to work properly. To do this effectively the

problem needs to be identified before a solution can be put in place. (Hinojosa-Ojeda, 2011)

Immigration reform is the big topic in American society; this is caused by increased

immigration to the United States, which has its own set of problems. According to the text More

than 10 million undocumented aliens currently reside in the U.S., and the illegal immigration rate

is growing by 700,000 per year. and The real problem presented by illegal immigration is

security, not the supposed threat to the economy. There were small reforms to help tackle the

issue In the following viewpoint, Hinojosa-Ojeda praises the 1987 Immigration Reform and

Control Act for granting legalized status to many undocumented Hispanic immigrants who had

resided continuously in the United States since 1982. According to the author, these immigrants
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freed from the need to hide from authoritiescould vie for better-paying jobs, build

businesses, and contribute to their communities. In Hinojosa-Ojeda's view, this benefited these

workers, raised the wage floor of all workers, and added wealth to the overall

economy.(Hinojosa-Ojeda, 2011)

The reason that reform needs to be carefully planned is the fact that they do not always

work in the real world. The 1987 reform and control act had a few disadvantages Hinojosa-

Ojeda notes that the reform measure did not set flexible quotas to deal with the increasing

number of immigrants wanting to work in the United States, so within a few years, the pool of

illegal immigrants grew again, sinking wages for many legalized immigrants and exacerbating

discrimination against Latinos.(Hinojosa-Ojeda, 2011) The Immigration Reform and Control

Act of 1986: The amnesty law of 1986 passed through Congress and was signed by President

Ronald Reagan, but it is largely considered a failure. The legislation was meant to tighten border

security and crack down on employers hiring undocumented immigrants, while offering amnesty

to those already in the country illegally. Three million immigrants were legalized, but the law did

not slow illegal immigration or create a framework to deal with it going forward. Since then,

opponents of comprehensive reform have often cited the 1986 legislation as a reason to be

wary.(Washington post) These are just some of the reforms that have failed due to not fully

planning out the situation and properly identifying the problem. (Hinojosa-Ojeda, 2011)

Our own societal views may start to hinder our constitutional reforms and therefore

hinder our forward movement as a modern country. Populism, Nationalism, and Protectionism

are just a few things that hold our society back. Populism: How did immigration become rocket

fuel for populism? To many, the answer is obvious: The last decade has been cruel to many

workers, who in turn blame immigrants. That's how Hillary Clinton explains support for the anti-
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immigrant rhetoric of her Republican rival, Donald Trump: "These are hard times that folks are

going through." Yet the link between economic circumstances and acceptance of immigrants is

surprisingly weak. In fact, the current backlash against immigration has less to do with jobs and

wages and more to do with concerns about national identity and control of borders, research

suggests. (Greg, 2016) This quote shows how populism affects immigration reform in the

United States. But what is Populism, Populism is the support or advocacy of ordinary people this

means appealing to the masses. Many normal ordinary American people blame immigration for

various negative things in our society such as unemployment, increased taxes and especially

terrorism and drug trafficking. Populism makes a problem for lawmakers that vouch for

immigration reform because the majority are against it which makes it difficult to pass such laws.

(Greg, 2016)

Nationalism is not entirely different than populism but it still hurts American reform and

has been a hindrance in economics since before Americas conception. Nationalism is the

patriotic feeling that puts ones own country above all other countries and believes that those

born in the country are the only true citizens and have certain rights above others. How has

Nationalism affected Immigration reform In the immediate aftermath of the 2008 global

financial crisis, policymakers' success in preventing the Great Recession from turning into Great

Depression II held in check demands for protectionist and inward-looking measures. But now the

backlash against globalization and the freer movement of goods, services, capital, labor, and

technology that came with it has arrived. (Greg, 2016)

This new nationalism takes different economic forms: trade barriers, asset protection,

reaction against foreign direct investment, policies favoring domestic workers and firms, anti-

immigration measures, state capitalism, and resource nationalism. In the political realm, populist,
Jackson, Rollins, Shelton 20

anti-globalization, anti-immigration, and in some cases outright racist and anti-Semitic parties

are on the rise. These forces loath the alphabet soup of supranational governance institutions

the EU, the UN, the WTO, and the IMF, among others that globalization requires. Even the

internet, the epitome of globalization for the past two decades, is at risk of being balkanized as

more authoritarian countries including China, Iran, Turkey, and Russia seek to restrict access

to social media and crack down on free expression.(Roubini, 2014)

This shows how a sense of Nationalism targets Immigrants from small things like

favoring domestic workers to big things such as full scale Anti-Immigration reform. Nationalism

has been the downfall of many civilizations because it limits foreign trade and investment like

globalization and promotes isolationist policies. Protectionism is the last ideal standing in the

way of immigration reform. What is protectionism, Protectionism is the theory or practice of

protecting a countrys domestic industries and employment and limiting foreign investment and

interaction within the country. (Jackson, 2017)

For these, opposing immigration is not about border control, national security, or the

rule of law (topics for another day), but about protecting American jobs and protecting the

American worker.(Sunde, 2015) This is the opening statement of an article that argues that

Protectionist policies and Anti-Immigration ideals poison the American economy. How is this

possible Consider the recent shift of Scott Walker. Once a supporter of legal immigration,

Walker now says that immigration hurts the American worker, and that the next president and

the next Congress need to make decisions about a legal immigration system thats based on, first

and foremost, protecting American workers and American wages. Or Rick Santorum, who has

made no bones about his bid for the protectionist bloc. American workers deserve a shot at

[good] jobs, he said. Over the last 20 years, we have brought into this country, legally and
Jackson, Rollins, Shelton 21

illegally, 35 million mostly unskilled workers. And the result, over that same period of time,

workers wages and family incomes have flat lined. (Sunde, 2015)

Unfortunately, these attitudes run deeper than surface-level platitudes or fringe thinkers.

According to a recent study by Pew Research Center, only 27 percent of Republicans say that

immigration (even legal immigration) has a positive impact on our country: [F]ar more (63%)

say that immigrants are a burden because they take jobs, housing and health care. Republican

views on this question have turned more negative over the last year. The share of Republicans

who say immigrants strengthen the country has declined from 42% in March 2014. And yet,

when it comes to basic economic theory and observation, confirmed by the vast majority of

thinkers and thought leaders in the movement at large, we see no evidence of this threat. On the

contrary, we find that immigration boosts the labor market and accelerates economic growth.

From the late Julian Simon to Raul Hinojosa-Ojeda to Douglas Holtz-Eakin, from AEI to

Heritage to Cato (and even Brookings), the evidence only compounds. Still, the attitudes persist,

which, given their disconnect from reality and otherwise sound political principles, may indicate

that the deeper issues have less to do with surface-level economic ignorance than with a more

basic selfishness and distorted view of human dignity and potential. (Sunde, 2015)

This shows that many Anti-Immigration lawmakers fears and views that Immigration

hurts the American way of life has no basis and no merit but the fact that globalization and legal

migration help the American economy by creating a more diverse workplace that leads to more

businesses more education and a stronger workforce. (Sunde, 2015)

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