Trump Wants To Keep Prayer In Schools, Empower Students And Teachers

The Trump Administration is moving forward with plans to keep religious prayers protected in public schools.

In a proclamation on Wednesday, President Trump affirmed his commitment to protecting religious freedom in the United States and around the world and warned school administrators not to tread on the rights of their students.

“From its opening pages, the story of America has been rooted in the truth that all men and women are endowed with the right to follow their conscience, worship freely, and live in accordance with their convictions,” Trump said per the Western Journal.

“It is totally unacceptable,” the president added, per NPR. “You see it on the football field. You see it so many times where they are stopped from praying and we are doing something to stop that.”

According to the Western Journal, Trump said he “will not tolerate the violation of any American’s ability to worship freely and openly and to live as his or her faith commands.”

The president said the government should “never stand between the people and God.”

“My Administration also remains cognizant of the stark realities for people seeking religious liberty abroad and has made protecting religious minorities a core pillar of my Administration’s foreign policy,” Trump also said.

NPR adds:

Trump did not propose changes to existing law or regulations, but the White House says it wants to empower students and teachers to exercise their rights.

The Department of Education will send a letter to education secretaries and officials in all 50 states reminding them that students and teachers can’t be discriminated against for practicing their First Amendment religious rights.

The administration updated 2003 guidance regarding prayer in public schools. The administration also plans to streamline and mandate a federal complaint process that students can use to alert authorities when they’ve been discriminated against.

President Trump hosted Christian, Jewish and Muslim students who said they had been discriminated against to the White House in commemoration of National Religious Freedom Day.

Joe Grogan, the director of the White House Domestic Policy Council, praised the event and said it was “important” to push religion back into the public square.

“We’re trying across the board to invite religious institutions and people of faith back into the public square and say, ‘Look, your views are just as valid as anybody else’s and, by the way, they’re protected by the First Amendment to the Constitution,’” Grogan said via the Western Journal.

“Whenever the president of the United States draws his megaphone upon a subject, people will pay attention,” he continued via NPR. “It’s important for all Americans, parents, teachers, administrators and citizens to understand that the First Amendment protects religious beliefs and protects people in expressing their spiritual life in the public square.”