Do kids today have a prayer?

God only knows!

After the horror of Uvalde TX and, here in Madison, cafeteria brawls, 12-year-olds stealing cars, and teenage shoot-em-ups, this headline in this morning’s Wall Street Journal seems almost quaint:

“Supreme Court rules coach can pray on field after game.”

Is America great, or what!

The administrators of the coach’s Bremerton WA school district are standard-issue School of Education graduates — patrolling the watchtower for the stray appeal to a higher power but scheduling drag queen story hour for class assembly. Progressives say “Build The Wall!” if it separates church and state. Dishing a little back-atcha,  Justice Gorsuch writes, if the coach’s prayer can be considered government speech,

“Then a school could fire a Muslim teacher for wearing a headscarf in the classroom or prohibit a Christian aide from praying quietly over her lunch in the cafeteria.  … Learning how to tolerate speech or prayer of all kinds is ‘part of learning how to live in a pluralistic society,’ a trait of character essential to a tolerant citizenry.”

This retired altar boy is out of practice but we respect those who pray as being hopeful creatures appealing to (as Father Abraham once said) our better angels. Has to be an improvement over CRT’s divisive insistence on oppressor vs. victim and its preoccupation with litigating blame for long-ago wrongs.

Tales told out of church

Well before Vatican 2, we began the school day at Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary at holy Mass. Not high Mass, but low Mass (a distinction since lost).

One poor kid suffered from a nervous stomach or, perhaps, a bad breakfast. Every other week, it seems, the young sufferer bolted from his seat up by the altar where the littlest kids sat. His bid to make it out of the church before emptying the fermenting contents of his stomach were hindered by a) his short legs and b) decision to take the long way out to the main entrance. Vomit tracked this pilgrim’s progress the length of the nave.

Perhaps, despite his Irish last name, he was an embryonic Methodist.

In time, young Blaska was drafted into the corps of altar boys serving Mass. We memorized the Latin responses; the more curious among us looked up the English translation of our incantations. The altar boy kneeling next to me kept up a running monolog on forgotten subjects. This acolyte offered a silent prayer (in English) that his partner would shut the hell up, being we were in the middle of holy Mass.

The Rev. Father Herbert Waldkirch wheeled around and threw the gem-studded chalice in our direction. “Would you two shut up?!” The consecrated goblet banged off the marble floor and (I cannot swear to this) bounced over the communion rail (later removed on order of Vatican 2) and into the pews. It is possible that a first-grader got an impromptu baptism in the Blood of Christ that morning.

Looking back on that long-ago episode recalls Jesus chasing the money changers out of the temple. O.K., it’s a stretch, but even the Son of God could get his dander up but don’t try it if you are a government school teacher awaiting contract renewal.

Blaska’s Bottom Line: Put the fear of God into the wrong kid today at any Madison WI public school and you’ll wind up like Mr. Rob at Whitehorse middle school — cashing unemployment checks. Madison’s public schools won’t even ban smart phones in the classroom.

What is YOUR prayer?

About David Blaska

Madison WI
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21 Responses to Do kids today have a prayer?

  1. Steve says:

    This Protestant once dated a Catholic woman and went with her to a Latin mass on Easter. The priest walked around the aisles sprinkling holy water on everyone and I got a dollop in my eye. I turned to my gf and declared, “I can see again, I don’t need glasses anymore.” That joyous news got me an elbow in the ribs….from said gf, not the priest…….


  2. Peter Anderson says:

    Dave, could I be blunt. This is just so much bull shit.

    Catholics just can’t figure out why others of other faiths objecting to the Church’s unrelenting attempts to slyly slip in and make theirs the state religion

    When there is the slightest Muslim incursion, all hell breaks loose.

    Wasn’t the 30 Years war, the 80 years war, the Crusades, the Sudanese war enough for Catholics to get the message that the only way to maintain peace, and to be fair to each other, Is to get all religion out of the public square. I’m from NYC and will never forget the Church’s constant attempts to normalize its precepts into everyone else’s lives. Jesus, even the Jehovah’s Witnesses largely confined their labors outside the public square.

    Are you really blind to the fact that if one opens the door to allowing a so-called open door to religions in public institutions it will not wind up with the predominant religion in that community making everyone else feel marginalized. You can’t be that insensitive. Alito is a small idiot who cannot think beyond his personal needs, but you’re not like that, Dave.

    I grew up in Jewish community, and if they had been permitted to strut their religious symbols in school it would have made the few Catholic kids squirm. I’m at a loss that you can’t see that.

    What the Church is seeking is domination not equality, and, if they are successful in the short term, they will reap the whirlwind in the long term.

    This ought not be that complicated.


    • richard lesiak says:

      Great post. Thanks


    • Gary L. Kriewald says:

      What exactly do you mean by “strut” their religious symbols? Wearing a Star of David on a necklace? This obsession with “cleansing ” the public square of even the most innocuous reference to religious belief shares a mindset with advocates of ethnic cleansing–though of course the left assumes its high-minded cleansing is the exception.

      Liked by 1 person

    • David Blaska says:

      Is the Catholic Church trying to amend the Constitution to recognize transubstantiation? No. Incorporate the Nicene Creed into statute? No, again. It opposes abortion. Supports education. Funds charity work. So do many Jews and Protestants. I don’t think the football coach in Bremerton WA is Catholic. Wasn’t it clear that I was referring to my parochial school?


    • patrickmoloughlin says:

      I would take the time to criticize and dismantle your comments, but let’s face it, there is no worse condemnation than have Dick praise it as a “great post.”

      Liked by 1 person

  3. westsidesue says:

    AHHHH now that explains everything ….a former altar boy (or are you still subscribing to the ranks of puffy-sleeved white aprons and Brylcremed coifs? You do have that certain je ne sais quoi. I’m glad the coach got the green light anyway – brings new meaning to a “Hail Mary pass”. No?


  4. Shirley Diederich says:

    I look forward to your posts every day. Thank you 😊

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Gary L. Kriewald says:

    If the coach had been holding “pride” meetings for LGBTQIA XYZ football players on the 50-yard line, he’d have been given the teacher of the year award.

    Liked by 4 people

  6. Rollie says:

    This case is nothing like “wearing a headscarf in the classroom or prohibiting a Christian aide from praying quietly over her lunch in the cafeteria.” Neither of those things pressure children to participate in the employee’s religious act.

    How about a Muslim football coach “inviting” the team to join him in his praise of Allah for their win in front of the entire crowd after each game? How about a Satanic coach? Careful what you wish for. It seems like some Christians think religious expression only applies to them.

    If only I were a teacher I’d be all over my new-found “right” to pressure children to join me in religious rituals (I’m not serious because I’m not this type of person, this is an example of what is now legal). After every jazz band rehearsal I could invite the kids to join me in a hearty “Hail Satan” chant, and then think about what to do with the twerps who dare to walk away. “Billy, I don’t think you’re ready to take the solo on Chattanooga Choo-Choo, Bobby has been working really hard and I think he’ll be great on it. No, this has nothing to do with our daily Hail Satan, of course not! Go ahead a try and prove it” 😉 Just think about how effective this would be with even younger kids – I could cultivate a whole generation of Satanists.

    How much would you bet I’d get death threats from so-called Christians?


    • Mordecai The Red says:

      Rollie, I take it you’re not a coach in a public school. I am, and I can tell you that the scenario you pose is implausible. There is an overwhelming amount of scrutiny by busybody parents over teachers and coaches nowadays. None of them could get away with religious favoritism over their students or players for long before someone took them to task in a way that few are willing to stomach. I’ve known coaches who were chastised, harassed, and run out of town by rabid parents for far milder offenses. Most parents are decent and supportive, but there are a few every year that demand their kids get put on thrones and will make life miserable for anyone who stands in their way. Almost no teachers or coaches are willing to jeopardize their resumes and careers over their religious beliefs when every move they make is watched.

      I’m Catholic and have no issue with someone of another faith engaging in prayer to whatever deity they believe in in a school setting as long as it isn’t forced, which an invitation to join doesn’t equate to. I want more religious expression in public, not less, and that goes for all of them. Put up a nativity scene in a public park, light a menorah in the Capitol rotunda, line up the prayer rugs on the Farmer’s Market lawn, and hang a portrait of the Flying Spaghetti Monster in the lobby of city hall—all fine by me, and I even encourage it. Suppression of beliefs only encourages more division. I might have my own issues with Satanism (which you appear to confuse with devil worship, but nevermind) but would treat its expression equally in the interest of fairness. Yes, you might get death threats from some, and I would immediately condemn them.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Rollie says:

        That’s very tolerant and I’d be cool with living in the world as you describe. I don’t see American Conservatives to be in alignment with that approach. Religion is essentially an opinion. There’s a strong effort underway to purge opinions unpopular with conservatives from schools: CRT, Marxism, LGBTQ-tolerance, etc.

        So if it’s good for the goose it’s good for the gander. Are we going to let educators have free reign voicing their opinions so long as the students are not formally required to agree? I can live with or without that so long as it’s consistent.

        Note the line between an invitation and a requirement is murky, more and more so the younger the kid. They spend all day under the premise that they do what the teacher, coach, etc. says or there are tangible consequences. Then suddenly there’s an “invitation” that 90% of the kids are participating in.


        • Mordecai The Red says:

          Yes, religion is essentially an opinion, and like all opinions, I don’t want them suppressed. I believe in freedom of expression and the marketplace of ideas, and hold that both are essential to healthy minds, critical thinking, and an informed society. If you don’t like someone’s opinion, counter it with something better instead of silencing it and let those listening make their own choice. That’s why I abhor students shouting down speakers they don’t like and other cancel culture tactics. Yes, suppression of speech is not foreign to the right, but from where I stand, is practiced far more often by the left (you may disagree, and that’s fine).

          Yes, I am fine with letting educators voice their own opinions in the classroom provided they preface them with the statement that their students are free to disagree, and impose no penalties for doing so. Bonus points if they also present opinions that dissent from their own. But where I get off that bus is when such opinions get written into education policy, which things like CRT clearly are. That forces educators into monolithic mindsets that they might not otherwise endorse, and that’s wrong too, damaging even. I doubt you would want Christian beliefs written into education policy, and I honestly don’t either. The topic of what is age appropriate is a complex one, but I read a lot of political commentary from a number of forums, and the majority seem to agree that drag queen story hour should not be pushed on kindergartners.

          And yes, the line between invitation and requirement can be easily blurred, but I don’t see that as justification for eliminating expression of beliefs altogether. The scrutiny of teachers and coaches I mentioned cuts both ways, and while sometimes draconian, has the effect of keeping them honest. I had no shortage of teachers in my public high school pushing their often liberal political beliefs into classroom curriculum, and my parents didn’t know the half of it. Fortunately, the values they brought me up on were a counterbalance. Ironically, it was Catholic grade school that taught me to question authority when a couple female teachers made it clear they didn’t like boys and put targets on them.

          A final thought, every religion has its zealots that take their beliefs to dangerous extremes. But my experience says that most religions establish sets of morals in people that that too many in this country have lost sight of, and we are worse off for it. That is another reason for me wanting their expression in public without any becoming too domineering. I would rather have a host of religions that be made to work through their conflicts peacefully than none at all.

          Liked by 1 person

  7. Rollie says:

    Ha, way to kill a thread Rollie!
    I have to say, it’s really interesting to see conservatives celebrate this case after the past years railing against teachers indoctrinating students with their personal ideology. Pretty much anything can be framed as religion – so which way is it? Do you support teachers expressing their views or just *your* views?


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