"School - Prayer = Despair"
Prior to 1962, prayer in schools was utilized all over the U.S. in schools; from
personal prayers to structured prayers, such as the Lord’s Prayer. New York
students prayed each day "Almighty God, we acknowledge our dependence on
Thee and beg Thy blessing over us, our parents, our teachers, and our nation." It
was this simple prayer which came under fire and went to the Supreme Court for a
landmark decision. On June 25, 1962, the U.S. Supreme Court decided in Engel vs
Vitale, that prayer in public schools violated the First Amendment because it
represented establishment of religion. As a result, organized prayer was
abolished from public schools. According to statistical data, since 1962:
• Teenage pregnancy rates have increased,
• Academic achievement has plummeted, including SAT scores,
• Illegal drug use has increased,
• Juvenile crime has increased,
• School behavior has deteriorated.
“School – Prayer = Despair” is a painting about the present day effects of the 1962
Supreme Court decision. The student was doing so well; notice on her 11th
grade badge that she was a member of the National Honor Society, President of
the Student Council and Jr. Prom Queen. By the 12th grade, she’d become a
statistic that stemmed from the 1962 ruling.
The Devil’s Food Cake ad at the bus stop and the birthday cake, represent the
devil’s celebration of the Supreme Court ruling, which served as a foundation for
the destruction of our children and his attempt to destroy our future.
The city scene in the lower left of the painting depicts three major U.S. city
landmarks; Seattle’s Space Needle; St. Louis’s Gateway Arch; New York City’s
Statue of Liberty. These cities were used to show that this epidemic stretches
from the west coast to the east coast and all cities in between.
I named the student Hope Downe because she’s in a downward spiral; however I
wanted to show that even though Hope is down, she is not out. The tattoo on her
right arm states “I’m Cry’n 4 Help” which indicates that the 11th grader still exists.
On her left wrist is a tattoo of the scripture, Proverbs 22:6, “Train up a child in the
way he should go, And when he is old he will not depart from it”, showing that
hope still abounds.
The cross that was around her neck in the 11th grade, is now lying across her
right knee, representing that she has a spiritual foundation that’s available for her
As parents it is our responsibility to vigorously pray for our children. We must
also teach our children to pray for themselves daily; before, during and after
“One Week Without Prayer, Makes One Weak”