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MBJ Editorial

Thorny back-to-school issue

As early as it seems, August is back-to-school time for thousands of Mississippians ranging from wide-eyed elementary pupils to world-weary grad students. Back they go to public, private and parochial classrooms, lecture halls and libraries.

It’s a busy time for businesses, too. Parents are spending money on new clothes and school supplies. College students are buying TVs, DVD players and those little refrigerators for their dorm rooms. New computers and cars are also on the shopping lists of many.

These days are full of anticipation and change, but even in this rush, it is worth considering an issue that is too often lost in extremist rhetoric and polemical posturing: prayer.

Prayer in our public schools remains a contentious issue, but praying for our schools, children and teachers as they head back to class is a responsibility all people of faith share.

Valuing religious diversity and the rights of individuals to worship (or not) as they wish is the bedrock of American liberty. Respecting this tradition is vital, but just as vital is the power of prayer and its ability to help build healthier people, stronger communities and even better businesses.

It’s an important lesson more of us must learn — and share.

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