Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Prom Night in Mississippi

I watched the HBO documentary “Prom Night in Mississippi.” If you’re not familiar with it, it’s about a small town in Mississippi called Charleston, which up until 2008 always had separate white and black proms for the town’s high school seniors.

That was 2008, not 1958, not 1968, but 2008. Morgan Freeman lived there until the age of six and he offered to pay for it if they had one integrated prom.

Well, it almost worked. Most of the kids seemed to like the idea but more than a few white parents didn’t. They organized their own “whites only” prom anyway.

The white kids at the school seemed to split over the issue. Some went to the integrated prom only; some went to the white prom only and a few went to both proms. The comic relief was this one dude who went to the white prom, due to pressure from his parents, and then ended up with two dates to the integrated prom. So I guess he had three prom dates?

Anyway, perhaps the community has been bootstrapped into the 1960’s. Now that they’ve caught up to integration we can begin working on the Separation of Church and State. At the start of the integrated prom, which I would say was a school sanctioned function even though Freeman paid for it, a teacher led a prayer. A prayer that appealed to simply “God” would have been bad enough but she led a Christian prayer that called upon the name of the Lord Jesus. In another segment the football coach led the team in a prayer before the game but all I heard was "let us pray."

One would think that teachers and principals would know better.

Explain to me again why we didn’t let them secede?

This is the kind of thing we tend to wink at. I’m sure all of the students and teachers were devout Christians that may have even attended the same church. So what’s the harm right?

The harm is that it is a violation of the law. These people are sending the message to these kids that Christianity trumps the Constitution of the United States and that is a very dangerous message to send.

If there is another civil war in this country it will be over religion. Sounds ridiculous? Don't be too sure. The rest of the country is becoming more and more secular while the south is remaining devoutly conservative Christian. Already there are rumblings of "what happened to my country" from Christians, especially white evangelical Christians, and it's only going to get worse. By ignoring things like a prayer to Jesus at a public school prom we are simply moving the problem into the next generation. It really needs to stop.

1 comment:

Grayson Neal said...

your only problem with this argument is that the constitution makes no prvision for the government to run the schools. check the 10th amendment, buddy. An atheist, Muslim, or Scientoligist, or even Jedi parent could have raised an eyebrow and complained. But they didn't. My guess as to why? About 99% percent of the people in this rural Mississippi are practicing Christians. Not meaning to start an argument, just some musings. feel free to get back to me at Thanks!