Greetings in that Divine and Most Precious Name of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!
Ok, I think I've got it, I hope.
The Catholic Church was a blip on the screen when compared to the secularist movements which grew out of the 1960s. Those groups paved the way for the debacle we are experiencing in America today. And lests be clear, I'm not talking about the Civil Rights Movement. I know how some people like to read something which isn't there. So, regardless of the Catholic Churches dislike of Protestant prayer, they were not the reason it was removed from schools.
To claim Orthodox prayer is the only prayer we can use has two problems. First, it isn't what happens. I have met dozens of Orthodox who pray Catholic and Liturgical Protestant prayers. It doesn't matter who writes them as much as whether they are good prayers. Some Orthodox even admit to praying the Rosary. Second, America is t Orthodox. To say they should not pray is just silly talk. Even if we aren't supposed to pray with them (which would mean I can't pray with my wife or children), who are we to say they shouldn't be praying at all. Which leads to no one praying.
This forces secular government to adhere to religious freedoms. It gets students engaged and talking to God. It teaches them some things are bigger than our own little bubble. So, even if Orthodox students don't join in, there is absolutely no reason not to support them.
Question, does God hear the prayers of sincere Protestants or not?
Did you research Bishop John Hughes yet are you just selling woof tickets based on your opinions and not the facts and realities of American history? Bishop Hughes was advocating in the mid-19th century,
and it was FAR from just a blip on the radar, in fact, it started the movement. Yes, Bishop Hughes was the FIRST to get pubic prayer out of public schools, not nationally, but across New York City. His legacy is also public funding of schools as well. This set the first precedent. No, initially Bishop Hughes wasn't campaigning directly to remove prayers from school, rather to create separate schools where Catholics could pray. However, when New York Schools removed ALL religious instruction from public schools, including anti-Catholic (which is inherentl anti-Orthodox) propaganda Bishop Hughes was personally delighted and supportive. It was a compromise of sorts which set the template for the world we live in today.
Public school days began with Protestant prayers, hymns, and Bible readings. Textbooks referred to Rome's "general corruption," and libraries carried books calling the Irish "drunken and depraved." Hughes argued that since the schools were essentially Protestant, Catholics should also receive public money. Appealing in vain to the usually pro-immigrant Democrats for help, he organized a political ticket that cost them votes at the polls. Catholic schools got no funding, but a bill was soon passed banning religion in public schools, thereby putting an end to the Public School Society.http://www.patheos.com/Resources/Additional-Resources/Dagger-John-Archbishop-John-Hughes-Pat-McNamara-1-18-2011.html
In regards to your question about prayers, God hears ALL prayers, and you already know I believe that Jews, Muslims, and all Christians worship and pray to the One and Same God. However, we are talking about the laws and culture of diverse, multi-religious yet secular society. I am not claiming Orthodox prayer is the only prayer, but the Canons have indeed suggested otherwise. As I said, it seems harsh to me too, but that is the case. Luckily we have public invocations and invite folks of all backgrounds to our parishes so the Canon is flexible in its application, but if push came to shove, as an Orthodox Christian, yes, I would feel very uncomfortable leading my own classrooms in a public school in prayer after the flag salute and in between the morning announcements. So I agree completely with Bishop John Hughes and that Catholic movement, and I support it today as a public educator.
Our society isn't crumbling because we don't pray in school anymore, our society is crumbling because since its very foundation it was built on shaky sand and not a solid rock of solidarity and community. We are a collective mass of divided people, what even Jesus mentioned such divided houses can't stand, even if Satan was divided against himself he couldn't stand, let alone us
We do disagree about a lot of things, but if you haven't noticed, lately we've been agreeing about a lot and I have been going out of my way to try and support you here, but alas, if you want tension go ahead, I won't play along, all I can do is continue to try my best to be polite and brotherly, but you can't expect me to allow you skew facts of the American historiography.