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Should prayer be banned on public transportation?

  1. Dec 10, 2006 #1
    This is a rhetorical question from another thread. As such, it should not have captured my interest. As with any rhetorical question, the expectation was probably that it would not be answered. None the less, it was answered with an enthusiastic "yes". It was off-topic to that thread and has been declared taboo there. Yet, interesting as the topic of that thread is, I find this one even more interesting because of the support it received. So I invite comment.

    Should prayer be banned on public transportation?
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Dec 10, 2006 #2

    Astronuc

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    This wasn't the issue in the thread about the imams who were removed from an aircraft. The issue was disruptive behavior on an aircraft, which is a violation of the law. The imams were not targeted beacuse of an act of prayer, they were targeted for refusing to comply with requests from the crew and other disruptive behavior.

    Prayer is not now banned, nor does it need to be banned, as long as it does not infringe on the rights of others.
     
  4. Dec 10, 2006 #3
    You are right. That is why I have started this thread. It paraphrases a question in message 18 from that thread.
     
  5. Dec 10, 2006 #4

    russ_watters

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    There really isn't much to discuss here - legally, ethically, Constitutionally, Astronuc's answer is about all there is to say. It is a pretty clear-cut issue.
     
  6. Dec 10, 2006 #5
    No, prayer should not be banned anywhere. Disruptive behaviour that infringes on the rights of other people should be banned everywhere.

    edit:woops russ/Astro didn't see/read your post, I agree.

    .
     
    Last edited: Dec 10, 2006
  7. Dec 10, 2006 #6

    Evo

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    I don't see how anything but silent prayer will not infringe on the rights of others. I have no problem with people praying silently.

    There are too many religions, with too many varying beliefs. You have several hundred people crammed together inside a metal tuibe, usually for hours, with no possiblity of getting away if they do not wish to hear you. Pray in silence all you want, just do not pray out loud enough that you can be overheard by the person next to you.

    So, I would vote to ban vocal praying on transportation such as an airplane. I'm not paying hundreds of dollars to be bombarded by someone else's religious beliefs. I would also not want to hear someone reading out loud, or singing. It's rude and discourteous. I have a right to read or sleep, or work on the plane undisturbed.

    If someone wants to pray out loud in the terminal, I can move away from them, on a plane I am trapped. And as I mentioned ealier, the same goes for any vocal outbursts that would infringe on me
     
    Last edited: Dec 10, 2006
  8. Dec 10, 2006 #7

    russ_watters

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    One thing I'd like to point out from one of Astronuc's posts in the other thread: it isn't just a matter of volume. If someone is having a vulgar conversation near you, but is having it in a normal speaking voice, that is disruptive too.

    Now, legally and practically, it is not really possible to outlaw certain types of conversations. But if one is bothering you, it is not unreasonable to ask them to stop or have someone in a position of authority (whether a flight attendant or usher at a movie) stop them.

    Personally, I'm not against quiet (not silent) prayer in public/on a plane, but I think it is reasonable for others to be against it and not want to hear it. Heck, when my boss talks politics, it is like fingernails on a chalk board to me and I ask him to stop sometimes.
     
  9. Dec 10, 2006 #8
    Yes definitely, I would say that prayer has absolutely nothing to do with it. Even just normal conversation, try striking up a conversation with people in a movie theatre, you will be removed :P. It's not so much that it is 'against the law' as it is a private property issue. If you are disruptive in any form, I think that after a warning, you will be removed in most instances, rightfully. Can you imagine sitting in a movie theatre with some guy talking loudly? It is not much different than on an airplane.
     
  10. Dec 10, 2006 #9
    Of course noone is going to get kicked off an airplane if they are just having normal conversation with the person next to them, unless it is disruptive (won't quit talking when asked to stop, talking very loudly,worshipping a god loudly/whatever.). So yea, I just wanted to make that distinction.
     
  11. Dec 10, 2006 #10

    chroot

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    Evo,

    As discourteous and annoying as other people can be on planes -- infants, unruly children, imams, you name it -- they paid as much as you did, and have every right to be there that you do.

    I don't believe you have a "right" to tell others around you how to act, regardless of your sense of personal import.

    I don't believe anyone should support a "ban" on the actions of others that do not injure us, but that we simply find discourteous or offensive. Certainly, people who sing loud prayers on airplanes are very annoying, but that's a matter of social convention, not one of legislation.

    - Warren
     
  12. Dec 10, 2006 #11
    The key point to remember when discussing religious freedoms is that they are no more protected under the U.S Constitution than any other form of speech. The Constitution does not guarantee additional rights to the citizens regarding prayer, it merely ensures religious behavior will not be infringed any more than comparable, non-religious behavior would be. You cannot forbid (or even discourage) religious behavior solely because it is religious in nature. But you can certainly forbid it if comparable, non-religious behavior were also forbidden. It's in the same clause, and is given the same protection as the more general freedom of speech.

    Here's what the Constitution has to say on the matter. Please note this is the only thing the Constitution has to say (except for some anti-discrimination wording in a much later amendment)
    That's it. No more, no less. That's all she wrote, folks (he actually).

    Now, where the matter gets muddled is in all the court decisions accreted around the various clauses of the Constitution. The Supreme Court has been very clear on that matter. Speech is protected, but within reasonable grounds. Constitutional rights are always a balancing act: "Your right to swing your fist ends where my nose begins." It wasn't Roy Rogers who first said that, it was Oliver Wendell Holmes, sitting on the Supreme Court ("The right to swing my fist ends where the other man's nose begins.")

    But on matters of free speech, the Court has been particularly clear. Political speech is protected beyond normal speech. Commercial speech is protected less. Religious speech falls in the middle with all the rest. There are finer grades than that, but the two major factors are politics and commerce.
     
  13. Dec 10, 2006 #12
    If I were to start chanting thrash metal lyrics, I would expect to be thrown off the plane. I doubt I would be disappointed in that regard (I have a very loud voice when I want).
     
  14. Dec 10, 2006 #13

    chroot

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    Would you really expect to be thrown off? I wouldn't.

    I would expect some people to ask me to knock it off. Eventually, perhaps the flight crew would also ask me to knock it off. If I did not, that's the point at which I break both my contract with the airline and become in violation of law. As soon as I cross the line of not obeying the flight crew, I would expect to be thrown off. That has nothing to do with me annoying another passenger.

    I don't think that simply annoying the person beside me -- or perhaps even the entire row -- would subject me to legal action.

    - Warren
     
  15. Dec 10, 2006 #14

    Kurdt

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    I think more to the point is that we live in countries with an incredible range of freedoms and we do so because we like to choose what we can and can't do for the most part. When out in public one should expect to perhaps see and hear things that they may not like. That is the price that comes from the great choice of freedom. The reasonable person will tune it out and respect that persons right to do it. Of course if that person is going out of the way to be a pain then they are in the wrong. For the most part people do not go out of their way to annoy others.
     
  16. Dec 10, 2006 #15

    Evo

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    Actually, on a plane, you do have certain rights. I'm listing the Airline Passenger Bill of Rights from Canada, but there is an even stricter one in the US, it was referenced in another article I posted, I'll add that, but for now.

    "The passenger is entitled to protection by airport and air carrier personnel against harassment, excessive noise, and obstreperous behaviour"

    http://www.piac.ca/transport/airline_passenger_bill_of_rights/
     
  17. Dec 10, 2006 #16
    In my opinion, a discussion of appropriate responses to inappropriate behavior is less interesting than the question of whether prayer is inappropriate behavior. Let us stipulate that the prayer is neither silent (how on earth do you intend to prevent that?), nor louder than a normal speaking voice (inappropriate volume).

    Evo, thank you for your input in this thread. I ask you the same question as I asked in the previous one. What is a prayer?
     
  18. Dec 10, 2006 #17

    chroot

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    If someone is offended by a nearly-silent prayer, then that person must be offended by the content of what was spoken, not in the manner in which it was spoken. That's wholesale bigotry, if you ask me.

    - Warren
     
  19. Dec 10, 2006 #18

    Evo

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    Ok, that's a different question. No, prayer by itself is not inappropriate.

    It is where and how the prayer is performed that can be inappropriate, and that is what was discussed in the original thread.

    I would say it is a ritual performed, usually a recitation, the content of which usually has to do with a person's religious beliefs.

    I say usually because you can pray for something without it being religious. Like being stuck in a traffic jam and saying over and over "oh please don't let me be late".

    I think the first thing that comes to people's minds is religious prayer.

    So, prayer by itself as a subject is not inappropriate. I don't see what there is left to discuss?
     
  20. Dec 10, 2006 #19

    Evo

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    No one is talking about nearly silent prayer. We're talking about prayer that is loud enough to disturb those nearby, the same volume that ANYTHING they are saying would be deemed disturbing. The point here is that if a person would be asked to quiet down for any other reason, they cannot use the excuse that they are praying to be exempted from normal rules..

    But you also have to keep in mind how strongly people feel about their religion. I don't think a Christian Evangelist will take kindly to sitting next to someone praying out loud to Beelzebub. On something like an airplane, I do think we need to excersize some common sense and common courtesy. I cannot ever see a reason why someone on a plane would have to pray out loud. At the very least, ask the people next to you if it would bother them, if they don't mind, no problem, if they mind, keep it quiet.
     
    Last edited: Dec 10, 2006
  21. Dec 10, 2006 #20

    chroot

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    No, we're not. The OP changed his mind to this: Let us stipulate that the prayer is neither silent... nor louder than a normal speaking voice (inappropriate volume).

    - Warren
     
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