No, no -- no one has done it. Well, sure, in public schools, perhaps, but not entirely. Don't let the title scare you. Nor am I suggesting they will. They might, but I'm not going there right now. I'm just going to chase an argument to its logical conclusion and see where we end up.
In the current debates about gun control, the argument is that guns kill people, so we need to limit or eliminate guns (depending on how far you're willing to go with that argument). No one ever seems to think that one through. For instance, cigarettes kill more people, but they aren't banned. And while you non-smokers are nodding knowingly, cars kill more people and they aren't banned. And no one in the public arena seems to recognize that killing is legal in this country (and just about everywhere else). Yes, according to the CDC, there have been more than 50 million legal murders of babies in the United States alone since 1973. But abortion isn't banned either, is it? My point is that people are not following these things to their logical conclusion. Cigarettes, cars, and abortion kill far more than guns, but guns need to be banned while real killing machines don't. Mayor Bloomberg banned large soft drinks but favors abortion. Can you say "cognitive dissonance"?
But back to the topic -- prayer. You've likely heard that a renowned pastor from Atlanta, Louie Giglio, will not be praying at the president's second inauguration. Why? Because he's unacceptable. What makes him unacceptable? As it turns out some 20 years ago he preached a sermon in which he said that homosexuals will not inherit the kingdom of God. (If you're familiar with your Bibles, that's right out of 1 Corinthians 6:9-10.) He went on to say that -- brace yourselves -- salvation is found in Christ alone and that the Bible commands people everywhere to repent. Shocking! Outrageous! You'd think that President Obama would know better than to invite an "anti-gay bigot" to pray at his inauguration. As Dr. Mohler points out, welcome to the new Moral McCarthyism. "Are you or have you ever been convinced of biblical morality? Sorry, you are not acceptable."
So ... what does this have to do with the topic of "banning prayer"? Well, following the same logic of killing and gun control, let's think down the "what you believe" and "should you pray" path. Clearly, taking the position that homosexual behavior is sin (you know, like it says in the Bible) makes you unfit to pray. Obviously, then, thinking that, say, sex outside of marriage is a sin (you know, like it says in the Bible) would make you equally unfit. But wait. It isn't about sex, is it? Of course not. It's about sin. So if you believe whatever the Bible says about sin actually defines morality must likely make you unfit for prayer. Because, you see, if you believe that my favorite activity is a sin merely because the Bible says so, you're clearly an anti-_____ bigot who should not be allowed to pray in public. But wait! If we are to be consistent, we'd need to continue this logic. The Bible is not the only "holy book", is it? So if you believe the Torah and its moral views, you're in the same boat. And given what the Koran teaches about the morality of eating pork and that belief's impact on the pork industry, clearly Moslems are not good choices to pray. Now, wait a minute. When you think this thing to the bottom, it would seem like the only people qualified to pray would be those who have no morals and no belief in a deity. Bingo! Prayer is out!
Of course, no one is banning cars or abortion, so no one is following their own logic on killing. By the same token, no one is actually aiming at being logically consistent with their complaints about Christians and the Bible or religion in general. Indeed, I don't think there would be much kickback if the President invited Dr. Oz (as a Moslem) to pray because, really, it's only biblical Christians that are the problem, right? But if enough loud voices figure out this course, I wouldn't be surprised if my logical imperative becomes a cultural one.