The Development of the Freedom of Religion in Public Schools President Jefferson had written that the freedom of religion clause in the Constitution was aimed to build "a wall of separation between Church and State." This wall still stands the only matter at hand here is that in several areas the Supreme Court has modified its profiles. "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion…." This clause has come a long way in how our government settles with cases concerning religion. The Establishment Clause generally means that government CANNOT authorize a church, pass laws that aid or favor one religion over another, pass laws that favor religious belief over non belief, and force a person to profess a belief.
Close analysis of Oliver Wendell Holmes’ approach to the 1st Amendment freedoms of speech and press reveals a changing conclusion. The amendment that Holmes is associated with reads as such, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.” Some people, however, see protected speech as something else. Holmes himself defines the law as, “Prophecies of what the court will do in fact, and nothing more pretentious, are what I mean by the law (The Path of Law-OWH).” Written in 1897, this phrase serves as an excellent lens through which to view Holmes’ evolving approach to free speech. The man served as an American Supreme Court justice from 1902 through 1932. During this tenure he wrote countless opinions on nearly every facet of constitutional law.
Against the Separation of Church and State Without a God how do we know what is right from wrong. What is good or bad? The Ten Commandments tell us what is right or wrong and good or bad, but the constitution says the church has to be separate. If there is no God in our government we cannot have our Ten Commandments, how do we know what is right or wrong? The current opinion of courts is that the First Amendment bans religion in our government to protect the right to freedom of religion and freedom of expression from the government.
The goal is to allow citizens religious freedom that is uninhibited by federal regulation. This essay describes the fundamental reasons why faith groups and institutions should not be allowed to form political parties. This will be done by defining what religion is and how it applies to moral living. Second, this essay will cover the US Constitution and why it also defines moral living. Finally it will define why religion and government in the United States do not belong together.
That wall must be kept high and impregnable. We could not approve the slightest breach.” (Barton, Original… p.13) This exact case began the reversal of Supreme Court trends and opinions that had lasted for one hundred and fifty years. Now, for almost fifty years, the Supreme Court , and the United States population in general, has used the phrase “separation of church and state” when referring to the religion clause of the 1st Amendment. The 1st amendment's actual wording is “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.” (Barton, America: To… p.15) But, because of the Supreme Court's continuous citing of a “ wall of separation” and “separation of church and state”, the public's idea of the 1st amendment's religion clause has been shaped by phrases which do not appear anywhere in the Constitution. The First Congress, which passed this Amendment in 1789, intended to prohibit the establishment of a national religion.
The Constitution of the United States was written to give citizens certain privileges and rights in the way of free thought and freedom. The Establishment Clause was one way that civilians were protecting religious liberty by the separation of church and state. Within our political and school systems there have been a number of controversial issues to include religious holidays, school prayer, teaching evolution and aid to church based schools. The Supreme Court has ruled in many cases in regards to these religious controversial issues. The First Amendment states “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances” (University, n.d.).
Faith groups and institutions should not be allowed to form political parties and they should not attempt to gain influence in the workings of government for their views and values by entering the realm of political discourse and attempting to elect their own politicians. Throughout our history there has been an ongoing argument between religion and government. Should religion play a part in the government, schools and other social compasses or should it be separated? Some believe that religion should be a part of the government while others believe that there should be a distinct separation. Some believe that religions should be able to influence the workings of the government and attempt to elect their own politicians.
The establishment clause prohibits the government from passing legislation to establish an official religion or preferring one religion over another. It enforces the "separation of church and state." ("First Amendment | Wex Legal Dictionary / Encyclopedia | LII / Legal Information Institute," n.d.). What does this law really mean, and how far can the effects of this law be stretched? There are facts or conditions that can go against certain aspects of this law.
While the ID movement enjoys wide support from the populace, especially in traditionally conservative areas, it is imperative that the teaching of Intelligent Design is kept out of public school curricula because of the separation that must be maintained between religion and state. The First Amendment to our Constitution states that "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or of the right of the people to peaceably assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances" (The Bill of Rights: A Transcription).
The religion clause of the First Amendment has been repeatedly interpreted in an attempt to draw the line between religion and education. Many court cases have been won in favor of keeping government initiated religion out of the school. However, the issue has yet to be resolved. If religious freedoms are to remain protected, the courts must strictly rule in favor of the separation of church and state in public schools. Most clauses of the Constitution and the First Amendment were written in a vague manner to allow for their expansion as new issues arose.