The Development of the Freedom of Religion in Public Schools

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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. In all, government must stay neutral when it comes to religion and cannot be entangled with any religion.

"…..or prohibit the free exercise of thereof." This is the second religion clause. It is the Free Exercise Clause. This clause protects the rights of individuals to worship and believe as they wish. It also means that people cannot be compelled by government to act opposite to their religious beliefs, unless the belief violates a valid law.

Religion has brought about a lot of controversy since the day it was first incorporated into the Constitution. The position was clear that the government would be separate from religion, the unclear part was how to paraphrase the clauses. The House and the Senate both had different language presented. The debates in Congress conformed little assistance in how to interpret the religious clauses. The intent of Madison and Jefferson were fairly clear. What wasn't clear was if the others in Congress voted on the language and those in Stat...

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...t deny "equal access" to student groups based upon "religious, political, philosophical, or other content."

Lee v. Weisman, 112 SCt. 2649 (1992) - Court finds prayer at public school graduation ceremonies violates the establishment clause and is therefore unconstitutional.

Lamb's Chapel et al. v. Center Moriches Union Free School District, 508 U.S. 384 (1993) - Court says that school districts cannot deny churches access to school premises after-hours, if the district allowed the use of its building to other groups.

Kiryas Joel Village School District v. Grumet, (1994) - Court states that the New York State Legislature cannot create a separate school district for a religious community.

Santa Fe Independent School District v. Doe, (2000) - Court rules that student-led prayers at public school football games violate the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment.
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