The “establishment” or “religion” clause of the First Amendment of the Constitution reads: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof” (Education Week, 2003, para. 2). It is from this clause that the idea of separation of church and state comes. It is also the basis for much of the debate regarding the practice of religion in public schools (Education Week, 2003). One of the big questions regarding the religion issue is where to draw the line between separation of church and state and religious freedom. The practice of religion in public schools can balance these two ends by allowing students to individually exercise their religious freedom, so long as they do not interfere with that of other students.
Throughout the twentieth century, the United States Supreme Court has protected students’ rights to practice their religious beliefs, so long as they are not “disruptive, discriminatory, or coercive to peers who may not share those same beliefs” (Education Weekly, 2003, para. 3). In 1943, the Supreme Court ruling in West Virginia State Board of Education v. Barnette stated that students could not be “forced to salute the flag or say the pledge of allegiance if it violates the individual’s conscience” (First Amendment Cyber Tribune, 2002). The 1963 decision in Engel v. Vitale made school prayer unconstitutional, and similarly found school prayer at graduation ceremonies in its 1992 Lee v. Weisman decision (First Amendment Cyber Tribune, 2002). Student-led prayer at public school football games was found unconstitutional in 2000 with the Santa Fe Independent School District v. Doe (First Amendment C...
... middle of paper ...
...il). Religion in Schools. Retrieved April 30, 2003, from http://www.educationweek.org/context/topics/issuespage.cfm?id=60.
This website provided a summary of the issue of religion in schools and reviewed several Supreme Court decisions related to the issue.
First Amendment Cyber Tribune. (2002, July). Freedom of Religion: An Overall View of Religious Liberty as Defined by U.S. Supreme Court Cases. Retrieved May 3, 2003, from http://w3.trib.com/FACT/1st.religion.html.
This website listed several Supreme Court cases dealing with the issue of religion in schools and provided short explanations of each opinion.
Riley R. Religious Expression in Public Schools. Retrieved May 3, 2003, from http://www.ed.gov/Speeches/08-1995/religion.html.
This website provided a copy of the U.S. Secretary of Education’s guidelines on religious expression in public schools.
Need Writing Help?
Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.Check your paper »
- In her article “Beyond the Wall of Separation: Church-State in Public Schools”, Martha McCarthy, a Chancellor Professor and chair of Educational Leadership and Policy Studies at Indiana University, Bloomington, Indiana, makes it clear that her aim is to inform educators of the legal history and constitutional precedents of the Establishment clause and Free speech Clause of the First Amendment with an attached understanding of how educators should implement these findings. She summarizes and analyzes key Supreme Court rulings over the course of the 20th century as they pertain to religious expression in public schools.... [tags: Religion]
1399 words (4 pages)
- Religious Education in the Public Schools ABSTRACT: Recently, several authors have cited traditional liberal principles to argue that religious education must be offered in public schools in the United States of America. These authors claim that exposure to a variety of religious beliefs and traditions is a necessary means to attaining the two goals of providing children with "open futures" and encouraging tolerance of religious diversity. This paper contends that these arguments are seriously flawed, and provides reasons which demonstrate that, in practice, these two goals cannot be accomplished by religion courses in the public schools.... [tags: Prayer in Public Schools]
3099 words (8.9 pages)
- Religion in Public Schools Are you religious. Do you have children. What kind of environment would you like your child in while he/she is in school. A century ago, most of America’s public schools were religious schools. Over time the state has redesigned schools in order to make schools for all children and not alienate any students. The Supreme Court then accelerated the movement in 1962 when it declared that prayer in public schools was unconstitutional. Then one year later the court removed all bible reading from public school because it is a religious exercise(-------).... [tags: Prayer In Public Schools]
603 words (1.7 pages)
- Religion in School “Juliana. It is 7:00. Time to get up,” yelled my sister Jessica every Wednesday morning during our high school years. We got up earlier than usual those Wednesday mornings for FCA (Fellowship of Christian Athletes). FCA was held in the classroom of my social studies teacher who was also the instructor of FCA. I never realized how lucky I was to have an organized religious group at my high school until I talked to some friends from other schools. I was then given a taste of the reality of religion in school in overall society in the United States.... [tags: Prayer in Public Schools]
1278 words (3.7 pages)
- Religion in Public Schools Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof......Ó according to the First Amendment of the Constitution. This idea of freedom of religion has been stated very clearly, but it also raises questions about the meaning of religious freedom . Should religious expression be excluded from all government activities. Has separation of church and state been violated by the U.S. Treasury. For example, on the back of every U.S.... [tags: Prayer In Public Schools]
1447 words (4.1 pages)
- America's founders envisioned a nation whose government would allow for freedoms and rights to be guaranteed to its citizens. The desire for religious freedom was prominent, sine it was not a right granted to the early colonists living under Briti sh rule. Because England's government forced all of its citizens to learn and practice the same religion, America's first legislators made certain that government intervention in religious matters was prohibited. Therefore, religious freedom was ensured in the First Amendment to the Constitution, as it states, "Congress shall make no law respecting the establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.... [tags: Prayer in Public Schools]
1852 words (5.3 pages)
- No Prayer in Public Schools Chapter three of Civil Liberties: Opposing Viewpoints inspired me to research today’s issues of school prayer. To understand how we got to where we are today, I first delved into our countries history of court cases pertaining to rulings on prayer in schools. Lastly, to update my audience on how our lives are being affected today, I directed my efforts toward finding current situations. By analyzing these situations, I gained knowledge for a better understanding of why society needs to be aware of these controversies.... [tags: Religion in Public Schools]
735 words (2.1 pages)
- Prayer in Public Schools Religion is one of the most controversial issues in society today. The concern of allowing prayer in schools is an on-going debate and has resulted in numerous lawsuits. Religious school clubs, after school activities, curriculums, and moments of silence during school are just a few of the court cases that judges have administered. People in favor of prayer in schools believe that their children can only learn certain values through religious practice. On the other hand, an individual against religious practice in schools views this issue as an infringement on his or her children’s rights as Americans.... [tags: Religion in Public Schools]
2069 words (5.9 pages)
- Prayer in Public Schools An issue that has been constantly debated for years is whether voluntary prayer in public schools should be permitted. A student should be allowed to pray voluntarily at the beginning of each school day based on many reasons. Prayer based on moral beliefs reinforce good citizenship as defined by our forefathers. A daily reminder of a need for the belief of good over evil is a necessary part of this society. Daily voluntary school prayer should be re-instated in public schools due to three reasons, the historical basis of the beginning of the United States government, the serious moral decline since prayer has been outlawed, and the government infringement on the c... [tags: Religion in Public Schools]
1049 words (3 pages)
- Religion in Public Schools The practice of religion has been a major factor in American culture for centuries. The religion clause of the First Amendment, which states "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof," was developed to preserve the freedom of religion (Haynes 2). The religion clause was designed to protect religion from the control of the government, but, consequently, it restricts the expression of religion in public institutions such as public schools.... [tags: Exploratory Essays Research Papers]
1479 words (4.2 pages)