There have been many lawsuits that involve the issues between religion and government state laws and regulations. As of today religion is still a very emotional issue between Christian churches and schools. Issues such as prayer in school, reciting the pledge of allegiance (under God), teaching the Ten Commandments or evolution, are prohibited in public schools today. Educational administrators must be aware of these issues and the laws that must be adherent to.
The Constitution made no reference to religious liberties of United States citizens during ratification of states; the Bill of Rights does address religious freedom but over the past decade the conflict between church and state has increased tremendously. Today the United States Supreme Court is being called upon to settle disputes between religious and non-religious groups and schools. These issues have brought about new changes and reaffirmed older ones. The First Amendment prohibited Congress from making laws supporting religion or prohibiting the rights of individuals to exercise their religious rights (Essex, 2002).
The First Amendment contains two very important clauses, the establishment clause and the free exercise clause, that affect religion in public schools. The establishment clause prohibits the state from passing laws that aid religion to a certain religion over another and the free exercise clause prohibits the state from interfering with the religious freedom of an individual (Essex, 2002). This means that the state must stay on neutral grounds on issues concerning religion, they can neither enforce nor forbid a student religious freedom. In a letter to the Danbury Baptist Association of Connecticut in 1802, written by then ...
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...y is not concern about the issues of evolution or creationism. Many religious groups in my school district feel that their children should learn about the belief of both sides- evolution and creationism.
As long as changes are happening in the American’s society, the issue of religion will continue in education. Because there are so many cultural and ethnic groups associated in public schools there will always be a conflict about the differences between student-initiated prayer and school-initiated prayer. The interpretations will continue in the courts on issues about what is constitutional or unconstitutional in public schools. As educational administrators, one must realize that Americans are deep rooted in religious conviction and all leaders must be knowledgeable about the laws concerning religion in school and the issues one must faced as an administrator.
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