Section 10 - Section 10 Religion in Public Schools Very...

Info iconThis preview shows pages 1–2. Sign up to view the full content.

View Full Document Right Arrow Icon
Section 10: Religion in Public Schools Very early in the United States education was conducted exclusively by churches for the purpose of advancing their religious beliefs. Even when the state provided funding to support public schooling, it was common for schools to teach students how to read the Bible. For example, in 1647 Massachusetts passed tax laws to specifically fund the education of men as to the reading and understanding of the Scriptures. In the late seventeenth century, a book called The New England Primer was used to teach students the alphabet using letters and pictures with Biblical references (Example: E is for Eve). Historically, and all over the country, school began each day with prayer. Graduations began with an invocation and ended with a benediction. Athletic events began with a prayer before the game. But then, in the early part of the 1960's, the United States Supreme Court was called upon to decide several cases where prayer in public schools was the central issue. The First Amendment Establishment Clause of the constitution specifies that state government and its agencies (public schools among them) must be totally neutral in matters of religion. Issues of student prayer were litigated throughout the 70's, 80's and 90's, and well into the new millennium. These cases were decided based on a three prong test created in Lemon v Kurtzman, 403 U.S. 602, 1971. The three prongs are: does the activity have a secular purpose, does it advance or inhibit the free exercise of religion, and does it excessively entangle the public school system with religion. In other words, purpose, effect and excessive entanglement. In that case, the court used these three standards to strike down salary supplements to teachers at parochial schools, and the purchase of educational services from parochial schools In simple language, when the true intent of a religious event is to return prayer to the public schools, then it violates the Establishment Clause. Even if prayer is led by a student, if it takes
Background image of page 1

Info iconThis preview has intentionally blurred sections. Sign up to view the full version.

View Full Document Right Arrow Icon
Image of page 2
This is the end of the preview. Sign up to access the rest of the document.
  • Fall '11
  • Posse
  • Supreme Court of the United States, First Amendment to the United States Constitution, Public School, public schools, establishment clause

{[ snackBarMessage ]}

Page1 / 3

Section 10 - Section 10 Religion in Public Schools Very...

This preview shows document pages 1 - 2. Sign up to view the full document.

View Full Document Right Arrow Icon
Ask a homework question - tutors are online