Separation of church & state
Discussion and Analysis on the separation of church and state within our governmental systems:
As you know, federal laws affect us each and every day at the state and local level. One key issue that affects our towns/cities/states is the historical question about separation of church and state.
While the courts have struggled to keep church and state separate, they have also recognized that it would be impossible to have an absolute prohibition on the celebration of religious values and holidays. Therefore, cases continue to be brought, challenging the courts to determine how the words of the Constitution and the standards of prior cases should be applied.
However, over time further establishment questions arose, such as do religious groups have a right to use our public school facilities?
In the 2001 court case Good News Club v. Milford Central School the question was addressed whether Milford Central School violated the free speech rights of the Good News Club when it excluded the Club from meeting after hours at the school simply because it was a Christian based organization.
Here are a couple of summarized points in the Supreme Court ruling on this case:
- YES: Clarence Thomas, from Majority Opinion, Good News Club et al. v. Milford Central School, U.S. Supreme Court (June 11, 2001)
Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas affirms the right of religious groups to use school facilities after the school day ends, maintaining that restricting such use is a violation of free speech rights.
- NO: David Souter, from Dissenting Opinion, Good News Club et al. v. Milford Central School, U.S. Supreme Court (June 11, 2001)
Supreme Court Justice David Souter, dissenting from the Court's opinion, contends that the use of school facilities by religious groups blurs the line between public classroom instruction and private religious indoctrination and therefore violates the Establishment Clause of the Constitution.
Research the Milford court case (or others that addressed the separation of church/state) and provide your personal analysis in this discussion board with each other. Please use details from book, Internet sources, etc. to provide the background about the basis for the separation of church and state and then give your personal opinion about how you would side on the Good News Club decision.
Recently Asked Questions
- What would you do to ensure project team members and stakeholders understood the quality plan
- what type of desert dominates most of the western continental united states?
- Review your project performance in terms of quality management and state instigated agreed changes during the project to ensure continuous quality improvement