No Religion or School Prayer in Public Schools Essay

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The separation of the church and the state has been debated since the birth of this nation. In 1789 when the Constitution was adopted, the separation of church and state issue focused on preventing a government mandated religion (Davis 245). The framers of the Constitution knew first hand the harmful consequences of a government that has complete control over religion. Protecting the religious freedoms of the various religions seeking refuge in America also raised great concern. Each religion s hould be given the same rights when practicing their beliefs. For these reasons, the First Amendment of hte Bill of Rights was added to the Constitution. This amendment denies the government any involvement with religion and allows…show more content…
The First Amendment clearly establishes that there exists "a wall of separation between the church and state" (Leinwand 296A). A loose interpretation that would permit cracks in this "wall" cannot be tolerated. Any attempt of the government to either favor or discourage a religion should be found unconstitutional by the court system. Over the years the Supreme Court has contributed a long list of precedents for cases dealing with religion in the public school system. These decisions have more clearly defined religion's limitations within the boundaries of the school. One of t he earliest cases which effectively maintained the separation of church and state was Everson v. Board of Education in 1947. The case questioned the right of the state of New Jersey to use tax funds to bus children to both public schools and priv ate religious schools (Gay 27). The ruling found any involvement of the government with religiously oriented activities or institutions in direct violation of the First Amendment. In his majority ruling, Justice Hugo Black emphasized that the First Amen dment prohibited the government from passing laws that would promote or support with tax funds any or all religions (Gaddy 182). In this case, the court system clearly saw the threat to religious freedom that could arise if the government is capable of f inancially supporting or avidly promoting any
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