Prayer in Public Schools Essay

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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.

In a particular trial, Wallace V. Jaffree, an argument arose concerning a one-minute “meditation
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This amendment evidently states that everyone in the United States is entitled to practice the religion of his or her choice and the right to voice his or her opinions. After a careful analysis, the District Court “question[ed] whether the First Amendment impose[d] any barrier to the establishment of an official religion by the state of Alabama” (Wallace V. Jaffree). The District Court considered the First Amendment of the US Constitution as clearly prohibiting the federal government from setting up a state church. Yet, when the First Amendment was ratified, there was no section preventing state governments from establishing a church. The District Court interpreted the First Amendment as emphasizing freedom of religion to all, including in the state of Alabama. Shortly after this analysis, the District Court concluded, “the establishment clause of the first amendment to the United States Constitution does not prohibit the state from establishing a religion” (Wallace V. Jaffree). Thus, the one-minute period of meditation or voluntary prayer in Alabama’s public schools was acceptable because the state was entitled to freedom of religion.

Similarly, Jaffree regarded the First Amendment as “the individual freedom of conscience,” which protected his right to decide on any religious faith or none at all

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