Religion In Public Schools Essay

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Religion in Public Schools

     Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof......Ó according to the First Amendment of the Constitution. This idea of freedom of religion has been stated very clearly, but it also raises questions about the meaning of religious freedom .
Should religious expression be excluded from all government activities? Has separation of church and state been violated by the U.S. Treasury? For example, on the back of every U.S. coin are the words, ÒIn God We TrustÓ. And what about when they swear-in government offficials with a Bible? Why not use the
Torah or the Koran?

     Is it separation of church
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Of course, their schools didnÕt have many or probably any Muslims or
Jews, but how does that differ from a small country town in Oklahoma where the population is completely of the Christian faith? Does this mean that the school cannot practice the religion in which the complete population is
Christian? ArenÕt these students being denied their religious rights? These questions may be asked by many.

     Government has a lot to do with the debate. Many Supreme Court rulings have made laws allowing or prohibiting the act of praying in schools in the past eighty years. The first one was in 1914 when the ÒGary PlanÓ was inaugurated in Gary,Indiana.The document stated that with the consent of parents, students would be released from school to attend places to worship. That was followed in 1940 when the Gary Plan was extended to Champaign, Illinois. It was struck down by the Court in "McCollum v. Board of Education" in 1948. Another important decision was the Engel v. Vitale case in 1962 which said that it was unconsitutional for there to be recitation in public schools even though it was non-denominational. The Supreme Court has also ruled against posting the Ten
Commandments in public school classroomsin 1978. Since the l980Õs the Supreme
Court has allowed religious groups to use university facilities for
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