Often, as was the case of the abolition of slavery in our country, it seems that courts ratified change that had already occurred in the ethos of the national culture and consciousness of the nation after the tide had already turned. This is the case with the issue of prayer in schools and the separation of church and state in general.
As much as the history of court cases is good evidence for the separation of church and state and with it the denial of prayer in schools, supporters of prayer in public schools can and do make the argument that the intention of the Founding Father’s of this nation was to form a nation centered around prayer and Biblical instruction with it’s accompanying values. Their understanding of religious freedom was no doubt defined and acted out in the context of their culture and religious influences. Courts of their day certainly did not push back against the integration of church and state as we think of it today. Why else would the countries’ oldest and now most prestigious institutions have their roots founded in the preparation of clergy for religious work? Harvard, Yale and Princeton, among other great universities, were actually built for the purpose of raising up educated pastors. Use the david lose inside quote Proponents of prayer in schools will no doubt point to reverse discrimination or infringement upon their own religious freedom if they or their children are not allowed to express their faith by praying in public. With the
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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.
Since the founding of America, there has been concern with the church manipulating government. The separation of Church and State was to make sure the church did not become more powerful than government. In spite of wanting a separation of church and state, The United States of America became one nation under God. The earliest test of the separation of church and state with respect to education is McCollum versus Board of Education. This was a landmark case the United States Supreme Court in 1948 ended the power of a state to use its tax-supported public school system in aid of religious instruction. “The court case which prohibited the state from sponsoring specific prayers in public schools was Engel v. Vitale, decided in 1962 by an 8-1 vote.” (Cline p) It is unconstitutional to compose a school prayer and make students repeat it daily. Although these cases protect our religious freedoms, there is some fear that expelling God from public school has adverse effects. God can still be present; teachers can lead by example and teach behaviors and ethics that
"Prayer has been banished from schools and the ACLU rampages to remove “under God” from the Pledge of Allegiance. Moreover, “Separation of Church and State” is nowhere found in the Constitution or any other founding legislation. Our forefathers would never countenance the restrictions on religion exacted today." -- Bill Flax, Forbes, 2011
Prayer should allowed in the public school system because prayer is an important part of America’s rich spiritual heritage. All throughout the history of America there have been many important documents written of our country that have references to “Almighty God,” “Thy Blessings,” and “Our dependence upon Thee.” These include: the Declaration of Independence, the Gettysburg Address, the national anthem, and the presidential oath (Haas, 1995, p. 39). In school students always say the pledge, which states, “One Nation Under God.” A prayer says that students just want to ask for a good day and guidance throughout the day. Not only do important documents of our country refer to God but also the words “In God We Trust” are engraved on all coins minted and bills pressed in the United States (1995, p. 39). There are two parts of the American tradition and they are prayer and religion (1995, p. 39). If society keeps prayer out of the public schools, they are teaching the students that traditions are not important and that what this country was founded upon does not matter. Does society want to raise a group of young people to disrespect what their forefathers wanted; religious freedom? If that is the case then why do people try to keep this country working at its prime when trouble occurs? People do not want to see this nation fall but in the end it
And the list goes on! “It appears that teaching morals has a very positive impact on education.” George Washington, our first President of these United States wrote- Only a virtuous people is capable of freedom. As nations become corrupt and vicious, they need more need of masters. Whereas true religion and good morals are the only solid foundations of public liberty and happiness…..it is hear by earnestly recommended to the several States to take the most effectual measures for the encouragement
They stated that religion unifies many people and puts faith into America. The State believed that the prayer would help bring out the spiritual side of children. The parents argued that the prayer quite simply violated the first amendment, the separation of church and state and requires that the government stay out of the business of prescribing religious activities of any kind. They argued that because not all students shared the same religious beliefs, the public schools should not be a place to preach religion, and believed that religious freedom of the students was being corrupted by providing time during school for prayer. The State rebutted that the prayer was completely optional, therefore was constitutional; if the prayer was against a child’s religion, or if they simply did not want to they did not have to take part in the prayer. A case very similar to this one took place rather recently. An excerpt from the pledge of allegiance states “one nation, under God.” A parent of a child attending pleaded that having said words in the pledge of allegiance is in violation of the Establishment Clause, and took it to the Supreme Court, this is the case of Elk Grove Unified School District v. Newdow. The Court's decision was that the excerpt did not violate the constitution because it is a symbol of our heritage and it is a
For centuries, the debate has existed whether or not to allow prayer in public schools. Many Americans feel it is not right of the schools to teach religion. With all the diversity associated with the United States, public schools cannot select one standard religion to practice, due to the cultural and religious differences in the country. Not only are schools the storm center of controversy involving religious differences, they are the principal institution charged with transmitting the identity and mission of the United States from one generation to the next. If we fail in our school policies and classrooms to model and to teach how to live with differences, we endanger our experiment in religious liberty and our
A public school in New York during the start of each school day started with the Pledge of Allegiance and followed by a nondenominational prayer. The New York state law also allowed students to skip the prayer if found offensive. A parent of a student attending this school sued deeming the law violated the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment. Supreme Courts majority rule (8-1) claimed YES the public school sponsored prayer violates Establishment Clause of the First Amendment, even with allowing students to skip the prayer, it was still considered unconstitutional. This case is important because Chief Justice, Earl Warren states that school sanctioned prayers, including any type of public promotion of religion, violates the Establishment
The American education system is one of the main places of controversy for the Separation of Church and State. Almost every child in the United States attends some type of school, many of them public systems. In such a school setting, these children are often exposed to the beliefs of their teachers and administrators, as well as their own classmates. In Greece, New York, ever since 1999, the town board has begun their monthly gatherings with prayer. Rev. Lou Sirianni begins his gathering by stating: "Be thou present, O God of wisdom, and direct the councils of this honorable assembly," the prayer ended, "All this we ask in the name and through the merits of Jesus Christ, Thy Son and our Savior" (Wolf 1). Recently in 2007, two residents who regularly attended board meetings, Susan Galloway and Linda Stephens, complained that the prayers were promoting more of a Christian community than any other religion (Masci 3). Although separation of church and state is stated briefly in the First Amendment, these two ladies had the right to go after the town for not allowing a freedom of religion and for most importantly throwing religion into a government owned school function. The case was brought to the Supreme Court in 2007 and is still under debate, with a result hopefully by the end of June 2014. The question is whether or not this prayer is allowed at a school function. Not everyone is willing to put
Intro- about 10 ten years ago, in the year 1951,the New York Board of Regents approved a “Quote” “nondenominational prayer”. It was 22 words long and The blandest of invocations read as follows: "Almighty God, we acknowledge our dependence upon Thee, and beg Thy blessings upon us, our teachers, and our country." voluntary prayer for recitation at the start of each school day. A group of parent in New Hyde Park, New York Steven Engel was a parent in New Hyde Park, New York. He and a group of other parents objected to the daily speaking of the prayer, even though it was voluntary, at the start of each school day. Steven Engel and his group of supporting parents sued William Vitale, the president of the local school board. The parents reasoning was that this optional prayer didn’t align with the views of the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment of the United States Constitution. The 1st amendment says Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.” The establishment clause states quote, "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof." Originally, the Establishment Clause was only added to the Constitution to keep the federal government from establishing a national religion.
How can we say that the United States is a free country when we can not openly express our religious beliefs in public? Prayer within public schools has begun a significant debate amongst people in society today. This has been a controversial topic in the United States for approximately over 50 years. Many argue whether or not it is socially appropriate to have education and religion in the same place. People have made various reasons about why or why not prayer should be prohibited in public schools. There have been countless court cases and discussions all over the nation regarding this topic. According to Karen Ridder, “A prayer in New York caused the first U.S. Supreme Court Ruling on prayer in public schools: Even though it was the middle of the Cold War, a non-denominational, optional prayer known as The Regent’s Prayer got caught up in the 1962 case of Engle v. Vitale” (Ridder). This comes to show how the prohibition of school prayer has been an issue for a significant amount of time. While this is a very disputatious topic, prayer should be allowed in public schools because students should be able to freely express their beliefs.
Most individuals on the liberal spectrum tend to agree with the courts when it declared government sponsored prayers are unconstitutional. The less conservative individuals show a tendency to believe that any amendment that allows for voluntary prayer would contradict the first amendment guarantee against government establishment of religion. Most on the liberal spectrum or those that feel the government does not have enough power feel that any sort of Government action to allow voluntary prayer in schools could be at the cost of the civil rights of students. It is believed that any amendment or law consenting for voluntary prayer would diminish the very heart of the Bill of Rights; which protects the rights of people from the oppression from the majority. Those that do not allow or want to allow prayer in school think that any amendment affirming that prayer should be allowed in school would actually introduce assembled prayer or force persons into prayer. Those that clash with prayer in school fear that judgement against those that do not participate in school prayer. Those in the small percentage that do not want to participate would be obligated to follow to a belief or ritual that which they do not believe. This could cause the individual to suffer the humiliation or burden of submitting a day-to-day spiritual exercise continuously in order to avoid being singled out by mainstream colleagues and educators.
The issue of school prayer is not one of religious freedom, as it is already legal for children to pray in school, either individually or in groups. Since the Engel decision in 1962, religious advocates have been assailing the Supreme Court for "taking God out of the classroom." In an effort to reverse this trend, conservative religious groups have been fighting for the passage of a school prayer amendment to gain greater leeway for religious activities in schools.
The argument of the words ?under god? remaining in the pledge is an ongoing fight?one with many court cases, all of which have ruled the same. The ruling is that under god is still appropriate and need not be removed from the pledge. The argument is clear, saying that there are many people who are not ?under God? and do not believe in ?Him.? Some people believe this statement shows that our nation?s religious beliefs are all the same, when in fact they are not. In a recent case in California, a few chief justices spoke on their opinion about the pledge. Justice Rehnquist says ?Reciting the pledge, or listening to others recite it, is a patriotic exercise, not a religious one? Participants promise fidelity to our flag and our nation, not to any particular God, Faith or Church.? (Hendrie, 2004, paragraph 25). Judge O?Connor says that ?nearly any government action could be overturned as a violation of the establishment clause if a ?heckler?s veto? sufficed to show that its message was one of endorsement.? (Hendrie, 2004, paragraph 27).
Religion and prayer can benefit students in educational settings by positively contributing to better grades and behavior. Personal faith and prayer are important to people in many walks of life. Some individuals believe that this need for religious stimulation includes the youth in our school systems. There are different reasons why knowledge of religion and prayer can be important to students. For example, if students do not know about diverse faiths, it can be difficult for them to have a well-rounded knowledge and understanding of other cultures. There are oppositional sides to this issue as well. Some people believe that prayer in educational settings could be used as a way to persuade students into believing certain things that they