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Religious law and school prayer

Menu

Religion and prayer in U.S.
public schools, libraries, etc.

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Quotations:

bullet"Americans are being denied the right to express their religious speech in the public square." Ralph Reed, Christian Coalition.
 
bullet"Public schools can neither foster religion nor preclude it. Our public schools must treat religion with fairness and respect and vigorously protect religious expression as well as the freedom of conscience of all other students. In so doing our public schools reaffirm the First Amendment and enrich the lives of their students". Secretary of Education Richard W. Riley June 1998
 
bullet"A Congress that allows God to be banned from our schools while our schools can teach about cults, Hitler and even devil worship is wrong, out of touch, and needs some common sense." Rep. James Traficant, (D-OH) 1999-APR-27.
 
bullet"There is no such source and cause of strife, quarrel, fights, malignant opposition, persecution, and war, and all evil in the state, as religion. Let it once enter our civil affairs, our government would soon be destroyed. Let it once enter our common schools, they would be destroyed." Supreme Court of Wisconsin, Weiss v. District Board, 1890-MAR-18.
 
bullet"A union of government and religion tends to destroy government and degrade religion." Supreme Court Justice Hugo Black, Engel v. Vitale, (1962)
 
bullet"School sponsorship of a religious message is impermissible because it sends the ancillary message to members of the audience who are nonadherents that they are outsiders, not full members of the political community, and an accompanying message to adherents that they are insiders, favored members of the political community. " U.S. Supreme Court ruling, Santa Fe v. Doe, (2000).

Topics covered:

bulletIntroduction: Overview, The Constitution, landmark court decisions, etc.
 
bulletAbout prayer in public schools:
bulletThe court case that ended state-sponsored prayer
bulletQuotations from religious and political leaders
bulletPraying in the classroom  -- legally
bulletMoment of silence
bulletPosition of U.S. political parties on school prayer
bulletPopular misconceptions about school prayer
bulletAccommodating prayers by Muslims
 
bulletAbout prayer at municipal government meetings
 
bulletTeaching religion:
bulletTeaching religion vs. teaching about religion
 
bulletPrayer at special events:
bulletSports events
bulletGraduation ceremonies
bulletCourt decisions and public reactions on graduation prayers
bulletAt the flagpole - See You at the Pole events
 
bulletStudent free speech guarantees:
bulletStudents' religious jewelry and clothing
bulletEqual Access Act regarding student clubs
 
bulletEvents reported in the media:
bullet1995 to 1997 inclusive
bullet2000 to 2002
bullet2003 to now

 
bulletOther matters:
bulletRenting school & library facilities to community groups
bulletWhat the Bible says about public prayer
bulletSeparation of church and state issues
bulletThe Pledge of Allegiance prayer

Sources of additional information:

bulletThe U.S. Department of Education guidelines for religion in the public schools at: http://www.ed.gov/ 
bulletThe National Congress of Parents and Teachers and Freedom Forum's "A parent's guide to religion in the public schools," at: http://www.freedomforum.org/ You need software to read these files. It can be obtained free from:
bulletFreedom Forum's "A teacher's guide to religion in the public schools," at: http://www.freedomforum.org/newsstand/reports/ * **
bulletNational Bible Association and the First Amendment Center's "The Bible & Public Schools," at: http://www.freedomforum.org/ This also requires Acrobat software.
bulletAnti-Defamation League (ADL)'s "Religion in the Public Schools" at: http://www.adl.org/religion_ps/default.asp

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References:

  1. Religion Today news summary, 1999-MAR-19.
  2. ACLU Newsfeed, 1999-NOV-5.
  3. Rutherford Institute has a web page at: http://www.rutherford.org/  
  4. Natural Prayer Project is available at:
    bulletEmail: naturalprayer@earthlink.net  
    bulletWebsite: http://www.naturalprayer.com 
    bulletPhone: 1-800-209-9929 (US only)
    bulletFax: (619) 573-0752
  5. Dave Clark, "Dallas schools attempt church ouster," at: http://www.family.org/cforum/fnif/news/A0013582.html 

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Copyright 1995 to 2006 by the Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Created 1995-APR-27

Last updated 2006-OCT-11
Author: B.A. Robinson

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