MORE ARTICLES FROM ‘Religion Research’
The first of the First Amendment’s two religion clauses reads: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion … .” Note that the clause is absolute. It allows no law. It is also noteworthy that the clause forbids more than the establishment of religion by the government. It forbids even laws respecting an [...]
“Congress shall make no law … prohibiting the free exercise (of religion)” is called the free-exercise clause of the First Amendment. The free-exercise clause pertains to the right to freely exercise one’s religion. It states that the government shall make no law prohibiting the free exercise of religion.
Although the text is absolute, the courts place [...]
“This Court has long recognized that the government may (and sometimes must) accommodate religious practices and that it may do so without violating the Establishment Clause.” — Hobbie v. Unemployment Appeals Comm’n of Fla. (1987)
Government accommodation of religious practice has long been recognized as essential to religious liberty in the United States. When specific religious [...]
The evolution vs. creationism debate has engendered controversy for more than a century, causing an uproar in science, religion and constitutional law.
More than 80 years ago legendary lawyers Clarence Darrow and William Jennings Bryan matched wits in a Dayton, Tenn., courtroom over evolution and creationism. Darrow represented young science teacher John Scopes and the evolution [...]
As May approaches every year, public schools grapple with the question of whether or not they may allow prayers at graduation ceremonies. Most religious prayers will not be permissible, especially in public elementary and secondary schools. However, as with most issues of the law, the answer is not that simple.
Rulings against graduation prayers
In the seminal [...]
The question of whether religious literature may be distributed in public schools partly involves who would be doing the distributing, how, and at what level of school.
Generally, public school officials themselves may not distribute religious literature to schoolchildren. Distribution of such material by students and by outside groups will be discussed in separate sections.
Distribution by [...]
One of America’s continuing needs is to develop, out of our differences, a common vision for the common good. Today that common vision must embrace a shared understanding of the place of religion in public life and of the guiding principles by which people with deep religious differences can contend robustly but civilly with each [...]
Thomas Jefferson once called America’s new constitutional protections of religious freedom a “bold” and “novel experiment.” These new state and federal guarantees, Jefferson declared, defied the millennium-old assumptions inherited from Western Europe — that one form of Christianity must be established in a community, and that the state must protect and support it against other [...]
Written for Civitas: A Framework for Civic Education. Copyright
1991, Council for the Advancement of Citizenship and the Center for Civic
Education. Updated and reprinted by permission.
From the Colonial era to the present, religions and religious beliefs have
played a significant role in the political life of the United States. Religion
has been at the heart of some of [...]
The U.S. Supreme Court stated in its famous 1969 opinion in Tinker v. Des Moines Independent Community School District that “it can hardly be argued that neither students nor teachers shed their constitutional rights to freedom of speech and expression at the schoolhouse gate.” The Court articulated that public school teachers, as public employees, do [...]
This section on public schools and religious communities contains consensus guidelines drafted and endorsed by a broad range of 15 religious and educational groups. These guidelines are intended to reflect current law in this area, though on some questions there may be no controlling Supreme Court opinion and the lower courts may be divided. While [...]
Editor’s note: This section on student religious clubs contains consensus guidelines drafted and endorsed by a broad range of 21 religious and educational groups. These guidelines are intended to reflect current law in this area, though on some questions there may be no controlling Supreme Court opinion and the lower courts may be divided. While [...]
“If there is any fixed star in our constitutional constellation, it is that no official, high or petty, can prescribe what shall be orthodox in politics, nationalism, religion, or other matters of opinion or force citizens to confess by word or act their faith therein.”— Justice Robert Jackson in West Virginia [...]
This section on the Bible in public schools contains consensus guidelines drafted and endorsed by a broad range of 20 religious and educational groups. These guidelines are intended to reflect current law in this area, though on some questions there may be no controlling Supreme Court opinion and the lower courts may be divided. While [...]
Knowledge about religions is not only a characteristic of an educated person, but it is also absolutely necessary for understanding and living in a world of diversity. Knowledge of religious differences and the role of religion in the contemporary world can help promote understanding and alleviate prejudice. Since the purpose of the social studies is [...]