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ERIC Number: ED187650
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1980-Mar
Pages: 13
Abstractor: N/A
Reference Count: 0
Bible Reading and Prayer in the Public Schools: Their (Il)Legal Status.
Monroe, E. M.; Monroe, J. M.
Three major Supreme Court cases concerning Bible reading and prayer in the public schools are discussed. The constitutional bases for the court cases are the First and Fourteenth Amendments. The former expresses that Congress may make no laws to establish or to prohibit the free exercise of religion and the latter provides that no state shall deprive any person of life, liberty, or pursuit of happiness without due process of the law. The three Supreme Court cases occurred in the 1960s. Engel v. Vitale tested the constitutionality of a daily student prayer composed by the New York Board of Regents. The Supreme Court contended that the use of daily prayer in the classroom was totally inconsistent with the Establishment clause of the First Amendment. The Schempp v. the School District of Abington Township questioned the validity of a Pennsylvania law requiring the reading of ten Bible verses without comment at the beginning of each school day. Although student participation was not mandatory, the court declared the practice unconstitutional. The Murray v. Curlett case challenged the opening exercises which consisted of reading the Bible and reciting the Lord's Prayer in the Baltimore schools. The Court ruled in favor of professed atheists Madalyn Murray and her son. Reactions from religious leaders included strong support both for and against the decisions. The conclusion is that although the three cases did not end litigation regarding Bible reading and prayer in the schools, they largely determined the precedent in dealing with similar cases. (Author/KC)
Publication Type: Information Analyses
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A