"Separation of church and state" issues
- "When the government puts its imprimatur on a particular religion it conveys a message of exclusion to all those who do not adhere to the favored beliefs. A government cannot be premised on the belief that all persons are created equal when it asserts that God prefers some." Supreme Court Justice Harry A. Blackmun. 1
- "You don't believe in Separation of Church and State? Well, since you want your church to tell the government how to govern, does that mean the government can come into your church and tell you how to worship? Separation is for the protection of both." Zoe Anadon
This section should really be called "religion and state," so that it represents a wall of separation between all religions -- Christianity, Islam, Judaism, Wicca, etc. -- and the federal, state and municipal governments in the U.S. However, the term "church and state" is so well entrenched that we will continue to use it here.
This section discusses the following topics:
|Introduction to the concept of separation of church and state, and the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution|
|Religion in the U.S. public schools, libraries, etc. Praying, teaching religion, news items, etc. |
|Unsuccessful Constitutional amendments during the 1990s to legalize public school prayer imposed by the school board|
|Church/state separation issues by local, state & federal governments:|
The Challenging Issue of the Separation of Church and State
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The Challenging Issue of the Separation of Church and State
When the first amendment was written it said “Congress shall make no law respecting and establishment or religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof…” This was written because America didn’t want a mandatory religious system like that of England. American people didn’t want freedom from religion they simply wanted freedom of religion. Even the men who wrote the constitution believed that God could do much more than man, therefore they used the Bible to help form the government.
Our constitution has been amended and changed driven by the effects of modern controversies. The founding fathers did not intend to create a Christian nation. The Christian cross and American flag were displayed in public places with hardly any voice of dissent. Jefferson felt that he did not have the constitutional authority to lead the people in act of prayer. Under the strong influence of Virginia, southern states decided to rewrite their constitution and disestablish all Churches. The constitution was then rewritten with God’s name removed.
The issue whether or not church and state should be separate didn’t evolve until the 19th century, and today it is hot topic among both separationists and accommodationists alike. Separationists are the people who push separation of church Separationists feel that neither state nor the federal government can set up churches / aid religion; there should be absolutely no governmental funding of religious activity/displays, any praying in public school / teaching of evolution. On the opposing side, accommodationists oppose separation between church and state, interpreting the first amendment exactly as it is stated. No where in the first amendment does it say “separation of church and state . Accommodationists support government funding of religious schools / organization, they support government organized (non denominational) prayers, and the funding of religious displays.
Religions place in schools has always been scrutinized. In 1954 ‘under God’ was placed in the pledge of allegiance. Since then, regulations have severely changed. Prayer in schools has been deemed unconstitutional. Instead, schools allow a moment of silence as long as no religious intent is applied. Prayer is allowed in schools as long as students initiate and control the religious meetings. In Doe vs. Santa Fe, during a school football game over the school PA system, a prayer was announced. The school claimed prayer “promotes good sportsmanship and student safety, and to establish the appropriate environment for the competition.
How to Cite this Page
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| Supreme Court Cases on Separation of Church and State Clauses Essay - The United States of America was founded on the basis of religious freedom. Judgment on the legality of the Separation of Church and State should not be based on one’s religion. The phrase “Separation of church and state” sometimes known as the “wall of separation between church and state,” is a phrase used by Thomas Jefferson in understanding the two clauses of the First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States: the Establishment Clause and the Free Exercise Clause. The Establishment Clause is prohibits the government fro making any laws dealing with religion.... [tags: religious freedom, church]|
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| Separation of Church and State Essay - Introduction Separation of Church and state has been a topic seen by the Supreme Court over the past 150+ years. Our countries religious freedoms and how it’s interpreted have been debated by both sides with reasonable argument. The framers of our federal government had laid down a series of guidelines for a free and prosperous society. One of the most controversial clauses in the First Amendment of our Constitution where it states that no law will endorse a religion or prohibit the rights of the people to exercise their religious rights has been part of a national debate since the First Congress was in session.... [tags: Government]|
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| The Constitutionality of Separation of Church and State, Freedom of Speech, and the First Amendment in Times of War - The United States Constitution was originally drafted in 1787 and this did not contain the Bill of Rights. The Bill of Rights was ratified December 15, 1791 (McClenaghan 71). At that time, George Mason and others argued that it should not be included (Bender 27). James Madison believed that adding a bill of rights could give the government powers to take away people’s private rights (Madison 44). He stated that wherever power gives people the right to do something wrong, wrong doings will be done (Madison 44).... [tags: U.S. Government ]|
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| Essay on Faith Based Organizations vs. the Separation of Church and State - Faith Based Organizations vs. the Separation of Church and State Issues regarding the separation of church and state frequently resurface. The first time this issue was made know to American citizens was when the Supreme Court removed prayer from the public school system. Last year, the Supreme Court made another decision in regards to this same concern, but with a slight twist. In June 2000 the hot topic case of the nation was the Supreme Court’s decision to rule that, “public schools cannot let students lead stadium crowds in prayer before high school football games.” (Alpert 1) Separation of church and state functioned as a primary concern even during Thomas Jefferson’s Presidency an... [tags: Religion Christianity Prayer Schools Papers]|
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|Essay on It's Time for the Separation of Church and State - It's Time for the Separation of Church and State “In God We Trust” on the dollar bill, The Ten Commandments at a state court house. These are things over the past year that you might have heard in the news causing some controversy. As current events go on, the Separation of Church and State is being brought into light more and more every day. When the United States Constitution was founded in the 18th century, many liberties were given to its citizens. One of those rights was the freedom of religious persecution, and the right to practice whatever you believe in.... [tags: Argumentative Persuasive Essays ]||1650 words|
| The Separation of Church and State in America Essay - "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 Church and State seem to be two words which are entirely inseparable from each other.... [tags: Religion Politics Essays USA]|
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Separation Of Church Christian Nation Hot Topic Government Funding Southern States First Amendment American People Founding Fathers
” But the II Circuit Court of appeals claimed that it was “hardly the type of annual event that can be appropriately solemnized with prayer.” Also restrictions with school’s dress code are not normally related to religion unless the school finds changes to make that is not directly correlated with a certain faith, but instead another group such as a gang.
When the constitution was written, there were no homosexuals. When our Founding Fathers wrote the Constitution, they didn’t have to address the idea of same sex marriage.. Now that society has changed so drastically it is necessary for us to interpret their words in a different manner. Many States have concluded that a marriage can only be between one man and one woman. Some states claim that it is against the State’s public policy such as in Indiana and Kansas. The only two states that do support civil unions are Massachusetts and Vermont. States need to specifically pass a proposal in order to have civil unions be valid because of the Defense of Marriage Act, which was signed by President Clinton in 1996. The Defense of Marriage Act states “the word 'marriage' means only a legal union between one man and one woman as husband and wife, and the word 'spouse' refers only to a person of the opposite sex who is a husband or a wife." Many people debate that this is unconstitutional under the Equal Protection Clause and the Due Process Clause. The Equal Protection Clause is a part of the 14th amendment that says that government institutions can’t discriminate against anyone and must apply the law equally to every person. Also, some debate that it is against the Due Process Clause which states that "No State shall . . . deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law."
Vouchers are a controversial issue when dealing with separation of church and state. The government gives parents tax dollars in the form of vouchers giving the parents a choice in which school their child attends. Whether it's a school in another district, a private school, or a religious school, public money that would normally be used to fund public schools is instead spent on private and religious schools. The people that are in favor of vouchers believe they give parents the chance to give their children a quality education if they are enrolled in failing school districts. Other challengers of school vouchers say the voucher system takes money away from already under-funded public schools and when the government is giving out this money, it is indirectly promoting a particular religion because most parents choose to send their children to religious schools. In 2002 the Supreme Court made its ruling in the case of Zelman vs. Simmons. "In a 5-4 decision, the justices ruled that a Cleveland program allowing parents to use publicly funded vouchers to pay tuition at private schools - including religious schools - does not violate the U.S. Constitution's prohibition on governmental establishment of religion.(School)" Many states still hold cases on constitutionality of vouchers with many rulings being overturned in higher courts of the state, and the majority of states have Blaine amendments which "contain various restrictions on aid to private and religious institutions" (School).
It’s easy to see how topics of separation of church and state have emerged since the constitution was written. At the time of the constitution many of these topics were not even spoken of. Today , with all the media hype about many of the issues we are faced with deciding how the constitution should be interpreted. One can almost guarantee that they will continue to see such debates.
* Allison, Jim. The Constitutional Principle: The Separation of Church and State. 8 Nov. 2004 <http://members.tripod .com/~candst/>.
* Anti- Defamation League. Teaching Science, Not Dogma:The Creationism Controversy. 9 Nov. 2004 <http://www.adl.org/issue_religious_freedom/create/creationism2.asp>.
* Gibbs, Nancy. “Thou Shalt be Removed.” Time Magazine 24 Nov. 2003: 24+
* Glenn Cook. Vouchers Choice & Controversy. American School Board Journal. Jan. 04
* Harry Brighouse. Moral and Political Education – Vouchers. Stephen Macedo. New York. New York University Press. 2002.
* No Apathy. The Myth of Separation of Church and State. 7 Nov. 2004 <http://www.noapathy.org/tracts/mythofseparation.html>.
* Religious Tolerance.org. Homosexual Marriages: An Interpretation of the American Constitution. 9 Nov. 2004 <http://religioustolerance.org/dixon_02.htm>.
* The Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life. School Vouchers. 9 Nov. 2004 <http://pewforum.org/school-vouchers/>.