1. Religion & Spirituality
Send to a Friend via Email

Religion in Schools

Should public schools include more religion than they currently do, or would that just create violations of the separation of church and state? Should prayer and Bible reading once again become part of public school life? Is religion necessary to maintain good behavior?
  1. Religion in Public Schoo...

Religion in Public Schools - Role & Place of Religion in Publ…
The presence and extent of religion in public schools is one of the most difficult and contentious issues when it comes to the separation of church and state. On the one hand are those who sincerely believe that a lack of religion in the schools "teaches" atheism or secular humanism, resulting in a decline in morality and performance. On the...

School Vouchers - Vouchers for Private, Religious Schools
Voucher supporters argue that with all the failing schools in America, vouchers are necessary in order for kids to receive the best possible education. Vouchers introduce competition, and parents will pick the best schools just like they pick the best cars — and then everyone wins. But is that really true? Is there a genuine need for vouchers to help kids attend private, religious schools and w…

Arguments Against Vouchers - Private, Religious School Vouche…
Defenders of strict church/state separation and secular government also defend secular public education by opposing schemes to use vouchers to funnel public funds to private, religious schools. Secular public schools are an important foundation for secular democracy in America, bringing together children of diverse backgrounds into a common...

Arguments For Vouchers - Defending Vouchers for Private, Reli…
Although voucher programs don't receive quite as much attention in the early 21st century as they did in the late 20th century, the Christian Right hasn't given up on their desire to use private, religious school vouchers to undermine secular public education. Their libertarian allies also haven't give upon on the idea that government funding...

School Prayers - Status of Prayers in Public Schools
Prayer in public schools is a contentious issue, arousing the most anger and passion among people on both sides of the table. Can kids pray in school? Should kids pray in school? What role can or should schools have when it comes to prayers? Is a "moment of silence" permitted or is it just a ruse for inserting prayer back into schools? It...

School Prayer Cases - Court Rulings on Prayer in Public Schools
To what extent, if any, may the government allow prayers at the graduation ceremonies of public schools? The answer is simple, although difficult to apply in practice: if the government has any say or controlling function over the words being said, then prayer and evangelism may not be a part of those words. This is the underlying principle...

Santa Fe Independent School District v. Doe (2000)
One tactics used by conservative Christians to introduce more official prayers into schools is to get students to vote on prayers. In communities where one sort of Christianity dominates, the outcome of voting can be predicted and defended as the 'private' speech of students. Courts, though, have ruled that prayers done on under the auspices of government supervision, with government approval, and with government equipment, is effectively government speech and thus must be restricted.

Cole v. Oroville Union High School (1999)
Are speeches given by students during graduation ceremonies fully private speech, protected by the First Amendment, or are they in some fashion also government-approved speeches, thus restricted by the same First Amendment? Students giving the speeches see themselves as engaging in wholly private speech, but this ignores the context of a state...

Jones v. Clear Creek School District (1992)
If government officials do not have the authority to write prayers for public school students or even to encourage and endorse prayers, can they allow the students themselves vote on whether or not to have one of their own recite prayers during school? Some Christians tried this method of getting official prayers into public schools and the...

ACLU v. Black Horse Regional Board of Education (1995)
Religious invocations, including sectarian prayer, are popular components of high school graduation ceremonies across America. Many Christians expect their religion to be part of graduation ceremonies and don't care that not all students are Christians, much less that both Christian and non-Christian students and parents might object to religion...

Wallace v. Jaffree (1985)
Can public schools endorse or encourage prayer if they are endorsing and encouraging 'silent meditation' as well? Some Christians thought this would be a good way to smuggle official prayers back into the school day, but courts rejected their arguments and the Supreme Court found the practice unconstitutional.

Abington School District v. Schempp & Murray v. Curlett (1963)
Do public school officials have the authority to pick a particular version or translation of the Christian Bible and have children read passages from that Bible every day? There was a time when such practices occurred in many school districts across the country but they were challenged alongside school prayers and ultimately the Supreme Court...

Graduation Prayers in Public Schools - Case Law on Graduation Prayers
Questions about the constitutionality of graduation and commencement prayers are difficult to answer because the case law varies across the nation. The Supreme Court hasn't had a lot to say about graduation prayers specifically, though they have ruled on school prayers in other contexts, so the rulings of lower courts can have more authority...

Prayer in Public Schools
The status of religion generally and prayer in particular are important for America's Christian Right. Many see public schools as a site of indoctrination: kids are already being indoctrinated into communism, secular humanism, and feminism; they would rather have their beliefs promoted by the state with prayer, Bible reading, official religious events, and more. Prayer, though, is a primary focus…

School Prayer
Prayer in public schools is a contentious issue, and one which seems to arouse the most anger and the most passion among people on both sides of the table. Can kids pray in school? Should kids pray in school? What role can or should schools have when it comes to prayers? Is a "moment of silence" permitted or not?

School Holidays: Good Friday & Easter
Good Friday is a Christian Holy Day which many Christians would surely like to have off from school, but does that mean that governments should grant it official recognition over and above the holy days of other religions? Are official school holidays on Good Friday constitutional?

School Holidays: Christmas
Traditionally, public schools in America have been very explicit in their celebration of the Christmas season - for students, it has been a Christmas holiday season, a Christmas break, and celebratory events were specifically oriented towards Christmas. So long as America has been predominantly Christian in composition, such a focus went...

School Vouchers: Arguments Against Vouchers
Twelve common arguments used to explain why vouchers for private and religious schools will not help schools and/or would violate the separation of church and state.

School Vouchers: Arguments For Vouchers
Ten of the most common arguments used to support the case that the government should offer children vouchers to attend private - and even religious - schools.

Religion in Public Schools
The presence and extent of religion in public schools is one of the most difficult church/state issues. Some believe that a lack of religion in the schools "teaches" atheism or secular humanism, resulting in a decline in morality and performance. Others believe that state sanctioned religion and state supported religious observances infringe upon the religious liberties of all students.

Do You Favor Prayer in Public Schools?
A 2005 poll conducted by the ADL found that 44% of Americans think that time should be set aside for prayer at the beginning of the day while 47% would like to see religious expression throughout the day. Do you agree with having more prayer in public schools? Why or why not?

You can opt-out at any time. Please refer to our privacy policy for contact information.

Discuss in my forum

©2014 About.com. All rights reserved.