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Senior Seminar Presentation

Research Paper
by

Diana Ramirez

on 1 May 2013

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Transcript of Senior Seminar Presentation

Religion in Schools First Amendment A line needs to be drawn about how far religion can go in the classroom. Our First Amendment right's MUST be protected to the fullest extent. Conclusion Background
Information Bibles in the Classroom Should Bibles be expelled from public schools? Teach Not Preach Issues Today Where is the line drawn? "Congress shall make no law representing an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances" McCollum v. The Board of Education (District 17) 1940 members of the Jewish, Roman Catholic, and some Protestant faiths formed a voluntary association called the Champaign (Illinois) Council on Religious Education. The Council offered voluntary classes in religious instruction to public school pupils. Did the use of the public school system for religious classes violate the First Amendment's Establishment Clause? Yes. The Court held that the use of tax-supported property for religious instruction and the close cooperation between the school authorities and the religious council violated the Establishment clause. If they attended the religious classes, the Court found that the Champaign system was: "beyond question a utilization of the tax-established and tax-supported public school system to aid religious groups and to spread the faith." Engel v. Vitale (1962) The Board of Regents for the State of New York authorized a short, voluntary prayer for recitation at the start of each school day. "Almighty God, we acknowledge our dependence upon Thee, and beg Thy blessings upon us, our teachers, and our country.” Does the reading of a nondenominational prayer at the start of the school day violate the "establishment of religion" clause of the First Amendment? Yes. By providing the prayer, New York officially approved religion. This was the first in a series of cases in which the Court used the establishment clause to eliminate religious activities of all sorts, which had traditionally been a part of public ceremonies. Despite the passage of time, the decision is still unpopular with a majority of Americans. Lemon v. Kurtzman (1970) The cases involved controversies over laws in Pennsylvania and Rhode Island. In Pennsylvania, a statute provided financial support for teacher salaries, textbooks, and instructional materials for secular subjects to private schools. The Rhode Island statute provided direct supplemental salary payments to teachers in private elementary schools. Each statute made aid available to "church-related educational institutions." Established the three part test for determining if an action of government violates First Amendment's separation of church and state:
1) the government action must have a secular purpose;
2) its primary purpose must not be to inhibit or to advance religion;
3) there must be no excessive entanglement between government and religion. "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" It is important to teach about religions and necessary if public schools are to provide students with a complete education It's entirely permissible for schools to offer classes in classes in the study of the Bible, if they are presented objectively as a part of a secular program. 1988, a board coalitioin of 17 religious and educational organizations published guidelines: The schools approach to religion is academic, not devotional.
The school strives for student awareness of religions but does not press for student acceptance of any one religion
The school sponsors study about religion not practice
The school exposes students to a diversity of religions
The school educates about all religions and does not promote or denigrate any religion
The school seeks to inform not to conform students. Birdville School District, Texas: Allows students to offer prayers before football games claiming that since students freely choose to do so the prayers are not endorsed by the school Taconic Hills Central District, New York: Prohibitted a student from closing her graduation speech with a prayer, claiming that prayers at graduation constitute school sponsored religion. Hugoton High School, Kansas: Scheduled a mandatory assembly "The Truth About Dinosaurs" from a the
Creation Truth Foundation. ACLU took immediate
measures to stop it Groupthink Theory What's the harm? Groupthink theory of communication states that highly cohesive, task-oriented groups will favor the harmony of the group over quality decision making. The majority of our country still has not stood up for what is right and has the state of mind, “what’s the harm?” Instead of indulging in the debate, fighting and create make smart decisions for the country, they go with the majority and that easy flow.
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