Religion in the American Public School

Topics: Supreme Court of the United States, Religion, United States Pages: 6 (1967 words) Published: September 13, 2005
Throughout history, religion has impacted the lives of millions whether at school, work, with friends, or by some tragedy. Religion can change the way people view their existence. Religion also plays a big role in the infiltration of values into the loves of many young people today. In a recent pole printed in the USA Weekend Paper, "34% of respondents [said] Religion plays a powerful role in their everyday lives." These student respondents "cited religion as the second-strongest influence in their lives outranked only by parents." Religion also surpassed the world-renounced media as an influence in their lives (Lerman. 1).

Many outsider views have changed negatively since the enlightenment (McConnell, 10) however, the fact still stands that religion is one of the most powerful influences on a person's decisions throughout whether it is an actual religion or the lack thereof. The Supreme Court even states that "it is legitimate for the public schools to inculcate values" and most values of present day society are often based on religious beliefs. Inculcating religion into the lives of students in the public school is not only both historically and presently permissible but also beneficial to the three main areas of a school system.

Through many Supreme Court cases, decisions, and official statements, the United States Government has made it clear that study about religion is constitutional (Haynes 2). 3 main cases have explicitly shown the acceptability of religion in school. There have been many statements made Supreme Court Justices and the current president himself stating the permissibility of having religion taught in school. Guidelines have also been written and carried out for the use of religion in the public school system (Guidelines: U.S. Department of Education, 2)

One of these cases includes the Good News Club, a Christian-based youth program, vs. Milford Central Schools case. Despite the fact that this case didn't rule in favor of religion, it was a ground post for many other court cases for holding religious based clubs on school grounds. The club was refused the right to hold meetings at the Milford Central Middle School while other clubs could. The state court ruled against the club and an appeal was filed. Rev. Stephen D. Fournier of 10 years from the Milford Center Community Bible Church said it was discrimination by the school. A federal trial judge threw out the appeal. However, on a case of another Good News Club the 8th United States Circuit Court of Appeals in 1994, ruled in favor of the club, therefore showing its permissibility (Associated Press, 1).

A battle amongst the Kentucky General Assembly and other States in America has shown the admissibility of religion throughout the public school. This debate is over the issue of displaying the Ten Commandments in the public school. 20 years ago, when this issue was brought up to Kentucky General Assembly, their ruling ended the Supreme Court ruling to not allow the Ten Commandments in public schools. Along with Kentucky, two states, Indiana and South Dakota made it law that the Ten Commandments were allowed to be put up in public schools and 11 others also made actions toward allowing it (Copeland, 1).

Another court case on Everson vs. Board of Education showed the admissibility of religion in public schools. In it the Supreme Court stressed that the constitution protects not only the people that believe in God but also those who do not. They are therefore stating that as long as religion is kept on a voluntary basis in public places, it is constitutional and allowed ( ).

There are also many government officials and organizations that support religion in school. Many statements have been made by Supreme Court Justices, the current United States President and other organizations. For example, for the Abington vs. Schempp case Associate Justice Tom Clark of the Supreme Court wrote: [I]t might well be said that one's...
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