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Essay / Research Paper Abstract
A 3 page research paper/essay that quickly reviews case law in regards to prayer in school. The writer discusses the case of Engel v. Vitale and also the use of the three-prong Lemon test for deciding the constitutionality of religion in schools. Bibliography lists 3 sources.
3 pages (~225 words per page)
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this as preserving freedom of religion, others see it as a violation of freedom of speech. This case law is based on the "establishment of religion clause" of the First
Amendment, which stipulates that neither the states nor the federal government can enforce a state religion, or "pass laws, which aid one religion, aid all religions, or prefer one religion
over another" (Redlich, 2000, p. 26). The facts of the case in Engel v. Vitale, 370 U.S. 421 (1962) are that the Board of Regents for the State of
New York authorized a "short, voluntary prayer" for recitation at the start of each school day (Goldman, 2004). Non-denominational and intentionally bland, the prayer was designed to defuse a politically
explosive issue by taking it out of the hands of local communities. The question that was presented before the US Supreme Court was whether or not the reading of the
prayer violated the "establishment of religion" clause of the First Amendment. The Court ruled that it did and that the voluntary nature of the prayer did not save it from
being unconstitutional (Goldman, 2004). At the time, most religious organizations, including the Southern Baptists, approved of the Supreme Courts wisdom in taking the state out of the business of
prescribing religious devotions; the idea being that by keeping a strict line between religion and state, religious freedom is ensured for all since the state does not prescribe any specific
religious viewpoint (Kramnick and Moore, 1999). Proponents of prayer in public school see its prohibition as a violation of freedom of speech and argue that this custom has deep roots
in public practice. However, Kramnick and Moore (1999) point out that religious instruction was strictly prohibited everywhere in the nineteenth century. This was not due to government interference, but rather