Justice Tom C. Clark wrote for the majority in the Schempp case. "We have
come to recognize through bitter experience that it is not within the power of
government to invade that citadel, whether its purpose or effect be to aid or
oppose, to advance or retard." He is talking about State government in this
ruling. I contend that their ruling is an argument regarding “to aid or
oppose, to advance or retard"are religious tests, as opposites, by the
federal court -- and a usurpation of the Supremacy Clause of the Constitution:
“… all executive and judicial Officers, both of the United States
and of the several States, shall be bound by Oath or Affirmation, to support
this Constitution; but no religious Test shall ever be required as a
Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States.
What many people overlook when they call for more religion in schools is that
while the religion they think ought to be there is their own religion, what
they'd actually get is something entirely different. Would an LDS parent be
happy to have their child reciting "Hail Mary" each morning? How about
a Catholic child being told to recite the Jewish "Shema Yisroel" daily,
or a Baptist asked to read from the Book of Mormon? We have churches,
synagogues and mosques to teach us and to provide a place for religious
activities, and if they're doing their jobs, we don't need to
force-feed those beliefs to kids at school. No one is prevented from following
their own beliefs. We just don't let schools impose them on what is
essentially a captive audience.
Cavetroll: Indeed! What about all the other books you mentioned? How do you
teach them as 'good literature' if the school system demands that you
only teach them as 'good literature' rather than the word of God? If
they are just 'good literature' then are they not just the same as any
other book that a teacher says is 'good literature', including
pornography? If your definition of 'good literature' includes
something along the lines of what stands the test of time, it won't work.
What constituted 'marriage' stood for thousands of years, and
doesn't seem to be accepted any longer. "Good literature' will
suffer the same fate unless it is defended. If the bible isn't the word of
God, it is a lie. How can a lie be defended as 'good literature'?
Terra Nova. Consider this. You say "without faith hope dies". How do
you know if your faith has not been misplaced? Consider that placed their faith
in Jim Jones, or David Korresh, or the "Heavens Gate" prophet. So the
issue is, what or whose faith should we celebrate in public school worship? That faith can easily be misplaced is the fundamental weakness of on
relying on that principal for determining the correct path.
RE: BandersonMaybe you should research the definition of
"literature." The Bible is good literature. If the Bible claims for
itself the Word of God, what about the Book of Mormon? The Quran? The Torah?
Upanishads? Vedas and Bhagavad Gita? Are these books also not considered the
Word of God? But they are all also literature.
The bible as 'good literature.' What good is the bible as good
literature? How can something that claims for itself the word of God be
included as anything but the 'word of God'? It either is or
isn't. If it is, then certainly it must be stated as such or how can it be
'good literature.' without mocking it? If it isn't, then the
secularists win the day. The secularists have won the day and our nation
suffers as a result. So be it! The very reason why I want government out of
all aspects of my life and to run this country by its constitutional limits.
School prayer is the least of my thoughts. For the liberal or athiest to
denounce the teaching of the bible in schools and then support a government
nanny state (supporting everything from welfare to war)is pure hypocrisy!
@the truth"Not requiring bible readings and prohibiting them are
two different things." SCotus did not prohibit the reading of the Bible.
They only stated Bible reading could not be used as a tool to promote religious
beliefs. The justices even wrote in their opinion that this ruling should not be
construed as a removal of religion from public life. "The WHOLE
point the 1st amendment is to protect speech and expression, which includes
religious, we do not like or do not agree with." This is exactly what this
ruling was about. A young man was punished by his school for his unpopular
expression. SCOTUS simply protected his 1st Amendment rights. @My2CentsWhat are you talking about? What does the president have to do
with this court case? SCOTUS absolutely upheld the rights and the rule of law in
this case. This was a clear case of them upholding the constitutional rights of
the people, and was a "bipartisan" ruling.
@terra nova- Yes, while secular humanism is the god and goal of many public
administrators, teachers of various religious dogma still have the last
influential word inside the classroom... There is a little hope for variety in
that 'market place of ideas' training ground...And on that
note, JS "taught Christian values without [The] (historical, Biblical)
Christian faith, thereby reaping the evangelical whirlwind, to this day. His
faith and revelations included polytheism and plural marriage. Having faith is
relative to each person's value system; t's "what" you have
faith in that is the issue for dogmatics.So our world is populated
with every kind of faith. And we all know the inner divisions within every sect
or philosophy, given sufficient time on terra firma.
In this decision and many other Supreme Court decisions our fore fathers put too
much trust in the hopes that the supreme court would be a sacred and honored
position with no political agenda and impartial decisions upholding the
constitutional and the laws of this country.Well the presidents have
found ways to manipulate the supreme courts and its trust to turn in into a side
show and controversial injustice to the Constitution and its intentions.I think the supreme court has come to the point that it now requires
some oversight and accountability requirements to the people and the
Constitution. Decisions have become biased, prejudiced, and irrational jokes
that insult their positions of trust and the nation.I think its time
to amend this branch of government and empower the Congress and people to veto
supreme court decisions that usurp the rights and intentions of the rule of law
and our government of the people. Faith in the Supreme Court to be impartial,
honest, and believe in this country has been compromised by presidential
interference to have influence in the courts processes and decisions. The
president has once again violated and breached his oath of office.
Well written and thoughtful article on this wise landmark decision. In my
opinion, many on the right and the left misunderstand this ruling. My
understanding is that schools, under government auspices, cannot impose a prayer
nor any religous reading in schools. I recall a similar case where someone from
my faith was excluded from saying a prayer at a sports function in a bible belt
area school. The Supreme Court ruled similarly to this bible ruling. However,
this does not mean that students cannot voluntarily gather at lunchtime or as a
club to read or pray to which ever God they choose, as long as no group is
excluded from doing so. I also agree with the recent ruling where those in
military positions of authority, can't use their rank to proseletyze(sp?).
It's easy to see where someone in an authoritative position could coerce
their beliefs. But this doesn't preclude someone from sharing what they
believe, off duty. This is nothing new, really. I can't do that at my
civilian place of employment, either, especially in a leadership role. No, this
1963 ruling is one of wisdom and protection of one's agency.
A well written and thoughtful piece. Thanks.The only problem with
the article is that instead of supporting the ruling of the Supreme Court, our
schools have adopted a new form of belief. In one form or another, the belief
system of secular humanism is taught in every classroom in America. It is the
new American religion. It attempts to teach Christian values without Christian
faith. Our society suffers because of the loss of faith. Without
faith, hope dies. And where there is no hope or faith, love cannot survive
long. Without faith and hope it becomes brittle and cold and shatters.
1n the 50's, living in a 1 bathroom house with my older teenage sisters,
Waking up in the morning with them in the bathroom getting makeup on, getting
ready for school. Banging on the bathroom door, was my religion. I remember the
pryer in school, the pledge of allegiance. Then it went to a moment of silence
and the pledge then the moment and the pledge was forgotten. We honor each
other, we respect the property of others. To tell a lie, cheat or steel was
dishonor, to others and to our self. I think that honor has been forgotten to.
Should of kept the prayer.
NO one has ever been forced to pray or agree to prayer.Not requiring
bible readings and prohibiting them are two different things. "Congress
shall make no law..."The federal government should not be in our
local schools at all.The WHOLE point the 1st amendment is to protect
speech and expression, which includes religious, we do not like or do not agree
with.Otherwise the first amendment has no point or value.Schools are "by and of and for the People" not just for a few
secularist tyrants.By the way, the supreme court is not infallible,
they also supported slavery and many other decisions that one or other side has
vehemently disagreed with.
Excellent article, good historical data. Thank you for an objective piece on a
controversial cultural-socio-religious issue. Makes an American thankful for
our democratic process that seeks for the best of equity and justice for all.Reminds Biblical students of the thorny issues of Moses' judicial
days. His father-in-law's wisdom in advising him to allocate &
delegate was priceless. Now if religious folks can remember to obey
their founders' and prophets' peace initiatives, our world would be a
more pleasant place. If fellow-Christians would emulate Paul's tact and
debate-format in the marketplace of ideas (vis-a-vis Mars Hill), and obey our
Lord's injunction to honor all men and governmental rule where possible, we
would not see first amendment violations. No "Christian" student who
agreed to deliver his valedictorian speech under authority's rules would
violate his oath. And the "Christians" in the audience wouldn't
break out in applause.Just put a Muslim doing the same thing with a
Quranic passage there, and see the reaction reveal who are truly Christ-like.Public schools are for public education. No forced prayers should ever
have been sanctioned.
Kudos to Matt Brown's article on School prayer and the 1844 Bible riots.
I'll have to research this latter American Historical event more later. The
idea of having High School classes offering a comparative religion class as an
elective in High School. Is a good idea. I had a similair class in High School
in the 70s. If I remember, we discussed Buddhism, Taoism and Existentialism. The
Existentialism section really opened my eyes as a 16-17 year old. I closed them
again when I went up to BYU a couple year later.
I'm often amazed at my conservative friends who still believe this ruling
"expelled God from the classroom." They have a hard time understanding
that "school prayer" quickly becomes "government selected and
mandated prayer." Getting government out of the business of worship promotes
religious pluralism. History shows that Mormon in particular would not do well
in a society where the government decides what faiths are acceptable and which
ones are not.
Thank you Deseret News forf a fine explanation of the history of exempting
partisan religion from public schools. I have been intimately involved the
Utah;s Three R's progam which endorses the teaching of all religius history
without endorseing any particular belief. I am a SLC Unitarian Humanist
Without question one of the most important, insightful, well though out,reasoned
and correct decisions that the SCOUTUS ever handed down.