court rulings dealing with religion
Keith Allan Schneider
Here are some court cases that dealt with religion:
Cases ruled against religion:
Engel v. Vitate (1962) and Abington Township v. Schempp (1963) -- these
rulings condemned authorized prayers and Bible readings in the classroom.
Lemon v. Kurtzman (1971) and (1972) -- condemned state laws permitting
grants of money to parochial schools for supposedly non-religious
purposes as well as a law permitting payments to parents of parochial
school children for various expenses.
Committe for Public Education and Religious Liberty v. Nyquist (1973),
Levitt v. Committee for Public Education and Religious Liberty (1973),
Sloan v. Lemon (1973), Norwood v. Harrison (1973) -- these struck down
other means of aiding parents who send their children to private schools,
such as granting tax credits and tuition refunds, on the grounds that
these were intended to assisst religious schools.
Epperson v. Arkansas (1968) -- struck down law that forbade teaching the
theory that man has "ascended or descended" from other animals.
Also, the court has consistently ruled that the federal government can
prohibit acts such as polygamy that are considered harmful to the
community, despite the fact that such acts may be a part of required
Rulings in favor of religion:
Walz v. Tax Comm. (1969) -- said that churches may be granted tax immunity.
Everson v. Board of Education (1947) -- allowed the furnishing of bus
services to children attending religious schools, upholding the theory
that this was for the benefit of the children, not the schools.
West Virginia State Board v. Barnette (1943) -- upheld claim of Jehovah's
Witnesses that forcing their children to salute the flag at school
ceremonies violated their religious beliefs.
Wisconsin v. Yoder (1972) -- upheld Amish claim that compulsory school
attendance after the age of 14 interfered with special requirements of
Tilton v. Richardson (1971) -- upheld the use of federal grants for
builing construction in religiously affiliated colleges.
"Release time" (by which public school children were released from classes
to attend religious instruction) was ruled unconstitutional if the
instruction took place within the school (McCollum v. Board of Education
(1948)) but constitutional if the religious instruction took place off
the property (Zorach v. Clauson (1952)).
Justice Douglas wrote, in attempting to define in the latter case what was
forbidden by the establishment of religion clause:
Government may not finance religious groups nor indertake religious
instruction nor blend secular and sectarian education nor use
secular institutions to force one or some religion on any person...
It may not make a religious observance compulsory. It may not
coerce anyone to attend church, to observe a religoius holiday,
or to take religious instruction.
Basically, the first amendment says that the government is prohibited
from setting up a state religion, and thus favoring one sect over another.
The government is also prohibited from interfering with religious
Relgious practices and preachings are not to be interfered with unless they
are agressive as nuisances, offend public morality, violate secular laws
or are dangerous to the government.
The provisions of the first amendment forbiddding congress to make any law
"respecting an establishment of religion" renders state support for
churches unlawful, but this does not mean that a complete wall of separation
must be erected between church and state (as tax exemption is allowed as
long as it is available to all religious groups). The principal
establishment issues have concerned state aid to religious schools.
[some quotes from Collier's, some from Britannica]
Actually, if you look at the above cases, most have in fact been
"anti-Christian cult" if you will.