court rulings dealing with religion Keith Allan Schneider Here are some court cases that d

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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 religious practice. --- 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 their religion. 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 observances. 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.


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