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Engel v. Vitale. Jacqueline Brody Michael Elliott Thaddeus Goodchild. Case Summary.

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engel v vitale

Engel v. Vitale

Jacqueline Brody

Michael Elliott

Thaddeus Goodchild

case summary
Case Summary
  • Action brought by the families of students in Union Free School District No. 9 in New Hyde Park, New York to enjoin the Board of Education in that district from its practice of directing principals to cause a 22-word, non-denominational prayer to be said aloud by students in the presence of a teacher at the beginning of each day.
  • State trial and appellate courts upheld the use of the prayer as Constitutional.
  • The U.S. Supreme Court held that the daily recitation of the prayer was a “religious activity” sanctioned and promulgated by the State of NY through its Board of Education and, as such, was “wholly inconsistent” with the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment despite the fact that student’s were not required to participate in the prayer.
brief history of world religion
Brief History of World Religion


what is religion
What is religion?
  • A religion is a system of human thought which usually includes a set of narratives, symbols, beliefs and practices that give meaning to the practitioner's experiences of life through reference to a higher power, deity, or deities, or ultimate truth.
what is a cult
What is a cult?
  • A religious group whose beliefs or practices could be considered strange or sinister
brief survey
Brief Survey
  • How many people here practice the same religion as their parents?
the framers views on separation of church and state
The Framers’ Views on Separation of Church and State
  • Governmentally established religions and religious persecution have gone hand-in-hand
  • Indeed, colonists fled England for America to avoid just this.
  • Common assertion amongst evangelical conservatives: “We were founded as a Christian nation.”
  • Most of the Founding Fathers were Deists
  • Creator Framers referenced is not meant to be read as the God of the Bible; but instead is meant to emphasize that no person or government can create or take away natural rights.
language of the first amendment
Language of the First Amendment
  • “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.”
  • Purposes
    • protect the government from religion
    • protect religion from the government.
the establishment clause
The Establishment Clause
  • The Establishment Clause prohibits the government from actively promoting or establishing religion.
  • “It is generally agreed that the Establishment Clause seeks to assure the separation of church and state in a nation characterized by religious pluralism.”
religious pluralism
Religious Pluralism

American faiths

scope of establishment clause
Scope of Establishment Clause?
  • Only state establishment of a national religion?
  • Any government reference to religion or God?
  • “Under God” in the Pledge of Allegiance?
  • Prayer in school?
is america a christian nation
Is America a Christian Nation?


  • Obama
  • Representative Forbes
  • John McCain
important cases before engel
Important cases before Engel
  • Until 1943, the First Amendment only applied to the federal government, not the states.
  • Minersville School District v. Gobitas (1940)
    • children of Jehova’s Witnesses could be expelled for refusing to salute the American flag for religious reasons
    • Free Exercise Clause?
  • West Virginia State Board of Education v. Barnette (1943).
    • overruled Minersville
    • the First Amendment now applies to the states.
everson v board of education of ewing township 1947
Everson v. Board of Education of Ewing Township (1947)
  • Facts
    • New Jersey law allowed reimbursements for public transportation to parents who sent their children to Catholic school.
  • Holding
    • The law did not violate the Establishment Clause because the money did not go to parochial schools, and the law was a “general program” that assisted parents of all religions.
illinois ex rel mccollum v board of education 1948
Illinois ex rel.. McCollum v. Board of Education (1948)
  • Facts
    • Voluntary religious classes were being taught in public school classrooms.
  • Holding
    • The law violated the Establishment Clause because the classes were being taught in tax-supported property and the school was entangled with religion.
zorach v clauson 1952
Zorach v. Clauson(1952)
  • Facts
    • Students were allowed to leave public school to attend religious instruction off-campus
  • Holding
    • This “released time” program was constitutional. The government need not be hostile to religion.
mccarthyism and government promotion of christianity cont
McCarthyism and Government Promotion of Christianity cont.
  • 1952 – Congress required that the President proclaim and National Day of Prayer
  • 1954 - “…under God…” incorporated into the Pledge of Allegiance
  • 1954 – “In God We Trust” adopted as national motto
  • 41% of schools had Bible reading and 33% had morning devotions
  • Korean War and Cold War in the 1950’s
  • Communism as a “godless political philosophy”
  • With the ideological war being waged against communism came increased religious fervor
  • "The fate of the world rests with the clash between the atheism of Moscow and the Christianspirit throughout other parts of the world.“ – Joseph McCarthy
the case itself

The Case Itself

Action was brought by the families of students in Union Free School District No. 9 in New Hyde Park, New York to enjoin the Board of Education in that district from its practice of directing principals to cause a 22-word, non-denominational prayer to be said aloud by students in the presence of a teacher at the beginning of each day.

procedural posture and summary of holding
Procedural Posture and Summary of Holding
  • NY Supreme Court (trial court) and NY Court of Appeals upheld the use of the prayer as Constitutional.
  • The United States Supreme Court granted certiorari.
  • Court held that daily recitation of the prayer was a “religious activity” sanctioned and promulgated by the State of New York through the Board of Education and was “wholly inconsistent” with the Establishment Clause
facts of the case
Facts of the Case
  • At the recommendation of the State Board of Regents the Board of Education in Union Free School District No. 9 had adopted a daily practice of each class reciting a prayer at the beginning of the school day.
  • Part of the “Statement on Moral and Spiritual Training in the Schools.”
new york s arguments
New York’s Arguments
  • Students not required to participate or be present as prayer was recited.
  • The trial court’s required there be a system to protect those who objected to the prayer.
  • Neither teachers nor any school authority were allowed to comment on participation or non-participation of any student in the prayer.
  • The possible alternatives for non-participating students
  • Prayer was nondenominational and did not officially establish any particular religious beliefs.
court s reasoning
Court’s Reasoning
  • Establishment Clause does not depend upon any showing of direct governmental compulsion.
  • Impermissible “indirect coercive pressure” for religious minorities to conform to the state-approved religion.
  • In response to the second argument: “It is proper to take alarm at the first experiment with our liberties. Who does not see that the same authority which can establish Christianity, in exclusion of all other Religions, may establish with the same ease any particular sect of Christians, in exclusion of all other Sects? That the same authority which can force a citizen to contribute three pence only of his property for the support of any one establishment, may force him to conform to any other establishment in all cases whatsoever.” – James Madison
court s reasoning cont
Court’s Reasoning Cont.
  • Response to charge that the Court was being hostile towards religion and prayer: Establishment Clause’s “first and most immediate purpose” is rested on the belief “that a union of government and religion tends to destroy government and to degrade religion.”
  • Religion is “too personal, too sacred, too holy to permit its ‘unhallowed perversion’ by a civil magistrate.”
narrowing the scope of the holding
Narrowing the Scope of the Holding
  • Recitation of the Pledge not affected.
j douglas concurrence
J. Douglas’ Concurrence
  • Argues that holding should have broader scope
  • Congress and Senate’s Chaplain; SCOTUS Crier.
  • Quotes J. Ruteledge’s dissenting opinion Everson v. Board of Education
j stewart s dissent
J. Stewart’s Dissent
  • Approves of prayer as constitutional based on fact that it was noncompulsory
  • Not allowing the practice deprives children of the “opportunity of sharing in the spiritual heritage of our Nation.”
  • Court’s review of history of English Book of Prayer and Church of England is misplaced and irrelevant to the facts of this case
  • Notes other government invocations of religion
since engel

Since Engel

∙Public Reactions to Engel

∙Subsequent Cases

∙The Law Since Engel


∙Modern Day Controversies

public reactions to engel
Public Reactions to Engel
  • Opposition to Engel
    • Polls showed that Engel was opposed by large majorities of the American people. http://www.churchstatelaw.com/commentaries/engelvvitale.asp/
    • Conservatives noted case as marking the beginning of “America’s downfall” The Battle over School Prayer – How Engle v. Vitale Changed America, Bruce J. Dierenfield, page 5 .
    • Conservatives argue that many modern day problems – such as “illegitimate births, the divorce rate, drug use, racial unrest, public protests, and violence” – are all a result of taking prayer out of school. Id.
    • For the next four decades, public anger brought many calls for a constitutional amendment to restore what Engel “took away.”http://law.jrank.org/pages/6483/Engel-v-Vitale.html
    • Many school boards continued to offer prayers at school events, such as graduation ceremonies and athletic events. Id.
public reactions to engel32
Public Reactions to Engel
  • Proponents of Engel
    • The ruling in Engel was a landmark victory for church-state seperationists who marked it as the beginning of a new era in First Amendment doctrine. http://law.jrank.org/pages/6483/Engel-v-Vitale.html
    • Engel was never overruled
subsequent cases
Subsequent Cases
  • Abington School District v. Schempp, 374 U.S. 203 (1963)
    • Holding: struck down Bible readings in public schools.

Lee v. Weisman, 505 U.S. 577 (1992)

Holding: the Supreme Court held that a high school principal acting in accordance with school board policy violated the Establishment Clause by inviting a local clergyman to deliver a nonsectarian prayer at graduation.

Santa Fe Independent School District v. Doe, 530 U.S. 290 (2000)

Holding: the Court ruled that the recitation of a prayer over a school microphone by a student and supervised by a school faculty member at a football game in accordance with school policy violated the First Amendment.

subsequent cases36
Subsequent Cases
  • Chamberlin v. Bd. of Pub. Instruction, 377 U.S. 40 (1964)
    • Holding: It is unconstitutional to read the bible and recite the Lord's Prayer in public school.

Stone v. Graham, 449 U.S. 39 (1980)

Holding: disallowed a state law requiring posting of the Ten Commandments in public school classrooms.

Treen v. Karen B., 455 U.S. 913 (1982)

Holding: a statute authorizing student volunteers to lead classroom prayers in a public school violated the Establishment Clause.

subsequent cases37
Subsequent Cases
  • Wallace v. Jaffree, 472 U.S. 38 (1985)
    • Holding: The court held that the statute authorizing a daily period of silence in public schools for meditation or voluntary prayer was an endorsement of religion lacking any clearly secular purpose, and thus violated the Establishment Clause
    • *Subsequent “minute of silence” laws have generally survived legal challenges
    • *As many as 18 states already permit moments of silence under law
subsequent cases38
Subsequent Cases
  • Equal Access Act
    • To clarify the circumstances in which public high school students may gather for religious purposes, including prayers, Congress in 1984 enacted the Equal Access Act, which provides student-led religious groups the same right of access to school facilities for their meetings as is enjoyed by other student-led non-religious groups.
  • Board of Education v. Mergens, 496 US. 226 (1990)
    • Holding: Upheldthe Equal Access Act against constitutional challenge .
  • Good News Club v. Milford Cent. Sch., 533 U.S. 98 (2001)
    • Holding: the court held that a refusal to let a Christian Club meet on public school property violated the Constitution.
the law since engel
The Law Since Engel
  • Between 1971 and 1990 the Supreme Court used a three-part test to determine whether state programs involving religion were permitted under the Establishment Clause.http://www.enotes.com/everyday-law-encyclopedia/school-prayer-pledge-allegiance.
  • The standard, first announced in Lemon v.Kurtzman, 411 U.S. 192(1971), is referred to as the Lemon test, and has three conditions for policies regarding religion in school:
    • 1.) that it has a secular purpose,
    • 2.) that it has a primary effect that neither advances nor inhibits religion, and
    • 3.) that it does not excessively entangle government with religion. In the 1990s, the Supreme Court refused to apply this test. Id.

By 2001, the test for compliance with the Establishment Clause generally required that a school policy demonstrate a secular purpose that neither advances nor inhibits religion in its principal effect. Id.

Courts continued to carefully scrutinize such policies to see that they did not endorse, show favoritism toward, or promote religious ideas. Id.

  • School prayer advocates have made numerous attempts since Engel to use politics to advance their agenda.In June 1998, House members voted 224 to 203 in favor of a school prayer amendment, but that was not enough to meet the two-thirds majority needed for approval. http://www.enotes.com/everyday-law-encyclopedia/school-prayer-pledge-allegiance.
  • Another Congressional effort, however, has borne more success for school prayer advocates. Id. In 1984, with strong backing from conservative religious groups, Congress passed and President Ronald Reagan signed the Equal Access Act. Id. This law requires any federally funded public secondary school to allow all school clubs, including religious organizations, equal access to facilities, but instructs teachers and officials not to encourage or solicit participation in these activities.
  • In addition, members of Congress have attempted but failed to pass the Constitutional Restoration Act. This Act would limit the power of the courts to deny religion in the public sphere. The Act was filed on March 3, 2005 by SenatorRichard Shelby (R-AL) and RepresentativeRobert Aderholt (R-AL). The bill states that:
  • “The Supreme Court shall not have jurisdiction to review, by appeal, writ of certiorari, or otherwise, any matter to the extent that relief is sought against an entity of Federal, State, or local government, or against an officer or agent of Federal, State, or local government (whether or not acting in official or personal capacity), concerning that entity's, officer's, or agent's acknowledgment of God as the sovereign source of law, liberty, or government.”
  • The bill would impeach judges or other court officials that violate its provisions.
  • Supporters of the bills, largely conservativeRepublicans, claim that the legislation re-asserts the original meaning of the First Amendment and the principle of limited government power over rights of conscience and religion. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Constitution_Restoration_Act.
  • Opponents of the bill have expressed concern that the bill would repeal the applicability of the First Amendment to state and local governments by rendering it impossible to appeal constitutionally questionable state decisions beyond the state level. Id. The Act has been viewed by critics as an attempt to advance the cause of Dominionism by conservativeevangelical Christian Republicans. Id.
modern day controversies
Modern Day Controversies
  • Prayer in School
  • Pledge of Allegiance
  • In God We Trust
  • Religious Holidays in School
prayer in public school
Prayer in Public School

Prayer in School Video Clip

prayer in public school sports
Prayer in Public School (Sports)

YouTube - Kicked out of school for refusing to join prayer circle

prayer in public school45
Prayer in Public School
  • Now home schooled and chances ruined for getting an athletic scholarship. http://abcnews.go.com/2020/Story?id=3164811&page=4
  • "I didn't think they had religion in sports. But when it came to basketball they would pray before and after practices. They would pray during games. And you know, praying was a tradition for them and that is what they said." Id.
  • Even the opposing basketball team joined in -- from the stands, school officials bowed their heads. "You could see that all of the teachers that work at the school, the administration had their heads bowed and were saying the Lord's Prayer with the kids. Coach has his head bowed. It's a thing that everyone does." Id.
  • School administrators said Nicole was bad for team morale and that she'd stolen another student's sneakers, so their reasons for kicking her off were fair. Nicole claims the charges they made were unfounded. Id.
  • A year later, Nicole was allowed back on the team. This time, when the prayer started, she stayed outside the circle. "I just stood outside of it and said the Pledge of Allegiance … Without the 'under God.'" Id.
  • The next school day, Nicole was suspended -- this time, she was accused of threatening to kill a team member. But according to Nicole, she never said that. Id.
  • The parties reached a settlement in October 2008, with the school district paying an undisclosed amount to the Smalkowskis. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hardesty_Public_School_District
prayer in public school46
Prayer in Public School
  • YouTube - Muslim School Prayer In Public San Diego School
the pledge of allegiance
The Pledge of Allegiance
  • “Under God” added by Congress in 1954
  • Previous cases
    • Gobitas
    • Barnett:
issues with pledge
Issues with Pledge
  • What does “One nation, Under God” mean?
  • Why was “under God” added to the Pledge, and what benefit does it serve?
  • Is the Pledge of Allegiance a Prayer?
  • What are the problems with saying it?
elk grove unified school dist v newdow 2004
Elk Grove Unified School Dist. v. Newdow(2004)


  • Atheist father brought suit claiming the recital of the Pledge of Allegiance in his daughters class violates Establishment Cl.


  • the Supreme Court threw out the case based on standing because the plaintiff did not have legal custody of his daughter.


  • Rehnquist, O'Connor and Thomas wrote that if the case had been decided on its merits, they would have upheld the words "under God" as constitutional. Id.
school vouchers
School Vouchers
  • What are they?
zelman v simmons harris 2002
Zelman v. Simmons-Harris (2002)
  • Facts
    • Ohio state program provided vouchers. Mostly religious private schools were getting benefit.
  • Issue
    • Does the voucher program violate the Establishment Clause?
  • Holding
    • No.
    • 5-4 decision.
    • Individual recipients, not government, giving money and support to the private religious schools.
    • Neutrality
pledge of allegiance
Pledge of Allegiance
  • Do You Want "Under God" Removed From Our Pledge of Allegiance?
  • Yes 76% (2,887 votes)
  • No 18% (681 votes)
  • I don't know or it doesn't matter. 7% (255 votes)
  • Total Votes: 3,823
pledge of allegiance54
Pledge of Allegiance
  • Since the 1940s, the courts have held that it is constitutional to say the pledge of allegiance at school provided that it is voluntary.
  • The words “Under God” were not originally part of the Pledge, but were added by Congress in 1954. http://www.enotes.com/everyday-law-encyclopedia/school-prayer-pledge-allegiance.
  • “The Pledge of Allegiance is one of the nation's most honored secular symbols, viewed by many in the same light as the National Anthem.” Id.
  • Written in 1892 by the socialist Francis Bellamy, the Pledge of Allegiance first appeared in a national family magazine, Youths' Companion. Id.
  • There is a rich history of cases involving the pledge of allegiance. For instance, in the 1930s, West Virginia passed legislation mandating compulsory saluting of the flag and recitation of the pledge. West Virginia State Board of Education v.Barnette, 319 U.S. 624 (1943).After members of Jehovah's Witnesses objected on religious grounds, those students were expelled from school and their parents brought suit contending that the law infringed upon their religious beliefs, which they said required them not to engage in secular practices. Id. The state law was then struck down because the law violated the First and Fourteenth Amendment. Id.
  • Many schools ignored the Supreme Court’s ruling that the recitation of the pledge had to be voluntary. High-profile cases in the late 1990s involved lawsuits against schools that instituted mandatory requirements and punished students who did not comply. Enotes.com, School Prayer/Pledge Of Allegiance,http://www.enotes.com/everyday-law-encyclopedia/school-prayer-pledge-allegiance. For instance, in 1998, the ACLU filed a federal lawsuit against a school in San Diego, California after school officials required a dissenting student to stand silently during the pledge, leave the classroom, or face detention.Id.The case was settled out of court and the school district agreed to change its policy. Id.
pledge of allegiance55
Pledge of Allegiance
  • Interest in the issue intensified again in 2001 following terrorist attacks upon the United States in September of 2001. Id.Secretary of Education Rod Paige urged students to partake in an annual nationwide Pledge of Allegiance in October 2001 and many schools opted to participate. Id. The terrorist attacks prompted states and school districts to revive long-dormant laws requiring students to recite the pledge. Id.
  • Newdow v. U.S. Congress, 328 F.3d 466 (2002)

Holding: the court held that both the 1954 Act of Congress adding Under God to the Pledge of Allegiance and a public school's practice of teacher-led recitation of the Pledge violated the Establishment Clause.

Reactions to Newdow:

  • Politically, the reactions were very predictable. A GOP memo to all Republican members of Congress and those running for spots in Congress implored Republicans to contact local school boards and ask them to “nullify this decision” by allowing the Pledge of Allegiance to be recited “as is” in classrooms the next morning. A Senate resolution “expressing support for the Pledge of Allegiance” and asking Senate counsel to “seek to intervene in the case” passed 99-0. http://atheism.about.com/od/churchstatedecisions/a/Newdow2002_4.htm.
  • One common problem with many of the reactions is that they so often portray the decision as banning the use of “under God” when the Pledge of Allegiance is recited. In fact, nothing could be further from the truth. Anyone, including any school student, who wants to include “under God” when they recited the Pledge of Allegiance is allowed to do so and there is no reason to think that that will change. Id.
  • What this decision held was that it was unconstitutional for the government to officially insert that phrase into the Pledge of Allegiance and for government officials (in schools) to lead students in reciting the Pledge with that phrase included. In other words, individuals continue to be free to do as they will, but the government is prohibited from telling them what they should do - exactly as was the case when the government banned state-sponsored and state-organized prayers in public schools. Id.
  • The predictable personal attacks also arrived. Senator Robert Byrd, D-West Virginia, the only remaining member of Congress who voted for the addition of “under God” on June 7, 1954, warned the judges who declared the Pledge of Allegiance unconstitutional to never come before him because they would be “blackballed.” Tom Daschle, D-South Carolina, said, “This decision is nuts.” Sen. Trent Lott, R-Mississippi, said “This is obviously an unbelievable decision, as far as I am concerned, and an incorrect ruling and a stupid ruling.” At no point have any of them explained in any detail where the majority decision errs. If they happen to read this, I urge them to write to me and explain their position. Id.
pledge of allegiance56
Pledge of Allegiance

Elk Grove Unified School Dist. v. Newdow, 542 U.S. 1 (2004)

Holding: the Supreme Court threw out the case based on standing because the plaintiff did not have legal custody of his daughter.

Moments after the Supreme Court's ruling was announced students at Elk Grove Elementary School recited the Pledge of Allegiance. http://usgovinfo.about.com/od/rightsandfreedoms/a/pledgeruling.htm.

In a concurring opinion, Justices Rehnquist, O'Connor and Thomas wrote that if the case had been decided on its merits, they would have upheld the words "under God" as constitutional. Id.

  • YouTube - ACLU are debate over the Pledge of Allegiance
in god we trust
“In God We Trust”

The motto In God We Trust was first placed on United States coins in 1864 largely because of the increased religious sentiment existing during the Civil War, but In God We Trust did not become the official U.S. national motto until after the passage of an Act of Congress in 1956. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/In_God_We_Trust. Secretary of the Treasury Salmon P. Chase received many appeals from devout persons throughout the country, urging that the United States recognize the Deity on United States coins. http://www.ustreas.gov/education/fact-sheets/currency/in-god-we-trust.shtml.

From Treasury Department records, it appears that the first such appeal came in a letter dated November 13, 1861. It was written to Secretary Chase by Rev. M. R. Watkinson, Minister of the Gospel from Ridleyville, Pennsylvania. Id.

****Watkinson’s Letter

in god we trust58
“In God We Trust”
  • As a result, Secretary Chase instructed James Pollock, Director of the Mint at Philadelphia, to prepare a motto, in a letter dated November 20, 1861:
    • Dear Sir: No nation can be strong except in the strength of God, or safe except in His defense. The trust of our people in God should be declared on our national coins.You will cause a device to be prepared without unnecessary delay with a motto expressing in the fewest and tersest words possible this national recognition. Id.
  • The use of IN GOD WE TRUST has not been uninterrupted. The motto disappeared from the five-cent coin in 1883, and did not reappear until production of the Jefferson nickel began in 1938. Since 1938, all United States coins bear the inscription. Later, the motto was found missing from the new design of the double-eagle gold coin and the eagle gold coin shortly after they appeared in 1907. In response to a general demand, Congress ordered it restored, and the Act of May 18, 1908, made it mandatory on all coins upon which it had previously appeared. IN GOD WE TRUST was not mandatory on the one-cent coin and five-cent coin. It could be placed on them by the Secretary or the Mint Director with the Secretary's approval. Id.
  • The motto has been in continuous use on the one-cent coin since 1909, and on the ten-cent coin since 1916. It also has appeared on all gold coins and silver dollar coins, half-dollar coins, and quarter-dollar coins struck since July 1, 1908. Id.
  • A law passed by the 84th Congress (P.L. 84-140) and approved by the President on July 30, 1956, the President approved a Joint Resolution of the 84th Congress, declaring IN GOD WE TRUST the national motto of the United States. IN GOD WE TRUST was first used on paper money in 1957, when it appeared on the one-dollar silver certificate. The first paper currency bearing the motto entered circulation on October 1, 1957. Id.
in god we trust59
“In God We Trust”
  • American presidents such as Theodore Roosevelt strongly disapproved of the idea of evoking God within the context of a "cheap" political motto. In a letter to William Boldly on November 11, 1907, President Roosevelt wrote: "My own feeling in the matter is due to my very firm conviction that to put such a motto on coins, or to use it in any kindred manner, not only does no good but does positive harm, and is in effect irreverence, which comes dangerously close to sacrilege... it seems to me eminently unwise to cheapen such a motto by use on coins, just as it would be to cheapen it by use on postage stamps, or in advertisements. Id.
  • Legislation approved July 11, 1955, made the appearance of "In God We Trust" mandatory on all coins and paper currency of the United States. Id.
  • On March 7, 2007, the U.S Mint reported an unknown number of new George Washington dollar coins mistakenly struck without the edge inscriptions, including "In God We Trust." These coins have been in circulation since February 15, 2007, and it has been estimated by some experts that at least 50,000 of them were put in circulation. The coin rapidly became a collector's item as well as a source for conspiracy theorists. Id.
in god we trust60
“In God We Trust”
  • The motto is opposed for a variety of reasons, but is still widely supported by Americans.[According to a 2003 Gallup Poll, 90% of Americans approve of the inscription on U.S. coins.http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/In_God_We_Trust.
  • The Establishment Clause of the First Amendment states that congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion. Critics contend that the motto's placement on money constitutes the establishment of a religion or a church by the government. Id.
  • The Supreme Court has upheld the motto because it has "lost through rote repetition any significant religious content"; so-called acts of "ceremonial deism" that have lost their "history, character, and context". In such related decisions as Zorach v. Clauson, the Supreme Court has also held that the nation's "institutions presuppose a Supreme Being" and that government recognition of God does not constitute the establishment of such a state church as the Constitution's authors intended to prohibit. Id.
  • In 1970, the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit ruled inAronow v. United States, 432 F.2d 242 (9th cir. 1970): "It is quite obvious that the national motto and the slogan on coinage and currency 'In God We Trust' has nothing whatsoever to do with the establishment of religion. Its use is of patriotic or ceremonial character and bears no true resemblance to a governmental sponsorship of a religious exercise."
  • Constitutionalists object to sworn judiciaries employing historical context in what they believe ought to be a raw textual interpretation. Id.
in god we trust61
“In God We Trust”
  • Some activists have been known to cross out the motto on paper money as a form of protest.Although federal law (18 U.S.C.§ 333 and 18 U.S.C.§ 475) prohibits defacement and modification of currency under certain specific conditions, no documented cases exist of prosecution for such action, and the Federal Reserve frequently recirculates similarly defaced notes.
religious holidays in school
Religious Holidays in School
  • YouTube - Glenn Beck CNN Headline News- Religious Holdays in Schools
  • http://www.firstamendmentcenter.org/rel_liberty/publicschools/topic.aspx?topic=religious_holidays