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The First Amendment. Religious Freedom and Freedom of Speech. Warm Up Activity. Examine the image as it appears on the screen. Do not shout out information! Write the name of the image and the religion associated with the image. Yin & Yang Daoism. Christmas Tree Christianity.

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the first amendment

The First Amendment

Religious Freedom and Freedom of Speech

warm up activity
Warm Up Activity
  • Examine the image as it appears on the screen. Do not shout out information!
  • Write the name of the image and the religion associated with the image.

Christmas Tree












Nativity Scene






10 Commandments

Judaism & Christianity

whole class discussion
Whole Class Discussion
  • How did you feel viewing these symbols?
  • Did any of them offend you? Why or why not?
  • When and where might you expect to see these symbols?
  • Where might a “strange” place be to see these symbols?
  • If you saw these symbols placed together at Maple Park, would that upset you? Why or why not?
  • Would that violate “separation of church & state?”
religious clauses of amendment 1
Religious Clauses of Amendment 1
  • “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or
    • The Establishment Clause
  • prohibiting the free exercise thereof.”
    • The Free Exercise Clause
  • What is the difference?
  • From where do we get the phrase “separation of church & state?”
religious separation
Religious Separation
  • Who interprets the law?
  • How does the SCOTUS decide if a violation exists?
  • Discuss the Lemon test.
lynch v donnelly
Lynch v. Donnelly
  • Watch the video.
  • Complete the assignment for p. 13 of notebook.
  • Arguments for Lynch (Pawtucket)?
  • Arguments for Donnelly (ACLU)?
  • Your decision?
lynch v donnelly decision
Lynch v. Donnelly Decision

In a 5-to-4 decision, the Court held that notwithstanding the religious significance of the crèche, the city had not violated the Establishment Clause. The Court found that the display, viewed in the context of the holiday season, was not a purposeful or surreptitious effort to advocate a particular religious message. The Court found that the display merely depicted the historical origins of the Holiday and had "legitimate secular purposes." The Court held that the symbols posed no danger of establishing a state church and that it was "far too late in the day to impose a crabbed reading of the [Establishment] Clause on the country."

Source: The Oyez Project, Lynch v. Donnelly, 465 U.S. 668 (1984) available at: ( (last visited Wednesday, July 29, 2009).

how are religious freedom freedom of speech related
How are Religious Freedom & Freedom of Speech related?
  • Both viewed as “human rights.”
  • Symbols can express both freedoms.
  • Both freedoms can be very divisive.
  • Both freedoms are open to interpretation.
  • Both have limits.
human continuum
Human Continuum
  • If the picture arouses a very negative emotion, stand at the -5.
  • Stand in between -5 and 0 for lesser degrees of negative feelings.
  • If the symbol arouses no emotion, stand at the 0.
  • If the picture arouses a very positive emotion, stand at the +5.
  • Stand in between 0 and +5 for lesser degrees of positive feelings.
discussion questions
Discussion Questions
  • In what ways do these symbols have multiple meanings?
  • Why did some pictures arouse positive feelings but other symbols arouse negative feelings?
  • What is the difference between the positive symbols and the negative symbols?
  • How much does history affect how we view some of these symbols?
  • Should citizens be allowed to display these symbols, even though some may be offensive?
first amendment
First Amendment
  • “Congress shall make no law establishing a religion, nor interfering with the free exercise, thereof, nor abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or of the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”
first amendment1
First Amendment
  • What do you make of the 1st Amendment? If you’ve never read the exact text before, does it differ from your previous conception of what the amendment was about?
  • Is there some speech that you can think of that would not be permitted, despite the 1st Amendment?
  • Should symbols be considered speech? Why or why not?
  • Should the offensive symbols discussed earlier be considered speech, and ought they be protected by the First Amendment? Why or why not?
  • What is your reaction specifically to the burning cross? What do you understand its meaning to be?
  • Can you think of any other comparable symbols, or do you think it stands alone? Why or why not?
  • Read 4.2. Complete the BOR organizer for p. 14. You need to read text, but can use Chrome Books to help with interpretation of questions. Due tomorrow.