The Controversial Issue Of Religion In Schools

1810 words - 8 pages

The Controversial Issue of Religion in Schools

Religion in Schools has proven to be a very controversial matter as of lately. Even though teaching about religion is allowed in public schools, there are still many questions that are being asked in order to provide a basis of what is appropriate for school, and what is inappropriate. The first amendment to the United States Constitution says that 'congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof' which implies that you have the choice of exercising your own religion, no matter what it may be. However, this poses an interesting argument within the public schools of America ...view middle of the document...

(Borja, 2002, paragraph 17.) To many people, the pledge is a constant affirmation of unity and love, and to many it is seen as just a giant cult-like prayer.

The argument of the words ?under god? remaining in the pledge is an ongoing fight?one with many court cases, all of which have ruled the same. The ruling is that under god is still appropriate and need not be removed from the pledge. The argument is clear, saying that there are many people who are not ?under God? and do not believe in ?Him.? Some people believe this statement shows that our nation?s religious beliefs are all the same, when in fact they are not. In a recent case in California, a few chief justices spoke on their opinion about the pledge. Justice Rehnquist says ?Reciting the pledge, or listening to others recite it, is a patriotic exercise, not a religious one? Participants promise fidelity to our flag and our nation, not to any particular God, Faith or Church.? (Hendrie, 2004, paragraph 25). Judge O?Connor says that ?nearly any government action could be overturned as a violation of the establishment clause if a ?heckler?s veto? sufficed to show that its message was one of endorsement.? (Hendrie, 2004, paragraph 27).

To many people?s surprise, it is not necessary for children to recite the pledge of allegiance at school. According to the 1943 ruling of West Virginia State Board of Education v. Barnette, they have the choice to say the pledge if they so please and they also have the choice to remain seated and observe. (Hendrie, 2004, paragraph 29). As of right now, it is suggested to remain quiet during the pledge if you do not agree with it.

Due to court cases taking place over the last 50 years, many things which were acceptable to do in school are no longer viewed as appropriate. For example, in 1963, Bible study in school was outlawed after the case of Abington v. Schempp.(Edweek.org, research center, paragraph 4). In 1984, the Equal Access Act said that students are allowed to introduce a new extracurricular club having to do with religion.(Edweek.org, research center, paragraph 7). In previous years it was thought as unlawful because it mixed religion with school, but officials then came to the realization that if it?s after school, and not forced upon anyone, then it should be allowed. In 2001, a heated battle arose between a prominent after-school religious club called the Good News Club and a local school. They were told that they were not allowed to hold meetings inside of a public school because of their religious affiliation. They took their case to court because if they had nothing to do with the school, then why were other clubs who had nothing to do with the school allowed to meet there as well? In the ruling of Good News Club v. Milford Central School it was decided that religious groups are allowed to hold meetings inside of a school after school hours as long as the school that they?re using allows other non-religious groups...

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