Religion in Schools

January 12, 2001 • Volume 11, Issue 1
Should the courts allow more spiritual expression?
By Patrick Marshall

Introduction

Football players at Odessa High School in Texas hold an unsanctioned prayer session last September. A June 19 Supreme Court decision banned school-sanctioned pre-game prayers. (Photo Credit: Newsmakers Photos/Joe Raedle)
Football players at Odessa High School in Texas hold an unsanctioned prayer session last September. A June 19 Supreme Court decision banned school-sanctioned pre-game prayers. (Photo Credit: Newsmakers Photos/Joe Raedle)

In the past half-century, the U.S. Supreme Court has consistently ruled against religious observance in public schools, citing the First Amendment wall between church and state. But civil liberties groups point with concern to renewed efforts by conservative Christian groups and others to foster religion in schools by distributing Bibles, posting the Ten Commandments and allowing student-led prayers. While conservatives say the barriers to spiritual expression in public schools are too rigid, liberals warn that conservatives are “sneaking” religion into the schools. President-elect George W. Bush says he supports student-led prayer as well as controversial taxpayer-funded school vouchers for religious and other private schools. But his greatest impact on religion in schools ultimately may come from his appointments of new Supreme Court justices.

ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
Religion and Schools
Dec. 20, 2002  Charter Schools
Feb. 15, 2002  School Vouchers Showdown
May 04, 2001  Faith-Based Initiatives
Jan. 12, 2001  Religion in Schools
Apr. 09, 1999  School Vouchers
Jul. 18, 1997  School Choice Debate
Feb. 18, 1994  Religion in Schools
May 10, 1991  School Choice
Aug. 16, 1983  School Prayer
Apr. 20, 1979  Private School Resurgence
Sep. 02, 1967  Private Schooling
Sep. 12, 1947  Religion in the Schools
BROWSE RELATED TOPICS:
Elementary and Secondary Education
Religion and Education
Religious Freedom