Freedom of Religion

Why freedom of religion is becoming freedom from religion

Freedom of Religion and Freedom From Religion: What's the Difference?

Freedom of religion is when you can choose to believe in whatever religion you want, if you want to. It gives you the choice to believe in religion or not. Freedom from religion is when people attempt to ban religion in public places, such as schools, work places, etc.

Freedom of Religion in the First Amendment

There are 2 parts to the freedom of religion section in the first amendment. The first is the establishment clause, which the Supreme Court uses more often than it should in cases of religious freedom, and the free-exercise clause. The establishment clause states that the government cannot create any laws that would establish religion in the United States of America, but it also cannot create any laws that would prohibit religion in the United States. The free-exercise clause states that you are free to believe in any religion you want in the United States if you want to.

Major Supreme Court Cases

  • Engel v. Vitale, 1962: The Supreme Court ruled that saying a short, nondenominational prayer at the beginning of the school day was against the establishment clause.
  • Lemon v. Kurtzman, 1971: Laws in Pennsylvania and Rhode Island were giving financial aid to non-public schools. The Supreme Court ruled the laws unconstitutional because the non-public schools were considered "church related institutions."
  • Lee v. Weisman, 1992: The Supreme Court ruled that saying prayers at a graduation ceremony in Rhode Island was in violation of the establishment clause because it "forced religion on students."

Our Father in Heaven- Tom Bennett

In a Santa Fe school, students were given the option if they wanted prayer in their school. There was an overwhelming support for prayer in the school, and the kids even elected one of their classmates to lead it. The Supreme Court got involved and said that the school was violating the establishment clause because there was prayer being recited in the school and they thought that the school was forcing religion on the students. However, the prayer was not mandatory to be recited.

Officials Sponsor Event to Promote School Prayer

Education officials in California created a special event for kids to attend to have a prayer said to bless them in the coming school year. About 100 students showed up for the event. In a school in Kentucky, a memo was sent out that teachers could not teach religion, but students were allowed to pray on their own individually and voluntary if they would choose to do so.