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Separation of Church and State

The Supreme Court Seperation of the Church and State

The First Amendment

The First Amendment to the United States Constitution is a segment of the Bill of Rights. This is the part of the Amendment that renders a person or body paralyzed from exercising a religious belief that interferes with freedom of speech. This is also important for freedom of press, a gathering or assembly that is peaceful or for the prohibition petitioning for a governmental interpretation of hardships. Are fights over the First Amendment Defense Act about the First Amendment, or what? (n.d.). People have the right to practice their religion of choice and that needs to be respected, not shunned or made fun of.

School Prayer in PA

The Supreme Court has ruled on prayer cases for over a decade, starting with Reynolds vs. The United States. Another such case was the Abington School District vs. Schempp, the focus of the case was Bible reading in Pennsylvania public schools. This case was argued on February 27 and 28th in 1963. At one time in the Pennsylvania school system student were to read ten bible verses at the beginning of each day. This was a normal occurrence to a pretty routine school day. To be excused from such prayer required a note from your parent. {{meta.fullTitle}}.(n.d.). The case of Schempp was based on a 1949 law in Pa that stated students were to start their school day off with reciting the ten bible verses. Students were also required to read the Lord’s Prayer; that is until a similar case in Baltimore was challenged by atheists Madalyn and her son 14 year old William Murray. (n.d.). The case called into question if the obligatory Morning Prayer; violated the freedom of students concerning religion that is protected by the First and Fourteenth Amendments. The Supreme Court ruled that this is a violation and this kind of requirement infringed on the Free Exercise Clause and the Establishment Clause, both are part of the First Amendment. School District of Abington Township, Pennsylvania v. Schempp. (n.d.).

Educators Reactions

When a 16 year old Ellery Schempp decided that he would no longer take part in the reading or listening of the ten bible verse or standing when the Lord’s Prayer was spoken over the loud speaker; his teacher asked him about his conduct. Ellery Schempp decided that these religious activities were violating his First Amendment Rights. A young Mr. Schempp was sent to the principal where he was asked “Was I having problems at home or respect for authority?' the principal asked. ‘No,' I reassured him, 'I just disagreed with Bible readings in school.” School staff was astounded by Schempp lack of respect for the Bible readings.

When Schempp graduated and was on his way to college at Tufts University. The principal from the middle school were Schempp made this protest, wrote a letter to Tufts University to show, he was not recommending Schempp as a student. This shows how school staff felt about a student protesting biblical verses in school. Wertheimer, L. (2013, June 17).


As an educator I understand the importance of First Amendment rights. I also am a believer that prayer in school helps and do not hinder students. People are quick to call on the Lord in some shape or way when they are in trouble but do not want prayer in school. Over the last couple of years there has been a large amount of violence, disrespect and disregard for authority in schools. I think prayer should make a comeback at school and that parents should send in a letter if they wish for their child not to be involved. Prayer can be for a few minutes daily, with students practicing their religious beliefs regardless of whatever God they serve. Because of such practices my husband and I chose to send our child to a Christian Private school. I do not blame other families for their decisions but our family made the best decision for ourselves and our life style.


Third Picture: Abington Township vs. Schempp (1963). (n.d.). Retrieved October 13, 2015.

Second Picture: Are fights over the First Amendment Defense Act about the First Amendment, or what? (n.d.). Retrieved October 11, 2015.

{{meta.fullTitle}}. (n.d.). Retrieved October 13, 2015.

(n.d.). Retrieved October 13, 2015.

School District of Abington Township, Pennsylvania v. Schempp. (n.d.). Oyez. Retrieved October 12, 2015, from

Wertheimer, L. (2013, June 17). 50 Years After Abington v. Schempp, a Dissenter Looks Back on School Prayer. Retrieved October 13, 2015.

First Picture: Why do Christians who believe in separation of church and state have political opinions? (2014, December 14). Retrieved October 13, 2015.