There are three landmark cases that changed the
meaning of the First Amendment as it was previously
and practiced in America. In these three cases a parent of a child in
school petitioned the courts to stop the school from exposing their
child to prayer in
school and reading the Bible in school. ACLU Lawyers used Thomas
letter in the argument for the plaintiffs. They argued that the
fathers wanted a "wall
church and State"; therefore, the
government should be
neutral to religion in schools, and as a result the Warren
ruled that their would be no prayer in school or Bible reading. The
"majority ruling" reasoned that being neutral or not favoring one
over another was the same as not allowing religious practices in
Justice Potter Stewart,
the one dissenting vote
blasted the ruling saying, "It
led not to
true neutrality with respect to religion, but to
of a religion of secularism."
1. the social or political process of rejecting all forms of religious
faith. 2. the elimination of any religious elements with-in
public education and other civic institutions.
True neutrality would
not favor one religion over
another, but the court's ruling favored atheism over all the religions
of the world that believe in God. Atheism has been declared a religion
by the U.S. Supreme Court, so the Court did not act neutrality, but
instead favoried a godless religion over all others. A recent
poll indicated 85%
of Americans believe in the existence of God, yet the court ruled with
the minority, atheist.
If the Court had really been true to its
intention of neutrality ; it would have been
impartial to the
students, by neither forcing non believers to pray, nor prohibiting
believers from prayer. The court's actions were not neutral
After the June
1963 ruling the Wall Street Journal commented that
now "the one belief to which the state's power will extend
the Supreme Court Cases that Altered Freedom of Religion in the Public
rejoicing after Engel v,
"The Regents School Prayer" - 1962
York school system had adopted a prayer to be said
the start of each day's classes. This prayer was to help promote good
moral character of the students, spiritual training and help combat
juvenile delinquency. The regents wrote a prayer for the schools which
had to be non-sectarian or denominational. It was so bland that it
became known to some religious leaders as the "to whom it may concern
prayer." Here is the Regents prayer.
dependence upon thee, and we beg Thy blessings upon us, our parents,
our teachers and our Country.
Hugo Black wrote the following
for the majority, "It is
no part of the business of government to compose official prayers. . .
the Regent's prayer are inconsistent both with the purposes of the
Establishment Clause and the Establishment Clause itself."
With standard jurisprudence the
Court cites previous cases in making its rulings; however,
previous case was cited in this ruling. Why was no other case
cited? Because, there
were none which would
support its decision. For 170 years following
the Constitution and Bill of Rights, no Court had ever
struck down any
prayer, in any form, in any location. While the Court invoked
judicial precedent to sustain its decision, it did employ some
strategic psychological rhetoric. Recall the Court’s comment
. . these principles were
so universally recognized . .
principles were not recognized by most
this decision caused an uproar, and Congressional hearings!
though the Founding fathers plainly stated that religion and morality
were to be part of our society and government, the Court was not
particularly interested in the Founders’ views on this
fact, it openly acknowledged its contempt for America’s
it remarked: [T]hat
[New York] prayer seems
relatively insignificant when compared to the governmental
encroachments upon religion which were commonplace 200 years ago.
Warren Court decided to ignore the
Founding Fathers intent and the Constitution and substitute the
"Separation of Church and State" for the First Amendment.
Senator Sam Ervin
of North Carolina said, "I should like to ask whether we would be far
wrong in saying that in
this decision the Supreme Court has held that God is unconstitutional
and for that reason the public school must be segregated against Him?"
Bennett, dean of Union Theological Seminary wrote the
the Court in the name of religious liberty tries to keep a lid on
religious expression and teaching both in the public schools and also
in connection with experiments that involve cooperation with public
schools, it will drive all religious communities to the establishment
of parochial schools, much against the will of many, and to the great
detriment of public schools and probably of the quality of education."
At the time there were just a
Protestant Schools in the country, today they number in the thousands.
Murray v. Curlett
"School Prayer" - 1963
Murray O'Hair, a
militant left wing atheist with close
ties to the American
Communist Party, took the school board of
Baltimore to court for allowing prayer in school. The local court judge
J. Gilbert Pendergast dismissed the petition stating, "It is abundantly
clear that petitioners' real objective is to drive every concept of
religion out of the public school system." The case went to the
Maryland Court of Appeals, and the court ruled, "neither
the First nor
the Fourteenth Amendment was intended to stifle all rapport between
religion and government."
The case was then heard by the U.S.
Supreme Court. Leonard
addressed the court saying prayer in the public schools had been
tolerated for so long that it had become traditional and that anything
that is unconstitutional does not become constitutional through
tradition. He went on to say the Constitution
had erected a "wall of
separation" between church and state", at which point Justice
Steward interrupted, asking where this wording appears. Kerpelman was
stumped and an embarrassing silence followed. When he
composure, he stated that the text was not explicit on the point but
that it had been interpreted
to mean so.
Incredibly, the National Council of Churches
and several Jewish
organizations actually favored Madalyn O'Hair case! Not a single
Christian organization filed a brief in support of school prayer, so
the case went virtually uncontested before the Court. The Supreme Court
ruled 8 to 1 in favor of abolishing school prayer and Bible reading in
the public schools. Justice Tom Clark wrote, "religious freedom, it has
long been recognized that government must be neutral and, while
protecting all, must prefer none and disparage none." Atheism has been recognized by the federal
as a religion, and this Supreme Court ruling preferred Secular Atheism,
and therefore failed to be neutral as Justice Tom Clark suggested.
note on this
This case was centered around Madalyn
O'Hair's son, William Murray. Madalyn O'Hair was murdered in
the 1990's, and her son William Murray became a Christian and is now a
pastor. He now is an advocate for school prayer, and has
written an excellent book on the subject, titled: Let Us Pray, A Plea for Prayer in
In this book you will find a detailed
account of this case.
Read and except from his book
on How the Communist removed School
front of the Supreme Court
District v. Schempp
"Bible reading in school" - 1963
Pennsylvania school system complied with a state law
that ten verses of scripture be read every day. The readings were
without interpretation, comment or questions asked, and any student
could request to be excused. It was voluntary without
coercion, and the
Schempp girl never asked to be excused and even volunteered to read the
Bible on occasions. (This point was not brought
up when the
was before the Supreme Court.) Yet the parents
case to court on grounds that it was coercion. This
case came to the Supreme Court at the same time as the Murray v.
Curlett case, and the court ruled on them together. After these last 2
cases were decided, the courts ruling stated that Prayer
and / or Bible reading was a violation of the establishment clause of
the first amendment.
In so ruling
the court established a secular
religion for our school system, thus
violating the "establishment clause" itself, which
the Court was so carefully trying to protect.
thus the First Amendment has been
completely revised with regard to religious freedom, putting the
restrictions on the people and not the government. The First Amendment
was written to protect the people from government interference of
religious practice, but the Court violated it and turned the First
Amendment on its head.
Posting of the
Ten Commandments in classrooms was deemed unconstitutional by the U.S.
Supreme Court in 1980.
Stone v. Graham - 1980
The state of Kentucky had a statute which required every
classroom to display the Ten Commandments. The copies of the Ten Commandments
were purchased by private funding without tax payer money. The Supreme
Court ruled that
displaying the Ten Commandments violated the First Amendment of the
Constitution. The Court cited the Lemon v. Kurtzman case which is known
as the "Lemon test." The posting of the Ten Commandments seemed to
serve no 'Secular Legislative' purpose, and therefore is
Majority: "This is
not a case in which the Ten
Commandments are integrated into the school curriculum,
where the Bible may constitutionally be used in an appropriate study of
history, civilization, ethics, comparative religion, or the like. [See
Abington School District v. Schempp.] Posting of religious texts on the
wall serves no such educational function. If the posted copies of
Ten Commandments are to have any effect at all, it will be to induce
the schoolchildren to read, meditate upon, perhaps to venerate and
obey, the Commandments. However desirable this might be as
a matter of
private devotion, it is not a permissible state objective under the
Establishment Clause of the Constitution."
It is very
interesting that the Ten Commandments are the cornerstone of American
Law. In the Ten Commandments it instructs us not to lie, cheat, steal,
or kill. The Ten Commandments are posted in the Supreme Court itself,
and on the front freeze of the Supreme Court is depicted Moses holding
the Laws which form the basic framework of American society.
So when the Court forbids children from learning that it is
wrong to lie, cheat, steal or kill, the Court is in effect promoting a
lawless society totally ignorant of right and wrong. It is either
foolhardy or just plain evil to do so.