Milestones and Landmark Cases
The United States Congress agrees to the precise language of the religion clauses of the First Amendment.
The First Amendment to the United States Constitution is ratified, guaranteeing that "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech."
The term Blaine Amendment refers to either a failed federal constitutional amendment or actual constitutional provisions that exist in 38 of the 50 state constitutions in the United States both of which forbid direct government aid to educational institutions that have any religious affiliation. All were aimed to stop aid to parochial schools, especially those operated by the Catholic Church in immigration centers.
Required participation in the flag salute is unconstitutional.
Released time for religious instruction off school premises is constitutional.
A school sponsored nondenominational voluntary prayer violates the establishment clause.
School sponsored Bible reading is not permissible.
A law or policy must:
• have a secular purpose
• have an effect of neither advancing nor inhibiting religion
• must not foster excessive entanglement of government with religion
Religious groups can have equal access to school facilities on the same basis as non religious groups provided there is a limited open forum policy.
Schools cannot use a moment of silence to promote school prayer. A “neutral” moment of silence is okay.
Students may not lead a school-authorized public prayer.