The Establishment Clause — How Separate Are Church and State?
The original thirteen states that formed the United States included individuals from a variety of religious traditions. To ensure that the national government respected freedom of belief, freedom of conscience, and freedom of religious practice, the First Amendment prohibited the federal government from either establishing a national church or interfering with existing state religions. Since then the Supreme Court has created various "tests" to determine if government practices violate the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment. This lesson explores the history and principles behind this clause.
The Establishment Clause | BRI’s Homework Help Series
What is the proper relationship between church and state? In this Homework Help video, we analyze this question by reviewing the history behind the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment as well as how the Supreme Court has interpreted its meaning.
Engel v. Vitale | BRI’s Homework Help Series
Is school-sponsored prayer in public schools a violation of the establishment clause of the First Amendment? In 1951, some New York schools began starting the day with a non-denominational prayer. This Homework Help video tells the story of the ensuing landmark Supreme Court case of Engel v. Vitale.
Engel v. Vitale (1962)
The saying goes “as long as there are tests, there will be prayer in schools.” And individual students can indeed pray for straight A’s or for other reasons. But the Supreme Court decision in Engel v. Vitale (1962) held that official recitation of prayers in public schools violated the First Amendment’s Establishment Clause. The ruling is hailed by some as a victory for religious freedom, while criticized by others as striking a blow to the nation’s religious traditions.
Engel v. Vitale Decision Excerpts | A Primary Source Close Read w/ BRI
What is the proper relationship between church and state in the U.S.? Americans have debated this question throughout our history, and the Supreme Court has issued a variety of rulings on the subject throughout the years. In this Primary Source Close Read, Josh and Tony take a look at excerpts from the case of Engel v. Vitale and examine the Supreme Court's ruling in this landmark decision concerning school prayer.
Religious Liberty: Landmark Supreme Court Cases
The Court examined whether the federal anti-bigamy statute violated the First Amendment’s Free Exercise Clause, because plural marriage is part of religious practice. It unanimously upheld the federal law banning polygamy, noting that the Free Exercise Clause forbids government from regulating belief, but does allow government to punish activity judged to be criminal, regardless of an activity’s basis in religious belief. (Citation:98 US 145) BRI e-Lesson Available
The Constitution, the First Amendment, and Religious Liberty
In this lesson, students will learn how leading Founders and religious dissenters contributed to religious liberty in America. Students will analyze primary source documents concerning the relationship between church and state, assess arguments for and against an established religion and a public role for religion in civic life and gain an appreciation for the philosophical and political process of the American experiment in religious liberty.
Two Views of Religious Liberty: Massachusetts Bay and Rhode Island
In this lesson, students will gain an understanding of the roles John Winthrop and Roger Williams played in American history. They will also compare and contrast competing models of religious liberty in the Massachusetts Bay and Rhode Island colonies and assess the significance of each model to the American experiment in religious liberty.
Religious Liberty and the Supreme Court
In this lesson, students will gain an understanding of how the doctrine of incorporation broadened the application of the First Amendment. They will also gain an understanding of the facts of landmark Establishment Clause Supreme Court cases, evaluate arguments about the scope of the Establishment Clause, and assess the Supreme Court's interpretations of the First Amendment with respect to religion in public schools.