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.
A Primary Source Close Reads Video Playlist
Primary Source Close Reading with BRI investigates some of the most pivotal speeches and documents that made America. In this series, join BRI staff Kirk Higgins and guests as they dissect how seminal documents, court cases, and speeches forged America’s development and impact our lives today.
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.
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.
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.