Religion in Schools

Should the courts allow more spiritual expression?


In the past half-century, the U.S. Supreme Court has consistently ruled against religious observance in public schools, citing the First Amendment wall between church and state. But civil liberties groups point with concern to renewed efforts by conservative Christian groups and others to foster religion in schools by distributing Bibles, posting the Ten Commandments and allowing student-led prayers. While conservatives say the barriers to spiritual expression in public schools are too rigid, liberals warn that conservatives are “sneaking” religion into the schools. President-elect George W. Bush says he supports student-led prayer as well as controversial taxpayer-funded school vouchers for religious and other private schools. But his greatest impact on religion in schools ultimately may come from his appointments of new Supreme Court justices.

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