Religion in Education

  • Compulsory School Law enacted in the Massachusetts Colony

    Also known as the "Old Deluder Satan Law", this law was passed to assure that children could read their Bible in school.
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    Historical events of Religion in schools

  • United States Constitution Ratified

    This significant document, the basis of the American legal system and way of life, became law.
  • Signer of Declaration of Independence supports using Bible as school textbook

    A letter written by Dr. Benjamin Rush, signer of the Declaration of Independence, is published in support of using the Bible as a school textbook. As a sidebar, he was quoted as saying in 1782, "The Revolutionary War may be over, but the battle of independence has just begun."
  • Girard v. Videl

    In this case, a school in Philadelphia wanted to try and teach morality without religious principals. The Supreme Court Stated: “Why not the Bible, and especially the New Testament be read and taught as a divine revelation in the schools? Where can the purest principals of morality be learned so clearly or so perfectly as from the New Testament?”
  • Holy Trinity Church vs. U.S. (The Trinity Case)

    In this case, the Supreme Court rules that America " a religious people....this is a Christian nation" as such fitting that its people would teach their children the Christian faith.
  • American Teachers Union supports teaching of morals from the Bible

    The American Teachers Union announces that schools should continue the practice of teaching morals from the Bible. This declaration is significant at that time because schools were being turned over to the various states from the Christian Churches.
  • Florida legislature requires daily Bible reading in schools

    Florida state legislators passed a law requiring daily Bible reading in all public schools.
  • W.V. State Board of Education vs. Barnette

    In this decision, the Supreme Court ruled that the First Amendment protected students from being forced to salute or pledge a symbol. This was a victory for Jehovah's Witnesses who had an issue with being forced to salute the American flag which goes against their beliefs.
  • McCollum vs. Board of Education

    In this decision, the Supreme Court ruled that time set aside for prayer in public schools is unconstitutional.
  • "One Nation Under God" added to the Pledge of Allegiance

    President Eisenhower signs a bill into law, appropriately enough, on Flag Day adding this phrase to the Pledge of Allegiance.
  • Engel v. Vitale

    In this decision, the Supreme Court ruled that children may not recite a state written prayer in school. The prayer, commonly referred to as "The Regents Prayer", was a non-denominational prayer meant to defuse a politcally potent issue by taking it out of the hands of local government.
  • Supreme Court bans individual school prayer and Bible reading in public schools

    In a combined decision, the Supreme Court ruled against individual school prayer (Murry v. Curlett) and Bible reading in public schools (Abington Township School Districk v. Schempp).
  • Stone v. Graham

    The Supreme Court of the U.S. ruled against a Kentucky statute requiring the posting of The Ten Commandments in classrooms even if purchased with private funds.
  • US Department of Education publishes pamphlet about religion in schools

    At the request of President Bill Clinton, the US Dept. of Education sends an easy to read pamphlet to every to every superintendent in the country. This pamphlet explains what practices courts have found acceptable, due to widespread confusion over religious practices in public schools.
  • Newdow vs Rio Linda Union School District

    In this case, Atheist Michael Newdow, filed suit against the school district claiming the phrase "one nation under God" was a violation of the Constitution. The U.S. Court of Appeals (9th District) upheld the phrase, finding that the words are part of a "ceremonial and patriotic nature". In 2002, Newdow sued another school district on the same grounds. In that case, the appellate court sided with him, before being overturned by the Supreme Court.