In 1962, in the case Engel v. Vitale the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that it was unconstitutional and a violation of the “separation of church and state” for the students of New York schools to recite the long standing prayer: “Almighty God, we acknowledge our dependence upon Thee, and we beg Thy blessings upon us, our parents, our teachers and our Country. (Footnote #1)
No student was forced or coerced to say this prayer against their will. Even the U.S. Supreme Court acknowledged that fact stating: the schools did not compel any pupil to join in the prayer over his or her parents’ objection. (Footnote #2)
The U.S. Supreme Court said it did not matter if the prayer was neutral in that it did not favor any particular denomination or religion. The Court simply did not want prayer in the public schools of America. Numerous court decisions have struck down all sorts of prayers, including voluntary, student initiated prayers at graduations, using the Engel decision as the justification.
Score a big one for the humanists.
Now that prayer has been “officially” removed from the public schools of America, the Bible was next on the hit list in the liberal’s war on God.
No Bible Reading!
Whether you believe that the Bible is the inspired Word of God or not, who cannot agree that it is the greatest work of all time and has influenced our western culture more than any book ever written.
The liberals who claim to be the promoters and crusaders of tolerance and anti-censorship, had no tolerance for the Bible, and wanted it censored from the schools of America by order of the nation’s high court.
Just like the voluntary, non-coercive prayer of New York, the liberals were threatened by students voluntarily reading the Bible. The 1963 U.S. Supreme Court case, School District of Abington Township v. Schempp, involved the Pennsylvania policy, which read:
"Each school…shall be opened by the reading, without comment, of a chapter in the Holy Bible…Participation in the opening exercises…is voluntary. The student reading the verses from the Bible may select the passages and read from any version he chooses." (Footnote #3)
Edward Schempp sued the school district of Pennsylvania to save his children from a voluntary reading of the Bible.
A fact ignored by the U.S. Supreme Court was that Mr. Schempp’s daughter Donna volunteered to read the Bible before her fellow students. When one of Mr. Schempp’s children requested to read the Koran before classmates, instead of the Bible, Mr. Schempp’s child was permitted to do so.
Roger and Donna [two of the Schempp children] testified that they had never protested to their teachers or other persons of authority in the school system concerning the practices of which they now complain [in this lawsuit]. In fact, on occasion, Donna herself had volunteered to read the Bible. (Footnote #4)
America’s public school students should have the right of freedom of speech and religion through voluntary, student initiated prayer and Bible reading.
No Ten Commandments!
The liberal’s ongoing war on God in America turned its focus on removing the Ten Commandments from the walls of America’s schools. The Ten Commandments hung in thousands of schoolrooms throughout America. However, it was a Kentucky case that reached the U.S. Supreme Court in 1980, Stone v. Graham.
In Kentucky, the Ten Commandments were posted in each classroom at the direction of the state legislature. While everyone knows the Ten Commandments come from the Bible, the legislature of Kentucky desired to highlight the culture and legal importance of the Ten Commandments. At the bottom of each Ten Commandments poster were these words:
“The secular application of the Ten Commandments is clearly seen in its adoption as the fundamental legal code of Western Civilization and the Common Law of the United States of America,” (Footnote #5)
The decision by the U.S. Supreme Court made it illegal to post the Ten Commandments in any classroom throughout America. In rendering their decision the Court stated:
"The preeminent purpose for posting the Ten Commandments on schoolroom walls is plainly religious in nature. The Ten Commandments are undeniably a sacred text in the Jewish and Christian faiths, and not legislative recitation of a supposed secular purpose can blind us to that fact." (Footnote #6)
Indeed the Ten Commandments are a religious document as they are derived from the Bible. However, as the legislature of Kentucky and countless scholars know, The Ten Commandments is the foundation of the secular, common law and civil code and, thus, could and should be hung on the walls of every classroom as an historical document and as the standard for which students should regulate their behavior.
Yet, the U.S. Supreme Court did not want students to be forced to regulate their behavior according to the Ten Commandments stating:
"If the posted copies of the Ten Commandments are to have any effect at all, it will be to induce the schoolchildren to read, meditate upon, perhaps to venerate and obey, the Commandments." (Footnote #7)
Ideas have consequences, and today we should not be surprised that students murder their teachers and peers, teenagers kill their parents and siblings, teachers have sex with their students and teachers help their students cheat on tests. I cannot help but believe the increase in such behavior would not be occurring if it were not for removing the moral restraints from the hearts, minds, and conscience of America’s students. Of course, what the U.S. Supreme Court did not mention in their decision was that the Ten Commandments are displayed in two different locations within the Supreme Court.
Galveston, Texas or Red China?
Of course, what the U.S. Supreme Court did not mention in their decision was that the Ten Commandments are displayed in two different locations within the Supreme Court. What would you think if I told you a judge in Galveston, Texas ruled that any student mentioning the name of Jesus in a graduation prayer would be sentenced to a six-month jail term? You would say, “That’s unconstitutional!”
That is exactly what parents and community leaders said when Judge Samuel B. Kent of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas ruled concerning the Santa Fe Independent School District. These are the judge’s own words taken directly from court papers on May 5, 1995:
[Quote] The court will allow that prayer to be a typical nondenominational prayer, which can refer to God or the Almighty or that sort of thing. The prayer may not refer to a specific deity by name, whether it be Jesus, Buddha, Mohammed, the great god Sheba, or anyone else.
And make no mistake, the court is going to have a United States marshal in attendance at the graduation. If any student offends this court, that student will be summarily arrested and will face up to six months incarceration in the Galveston County Jail for contempt of Court. Anyone who thinks I’m kidding about this order . . . [or] expressing any weakness or lack of resolve in that spirit of compromise would better think again. Anyone who violates these orders, no kidding, is going to wish that he or she had died as a child when this Court gets through with it.
This Court is further going to order that school administration, personnel or the like, will not sanction nor . . have any role in announcing it, promulgating it, in planning it, in participating in it. Teachers, administrators and the like can certainly attend as passive spectators, but they will sit in the spectators’ gallery and cannot sit in any designated place of honor or in the first row or on any table specifically designated. [End Quote]
I wonder if the judge would have been so outraged if a student had gone to the podium and used the name of Jesus as a swear word? The judge, obviously suffering from delusions of grandeur, did not stop with oppressing students’ rights to free speech. He went on to limit the rights of school teachers and administrators to attend, organize, or promote a private baccalaureate service:
"Now the Court is going to further order that a baccalaureate service on or about May 21, 1995 . . . not occur during school hours or as part of normal school functions. Since it’s on a Sunday, that’s frankly academic."
This judge apparently believes that employees of the public schools are wards of the state who must completely separate themselves from all religious expression Five days after this ruling, Judge Kent — seeking to save face in the light of great public outrage and fearing that a higher court would overturn his Gestapo tactics — ruled that graduates could use the name of Jesus but not in a proselytizing manner.
What if no one had objected to Judge Kent’s blatant unconstitutional order? Fortunately, there are still students, teachers, and community leaders who have the courage to stand up against high-minded government officials who seek to rob us our constitutional rights. America needs more citizens who will demand the removal of judges who seek to limit or destroy our religious freedoms.
Judge Kent due to public outrage backed off. But a few years later, a similar case went all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court. While Court’s rulings concerning Prayer, Bible reading and the posting of the Ten Commandments in the nation’s schools involved policy initiated by the state, surely the U.S. Supreme Court would allow students to pray, read the Bible, or invocate the name of God or Jesus Christ, if it was the idea of the student? Guess again.
In the year 2000, The U.S. Supreme Court ruling in the case, Santa Fe Independent School District v. Doe, ruled that a student could not pray over the loud system before the start of the game. Despite the fact that in Santa Fe, Texas, the students voted as a student body to pray before each game and voted on each student that was to pray, the U.S. Supreme Court said such behavior was unconstitutional and the establishment of a religion.
The First Amendment states that “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion.”
The students praying at a football game is not Congress. A student invoking the name of Jesus Christ or God in a graduation speech is not Congress. Students should not lose their Constitutional right to freedom of speech and religion when they walk through the public school doors. Yet, under junk constitutional law, a student exercising their freedom of speech and freedom of religion is now the establishment of a religion. In another chapter of this book I will explain how this has occurred.
“The decision distorts the First Amendment by exhibiting hostility towards student speech” said Jay Sekulow, Chief Counsel of the American Center for Law and Justice, who presented oral arguments in the case before the Court.
“This decision will interject additional confusion into the area of protected religious expression in the schools. The opinion blurs the distinction between government speech and private speech. It is the free speech of the students that has been censored.” (Footnote #8)
1. Engel v. Vitale, 370 U.S. 421, 422 (1962).
2. Engel at 423.
3. Abington at 211, n. 4, 207.
4. Schempp v. School District of Abington 177 Fed. Supp. 398, 400.
5. Stone v. Graham, 449 U.S. 39 (1980).
6. Stone at 41
7. Stone at 42
8. American Center For Law and Justice press release posted at aclj.org