Resistance to Abington v. Schempp

The Supreme Court’s decision in Abington v. Schempp (holding daily devotional reading of the Bible and recitation of the Lord’s Prayer in public school unconstitutional) is one of the most controversial opinions in the entire religion clause canon, perhaps the most controversial.  This story from a couple of days ago in the NY Times reports that it continues to be resisted.  The story gets several things wrong.  For example, consider this statement: “It has been nearly 50 years since the Supreme Court  ruled that officially sponsored prayer in public schools violated the separation of church and state.”  In the first place, “the separation of church and state” is not a standard that a majority of the Supreme Court uses or has ever used to adjudge the constitutionality of a law or policy.  And in the second, assuming that the reference is to Schempp, it is not true that the Supreme Court decided anything of the kind in that case.  It decided that daily devotional reading of the Bible and recitation of the Lord’s Prayer which was intended by the school as a religious ceremony was unconstitutional.  It much later (decades later) decided in a series of opinions that the inclusion of prayers in other school-sponsored activities was also unconstitutional.  At any event, the story contains some interesting reporting on a current controversy discussed earlier here.

One response

  1. I apologize if this is too far off topic, but I was wondering if the separation of church and state could be used to prevent a dispute between a student at a private religious university and the university from being heard in a court. Considering the fact that there is also a business relationship involved as the student is also a paying customer at a private for profit institution.

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