Public Prayer in the School System Case Study by Annette

Public Prayer in the School System
This essay is a case study of the issue of prayer in the public school system in the United States.
# 5387 | 1,055 words | 3 sources | MLA | 2001 | US

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This paper examines the issue of holding prayers in public schools, whether they are mandatory or not. It examines the legal and moral aspects of this issue from the point of view of the three major religions. It details the First Amendment and several cases dealing with this matter and their outcomes. It details different ways of dealing with this problem and ways that are legal to implement it.

From the Paper:

"In 1947, when the Supreme Court was debating the issue of the separation of church and state, Supreme Court Justice Hugo Black remarked, "The First Amendment has erected a wall between church and state. That wall must be kept high and impregnable." With the case of Lee v. Weisman, the Court drew a distinct line between what is constitutional and what is unconstitutional. The case involved the practice in Providence, Rhode Island, of having a short prayer at the beginning and end of public school graduation ceremonies (an invocation and a benediction). The audience at these ceremonies was made up primarily of students and parents. The Court had to decide whether this short prayer was like the prayers recited to open legislative sessions, or like the daily prayers in public school in front of impressionable schoolchildren. This was not an easy decision to make. Four justices thought that the prayers at public school graduation ceremonies were more in the nature of a formality at a public event. These justices believed that the prayers were part of a long tradition, like prayers at legislative sessions, and could not be seen as an attempt to indoctrinate children in a particular religious belief. The other five justices did not agree and ruled that such prayers violate the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment. Justice Kennedy, who wrote the majority opinion, held that while attendance at public school graduation ceremonies is not required, few students would want to miss the ceremony. While the children could absent themselves from the part of the ceremony that contained the prayer, that would be difficult for them because of the very nature of the graduation process. There would also be peer pressure to participate and to not "make a fuss" about the prayer. The Court ruled that because the graduation ceremony is part of an official public school event, prayers cannot be allowed. (CARELLI 2000)."

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APA Format

Public Prayer in the School System (2003, February 11) Retrieved February 05, 2023, from

MLA Format

"Public Prayer in the School System" 11 February 2003. Web. 05 February. 2023. <>