The Controversial Issue of Teaching Religion in Public Schools
Religion and public schooling, is one of today's most controversial issues in society . The question at hand is whether the teachers in the public schools should teach religion in America's school systems or not. This controversy has been the issue of many Supreme Court rulings within the past thirty-five years. Separation of church and state seems inevitable for this nation. Problems keep arising and court rulings are handed down nearly every day. The issue at hand has never been taken care of directly at the source. Why has religion in schools never been taken care of, and what will happen if it is allowed to remain a conflict? How much longer will this great controversy last? One day, this controversial issue will turn into a reason why humanity is so blinded to the meaning of religion. Maybe there will be a time when answers to this dilemma are finally found. And if no answers are found, what is going to be done next? No action would literally destroy thirty-five years worth of court cases and basically drain the pool of all water, allowing the fish to drown. This scenario fits the American people. If religion is lost, what will the people use as the context of the freedom that America's forefathers fought so hard to preserve? Those "Drained" cases should be used for future reference in case other controversial cases occur.
In 1962, Madalyn Murray helped her son, William J. Murray III (at the time, age fourteen) journey down a long and hard fought road toward his future as an atheist. William Murray, known as Bill, would begin his fight while attending Woodbourne Junior High School in Baltimore, Maryland. Woodbourne, in 1905, adopted a mandatary curriculum to recite the Lord's Prayer and to be reading daily from the Bible. Included in this adopted curriculum was the fact that no student would be allowed to be absent from these proceedings. It was mandatary for the students to participate. After Murray found out that her son was subject to participate in religious activities, she pulled her son out of school as protest to his being involved with religion. After attempting to talk with the Vice-Principal to the Superintendent of Schools, and failing in her attempt to clear up this matter, Murray brought this issue to the attention of the newspapers, radio, and local television stations. This issue would later receive national attention and bring an oversized crowd to the courtroom the day her case went to the State Supreme Court. Meanwhile, the Boston Schools did compromise and allow Bill to excuse himself from the school's daily religious activities (Blanshard 105-06).
In February of 1963, after being defeated by the lower state courts, Murray finally got an appeal to the highest state court. Once again Murray was defeated, but she had won the opinion of three of the seven judges on the panel. These four judges ruled, "The short answer to this...