"Under God" From The Pledge Of Alligance

1067 words - 4 pages

"In the relationship between man and religion, the state is firmly committed to a position of neutrality," ruled Associate Supreme Court Justice Tom C. Clark in 1963. Yet today, the American nation continues to struggle to eliminate religious misinformation from the public schools that constitute the very basis of our democracy. The Bill of Rights, that hallowed cornerstone of the Constitution, forbids the governmental creation of an established church in its First, often quoted, Amendment: "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion." For over 200 years, the Constitution itself, reinforced clearly by the interpretations of justices like Clark, has forbidden the connection of any instrument of government in the United States to an established church. However, inexplicably, religion has maintained a strong presence in the nation's public schools, the very institutions that are, allegedly, the foundation of our democratic society.In Michigan, only a recent administrative decision has halted the distribution of Gideon Bibles to the students at a local elementary school; in Tennessee, the practice continues. Debates over school prayer and creationism rage nationwide, with the separation of church and state under fire on a regular basis. Only in 1987 did the Supreme Court overturn a Louisiana statute requiring that Bible-based creation science be taught alongside evolution; less than five years earlier, the Court ruled in McLean vs. Arkansas Board of Education that Act 590, the "Balanced Treatment for Creation Science and Evolution Science Act, which allotted equal time to lessons of creationism and evolution, was unconstitutional. Clashes of creationists with evolutionists, just one demonstration of efforts to incorporate religious views into school curriculum, have prompted consideration of anti-evolution legislation in states from Washington to Georgia. Other attempts to mingle religion with public schooling are equally widespread. Students nationwide pledge allegiance to a nation "under God" every morning, and schools' attempts at establishing a prayer before football games or graduation ceremonies periodically make the news.The public school is the common denominator of the many, shared cultural backgrounds of a diverse nation that embraces Jews and Muslims, Buddhists and Zoroastrians, Baptists and Mormons. The United States is perhaps one of the most religiously diverse nations in the world, with its 80 million Protestants divided among some four dozen disparate churches and the rest of the population split among Roman Catholicism (28% of the population), Judaism (2%), a host of other faiths (4%) and skepticism or undeclared religious affiliation (10%). In such an environment, how could anyone in good conscience prescribe a religious activity that would inevitably favor one creed above another, whether implicitly or explicitly, even if the Constitution did not rule out the legality of such an undertaking altogether?Some...

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