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Church and State

Church and State

 Table of Contents

Church and State Concepts

The big picture: What you need to know and why.

Religion and the First Amendment

First Amendment guarantees freedom of religionBut the precise meaning of "religious freedom" is hard to define and has changed over time The First Amendment is immensely important to Americans; it...

Religion in Early America

Most states in early America had established churchesEstablished Church: a church officially supported (and paid for) by the governmentDissenters from established churches were tolerated but not al...

Incorporation Doctrine

Legal doctrine of incorporation: Bill of Rights' restrictions upon the federal government should also apply, in certain circumstances, to the states as wellFirst Amendment rights have been incorpor...

Free Exercise Clause

Free Exercise Clause: government may not restrict citizens' free exercise of their own religious beliefsCourts' interpretations of Free Exercise Clause have evolved over timeCitizens have an unlimi...

Establishment Clause

Establishment Clause: government may not establish or support any official religionControversy over whether state aid to private religious schools violates Establishment Clause Many of the most con...

The Lemon Test

1971 Supreme Court case Lemon v. Kurtzman set standard for government funding of religious institutionsLemon Test: Does policy create "excessive entanglement" between government and religion?In 197...

School Prayer

Since 1962, courts have consistently judged organized prayer in schools to be a violation of the Establishment ClauseFor decades, lawmakers and the courts generally ignored the existence of prayer...

School Vouchers

Courts have generally accepted state-funded voucher payments to allow parents to send their children to private religious schools On vouchers, as with other forms of public aid to religious schools...

Creationism and Intelligent Design in Schools

Since 1968, courts have consistently opposed attempts to replace teaching of Darwinian evolution with creationism in public schools Just as the Court’s decision on vouchers reflects its growi...

Future of Religious Freedom

Courts' interpretations of First Amendment religious freedom clauses have changed over timeHard to say how they will change in the future Since the Mormon cases of the 1870s and the Cantwell case o...

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