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Religion in the Public Schools: Public Prayer or Private Action?

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Religion in the Public Schools: Public Prayer or Private Action?

The differences between private and government sponsored religious speech can be difficult, but necessary to determine when dealing with religion in the public school system. In Kountze Texas, a group of cheerleaders are suing the school district because a ban was placed on their usage of religious banners before the local public school’s football games. The cheerleaders created banners, like many high school cheerleaders do, but the message painted on their signs were statements such as, “And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us” The messages on the banners are religious speech and a violation of the First Amendment of the Constitution. Yes, the United States Constitution does allow for the freedom of religion, but it also separates Church and State. The cheerleaders painted these signs for a school organized football game; the educational institution is a public one and must abide by the United States Constitution and the separation of church and state. If the school were private, religious connotations would be permissible, but being that the school is public, the signs created by the cheerleaders would be considered government sanctioned.
The Establishment Clause in the First Amendment states, “congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion.” Throughout our nations history there has been much debate of what the framers of the Constitution meant by establishment. For instance some judges, such as Former Supreme Court Justice, William Rehnquist argued that the framers of the Constitution by using the word establishment meant there should be no national church and no preference of one religious sect over another. Others oppose that view and feel the government should have no involvement in religion whatsoever. They believe the word establishment as...

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