SUPREME COURT RULES PRAYER IN PUBLIC SCHOOLS UNCONSTITUTIONAL
Washington, D.C. (JFK+50) On June 25, 1962, the United States Supreme Court ruled prayer in public schools unconstitutional.
In the case Engel v Vitale*, the high court ruled that a prayer recommended for reading in the classroom by the New York Board of Regents violated the First Amendment of the United States Constitution.
The prayer reads as follows...
"Almighty God, we acknowledge our dependence upon Thee and we beg Thy blessings upon us, our parents, our teachers and our country, Amen."
The Supreme Court said because the prayer was created by government officials to promote a religious belief, it violated the First Amendment clause...
"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibit the free exercise thereof..."
In his concurring opinion, Justice William O. Douglas wrote...
"Once government finances a religious exercise it inserts a divisive influence into our communities."
*Engel v Vitale was a lawsuit filed by Steven Engel & other parents whose children attended school in the Union Free School District of New Hyde Park, NY challenging an officially sponsored prayer. Although the parents lost in lower courts, they won appeal in the USSC.
"Engel v. Vitale (1962), by David L. Hudson, Jr., The First Amendment Encyclopedia, www.mtsu.edu/