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The Legal Status of Church-State Relationships in the United States

The Legal Status of Church-State Relationships in the United States: With Special Reference to the Public Schools

ALVIN W. JOHNSON
Copyright Date: 1934
Edition: NED - New edition
Pages: 342
https://www.jstor.org/stable/10.5749/j.ctttt5vk
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  • Book Info
    The Legal Status of Church-State Relationships in the United States
    Book Description:

    The Legal Status of Church-State Relationships in the United States was first published in 1934. Minnesota Archive Editions uses digital technology to make long-unavailable books once again accessible, and are published unaltered from the original University of Minnesota Press editions.

    eISBN: 978-1-4529-3793-9
    Subjects: Political Science

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-x)
  3. Part I. Bible Reading in the Public Schools

    • CHAPTER I THE DEVELOPMENT OF BIBLE READING IN THE PUBLIC SCHOOLS
      (pp. 3-30)

      ONE OF the principles upon which the government of the United States is founded is the separation of church and state. The proper attitude of the state toward religion has, however, remained a subject of controversy, one that has been revived today by an insistent demand for religious teaching in the public schools. That religious instruction would involve a union of religion with the state is admitted, but that it would be a violation of the American principle is denied on the ground that no union of church and state would be established. The subject is not only attracting a...

    • CHAPTER II BIBLE READING AND THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT
      (pp. 31-37)

      THE POWER to regulate Bible reading in the public schools does not appear among the list of powers delegated to the federal government by the constitution of the United States. The constitution provides only that “no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States”¹ and that “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof . . .”² The first amendment, which places this latter restriction upon religious legislation, cannot be invoked to protect the citizens of the respective states.³ The protection...

    • CHAPTER III BIBLE READING REQUIRED IN THE PUBLIC SCHOOLS
      (pp. 38-46)

      TWELVE states—Alabama, Arkansas, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Kentucky, Maine, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Tennessee—have statutes requiring Bible reading in the public schools. That of Alabama simply requires the teacher to read once every school day “readings from the Holy Bible.” In Delaware the law requires that “at least five verses from the Holy Bible shall be read... at the opening of such school”; in Pennsylvania that “at least ten verses from the Holy Bible” be read each day; in Georgia that the “Bible, including the Old and the New Testament,” shall be read and that not less than...

    • CHAPTER IV BIBLE READING PERMITTED IN THE SCHOOLS
      (pp. 47-62)

      INDIANA, Iowa, Kansas, Mississippi, North Dakota, Oklahoma, and South Dakota have statutes specifically permitting the reading of the Bible in the public schools. These statutes are practically identical, the common wording being that any prohibitions mentioned shall not be construed to “deny the reading of the Holy Scriptures in the public schools.” In all seven states the reading of the Bible is optional either with the teachers or with the school boards. Two of these states, namely, Iowa and North Dakota, have statutory provisions excusing pupils during such reading upon the request of parents or guardians.

      North Dakota requires that...

    • CHAPTER V BIBLE READING PROHIBITED IN THE SCHOOLS
      (pp. 63-75)

      NO STATE has any constitutional provision or statutory law that specifically prohibits, in the terms “Bible” or “Bible reading,” the reading of the Bible in the public schools. The question is whether it is permitted by the constitutions of the several states and by the statutory stipulations that no money raised for the support of public schools shall be appropriated for the support of any “sectarian” or “denominational” doctrine, that education may not be “sectarian” in character, that no “religious test shall be required,” that no one shall be “compelled to attend any religious worship,” that the “rights of conscience”...

    • CHAPTER VI SUMMARY OF BIBLE READING IN THE SCHOOLS
      (pp. 76-99)

      THE MOVEMENT to require the reading of the Bible in the public schools is described by the American Civil Liberties Union in the following words:

      Even more successful than the attempt to impose “Genesis as a state religion” has been the movement to compel by legislation the reading of the Bible in the public schools. In practical effect this is equivalent to attempting to impose the Protestant religion on the children of the schools, for the King James version is almost invariably the Bible selected. Any Bible reading in the schools was once generally held to be contrary to the...

    • CHAPTER VII ORGANIZATIONS ACTIVE IN SPONSORING OR OPPOSING BIBLE READING IN THE SCHOOLS
      (pp. 100-126)

      SEVERAL organizations are actively sponsoring the reading of the Bible in the public schools.

      The National Reform Association.—Headquarters of this organization, an enthusiastic promoter of Bible reading, are in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. It was organized in Allegheny, Pennsylvania, in 1864, with John Alexander as its first president. Its object was defined to be the preservation of the Christian institutions of this country, such as our civil Sabbath; the Bible in the public schools; the securing of a uniform marriage and divorce law, conformed to the law of Christ; the retention of the oath in our courts; chaplains in our army...

  4. Part II. Sectarian Influences Other Than Bible Reading in the Public Schools

    • CHAPTER VIII RELIGIOUS INSTRUCTION
      (pp. 129-147)

      A PRACTICE that is gaining in many schools and that some people think will solve the problem of religious training in the public schools is that of dismissing pupils during certain periods of the week to obtain religious instruction in the churches or elsewhere. Upon request of their parents or guardians, pupils are permitted to go to the church school where the kind of religious training they desire may be given them. Such an arrangement not only makes it possible for students to receive religious training from whatever church they desire but also keeps out of the public schools this...

    • CHAPTER IX PUBLIC AID OF SECTARIAN SCHOOLS
      (pp. 148-156)

      THE CONSTITUTIONS of all the states prohibit the appropriation of public funds for sectarian purposes and, with few exceptions, specifically prohibit the appropriation of school funds for the aid or support of any sectarian school. Those constitutions that do not include such specific prohibitions imply them in the general terms of the law. Thus the question here involved is, What constitutes public aid of a sectarian school? During the past few years this question has been carried to the courts of a number of states for judicial interpretation.

      Kentucky.—The board of trustees of a common school district arranged with...

    • CHAPTER X SCHOOL BUILDINGS
      (pp. 157-165)

      THE STATUTORY provisions, as well as court decisions, in regard to the use of public school buildings for religous meetings vary in the different states. Some states specify that public school buildings may be used, at the discretion of the school board, for religious services outside the regular school hours if such use does not interfere with school programs.

      In Illinois, for example, the statutes give to the board of school directors power to have the control and supervision of all public school houses in their district, and to grant the temporary use of them, when not occupied by schools,...

    • CHAPTER XI TEACHER EMPLOYMENT
      (pp. 166-172)

      THE RULE that “no religious or political test or qualification shall ever be required as a condition of admission into any public educational institution of the state, as teacher, student, or pupil”¹ may now be said to be the general principle accepted by the public school systems of all of the states. This principle does not justify teachers in conducting themselves in a way that is inconsistent with good order, peace, morality, or the safety of the state. It prevents a teacher from being refused employment because of his religion, but it does not prevent him from being refused employment...

    • CHAPTER XII PARENTAL CONTROL
      (pp. 173-184)

      THE QUESTION of just where the right of the state ends and that of the parents begins has been the crux of several court cases. Significant among them is the case of Meyer v. Nebraska. In 1919 the Nebraska legislature passed the following law, violation of which constituted a misdemeanor:

      Section 1. No person, individually or as a teacher, shall, in any private, denominational, or parochial or public school, teach any subject to any person in any language other than the English language.

      Section 2. Languages other than the English language may be taught as languages only after a pupil...

    • CHAPTER XIII STATE CONCERN WITH PRIVATE SCHOOLS
      (pp. 185-196)

      DIFFICULTIES occasionally arise over the question of transportation of children to private or parochial schools. Frequently the public school bus passes the very doors of the homes of children who attend a parochial school adjoining or but a short distance from the public school. Parents feel that they are being taxed for the support of the public school bus, and that therefore it makes no material difference whether the children are transported to the public school or are permitted to ride along and get out at the private or parochial school. In some cases such privileges of transportation have been...

    • CHAPTER XIV RELIGION IN INDIAN SCHOOLS
      (pp. 197-215)

      THERE are among the various Indian tribes throughout the United States today two kinds of school, the private sectarian or parochial school and the government Indian school. There has been some overlapping of the two, and our federal government has not always maintained a clear division between church and state. The administration of the Indian schools has been carried on by our federal government rather than by the states, its direction falling within the Department of the Interior. The federal government is bound in its regulation of the Indian schools by the first article of the constitution, Congress shall make...

    • CHAPTER XV ANTI–EVOLUTION LAWS
      (pp. 216-228)

      A QUESTION closely associated with the subject of religion in the public schools is represented by the socalled “anti-evolution” laws.

      On March 5, 1921, the state of Utah passed the following law:

      Section 1. It shall be unlawful to teach in any of the district schools of this state while in session, any atheistic, infidel, sectarian, religious, or denominational doctrine and all such schools shall be free from sectarian control.

      Section 2. Nothing in this act shall be deemed to prohibit the giving of any moral instruction tending to impress upon the minds of the pupils the importance and necessity...

  5. Part III. Sunday Legislation

    • CHAPTER XVI SUNDAY LEGISLATION
      (pp. 231-272)

      THE QUESTION of Sunday laws and their enforcement has been an important one to all European and other Western governments ever since 321 A. D., when the first Sunday law was issued by the emperor Constantine. It was one of the chief issues of the early period of the United States. It continues to be important in our day, and indications are that it will receive increasing attention in the years to come.

      Laws regulating the conduct of the people on the first day of the week were among the first enactments of the American commonwealths.¹ The manner in which...

    • CHAPTER XVII CONCLUSION
      (pp. 273-286)

      PRIOR TO the Federal Convention in 1787 each of the colonies had established a government of its own, based upon Anglo-Saxon political traditions, which guaranteed its citizens the inalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. In addition, the thirteen colonies had united themselves under the Articles of Confederation into what they termed a perpetual union, to be known as the “United States of America.”

      The first enactment of national importance guaranteeing religious freedom was included in the Ordinance of 1787, passed by the Congress under the Articles of Confederation. This ordinance effecting the organization of the Northwest...

  6. APPENDIX
    (pp. 287-314)
  7. INDEX
    (pp. 315-332)