Time for a back-to-school lesson in religious freedom.


Every morning some schools start the day with a prayer over the public address system. Administrators may feel that it's ok because most of their students like it.

But it's not. Our constitutional rights are in place to protect minority populations. Majority definitely doesn't rule when it comes to civil liberties.

The issue of school-led prayer was addressed more than 50 years ago when a Unitarian family in Pennsylvania challenged the practice at their child's school.

The Schempp's case was decided by the U.S. Supreme Court in 1963. In Abington School Dist. v. Schempp the Court ruled that school-led prayer over the intercom violated the First Amendment Establishment Clause prohibiting government establishment of religion.

"Freedom to worship was indispensable in a country whose people came from the four quarters of the earth, and brought with them a diversity of religious opinion." warned the court. "Powerful sects might bring about a fusion of governmental and religious functions, to the end that official support would be placed behind the tenets of one orthodoxy. This the Establishment Clause prohibits."

Learn more about Protecting Religious Liberty in Public Schools.