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How does the Constitution protect freedom of religion?

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Presentation on theme: "How does the Constitution protect freedom of religion?"— Presentation transcript:

1 How does the Constitution protect freedom of religion?
We the People - Lesson Twenty-four

2 Why did the Founders think freedom of religion was important?

3 Conflicts over freedom of religion
Under the Constitution, conflicts over freedom of religion have focused on the following issues: The establishment of religion (Establishment Clause) The free exercise of religion (Exercise Clause) Freedom of belief (unalienable right) Rights to practice beliefs (may be limited if they are contrary to public morals, endanger health, or in other ways harm the common welfare)

4 Establishment Clause Sets forth the idea that in the United States, the government is to be separated from religion

5 Exercise Clause The government shall make no law prohibiting the free exercise of religion

6 Should the government be allowed to support religious education?
Should tax money be used to support parochial schools? Should public schools be allowed to provide certain periods of time during the day when students can attend special classes to receive religious instruction from their own minister, priest, or rabbi? Should public schools be allowed to require students to take part in prayers or the reading of the Bible during regular school hours?

7 Lemon Test (Lemon v. Kurtzman 1971)
Chief Justice Warren E. Burger developed guidelines to be used in deciding if a law involving religion in the schools violated the First Amendment of the Constitution 1. The primary purpose of the law must not be religious - must have another purpose, such as furthering education 2. The primary effect of the law must not be to advance or inhibit religion 3. The law must not create an excessive government entanglement with religion

8 Use the Lemon Test to decide:
Your state passes a law allowing your public school principal to post a copy of the Ten Commandments in every classroom. Your state passes a law that gives parents who send their children to parochial schools a tax deduction for tuition, transportation, and educational materials. Your state allows your public school’s algebra teacher to spend part of the class day at church school, giving instruction to students having difficulty with math. A group of students at your public school requests permission to use an empty classroom after regular school hours for a voluntary prayer meeting. The principal refuses to make the classroom available to them.

9 Seatwork Center Questions
Some religious groups have suggested adding an amendment to the Constitution permitting voluntary prayer in public schools. Would you support such an amendment? Why or why not? Should public schools be permitted to close for Christmas? Why or why not? How would the United States be different today if we had an official national religion? What changes would be good ones? What changes would be bad ones? Explain your answers.

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