Argumentative Essay: The First Amendment, Bill Of Rights

1289 Words6 Pages

“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.” -First Amendment, Bill of Rights
James Madison, the author of the Bill of Rights, granted every American citizen the rights to freedom of religion, speech, press, assembly, and petition through the First Amendment. Perhaps the most controversial of these freedoms throughout history is the freedom of religion. The strength of the First Amendment was tested in the landmark case of Engel v. Vitale in which ten students spoke out against …show more content…

The defense employed the common argument that the children were given a choice on whether they wished to partake in the prayer, therefore it cannot be proclaimed unconstitutional. In an 8-1, however, the Supreme Court determined that the school prayer was in direct contradiction with the Establishment Clause which was put in place to prevent government interference with religion. The reasoning behind the court’s decision was that education is mandatory in the United States for all children, and public schools must maintain a separation from any religion. This separation from religion does not include individuals praying on their own time in a public-school environment, and religion can be an academic subject if all religions are addressed without …show more content…

Vitale was greeted with conflicting emotions. While some saw it as a victory for religious freedom, some Christians were outraged that the government shunned God by banning school wide prayer. Political and religious leaders have claimed that the case has promoted atheism and that moral values have been undermined by removing religion from public education. These people wrongly believe that the ruling outlawed all prayer in public schools when it prohibits schools from writing or choosing a specific prayer and encouraging all students to partake in reciting it. Even today, over fifty years since the case, the opposition of the ruling continues to rail against the “godless public schools” and complain about how the Supreme Court “kicked God out of the schools.” These critics blame the absence of prayer in schools for tragedies such as school shootings and drug

Show More

More about Argumentative Essay: The First Amendment, Bill Of Rights

Open Document