Separation Of Church And State

Essay by PaperNerd ContributorCollege, Undergraduate April 2001

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The Separation of Church and State In the United States the "separation of church and state"� has been embedded in the Constitution. The First Amendment of the United States' Constitution begins "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof ..."�. The reason our forefathers wanted the separation of religion and state was to keep one religion from taking the control of our government, but it is being used to attempt to take almost all forms of religion from public schools, government meetings, and public places.

Two of the most controversial parts to religion in society are The Establishment Clause and the Free Exercise Clause. People have rephrased the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment to mean that the government will guarantee the separation of church and state. The Establishment Clause was written to let each person decide, on their own, to acknowledge religious beliefs and opinions.

The Free Exercise Clause, gives all citizens the right to freedom of all religious practice, except for a few limitations. More specific laws have passed to put these regulations on certain aspects of society.

The Equal Access Act is designed to ensure that student religious activities have the same access to public school facilities as is student secular activities. The Act allows a religious club or group to meet on school grounds, without unfair refusal. The Act also defines a meeting as a prayer service, Bible reading, or other worship exercise. It allows the students' religious groups to use the school media to publicize their meetings in the same way as all other non-curriculum related groups can, however the school can inform students that certain groups are not school sponsored.

Most of the controversy has to do with keeping religions out of schools. The supporters of...