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Recent Court Decisions on the Separation of Church and State
It is unconstitutional for students to see the Ten Commandments at school because they might read, meditate upon, respect, or obey them.
Stone v. Graham, 1980; Ring v. Grand Forks Public School District, 1980; Lanner v. Wimmer, 1981
It is unconstitutional for a kindergarten class to ask whose birthday is celebrated at Christmas.
Constitutional rights of freedom of speech and press do not apply to students and teachers if the topic is religious.
A verbal prayer in school is unconstitutional, even if it is voluntary and non-denominational.
It is unconstitutional for students to say an audible prayer of thanks over their lunch.
The voluntary singing of a school song as part of an extracurricular activity
was declared unconstitutional because the song promoted honesty, truth, courage and faith in the form of a "prayer".
It is unconstitutional for a war memorial to be in the shape of a cross.
A public cemetery cannot have a planter in the shape of a cross, because if someone
were to see it, it could result in "emotional distress" causing an "injury-in-fact".
The Ten Commandments may not be displayed in a public courthouse, even though
they are carved in stone as part of the U.S. Supreme Court.
If a student addresses an assembly of students, he is considered to be a government
representative, and as such, it is unconstitutional for that student to engage in prayer.
If a legislator introduces a bill which is constitutionally acceptable in its wording,
the bill becomes unconstitutional if it pertains to a religious activity.
It is unconstitutional for a public schoolroom library to contain books about Christianity,
or for a teacher to be seen with a personal copy of the Bible while at school.
It is unconstitutional for a Board of Education to use the word "God" in any of its official writings.
A city seal may not contain any symbol that depicts its religious heritage or any religious element of the community.
School officials may not be publicly praised or recognized in an open community meeting
if the meeting is sponsored by a religious organization.
No artwork - even an historical classic - can be displayed in public schools
if it depicts something considered religious.
A public school graduation program can not contain an opening or closing prayer.
It is unconstitutional to display a nativity scene on public property unless it is
surrounded by sufficient secular displays so that it does not have a religious appearance.
Because a lawyer mentioned a Bible verse in the courtroom, a jury sentence was
overturned for a man convicted of clubbing a 71-year-old woman to death.
A federal judge in Texas prohibited a government official from conducting an anti-drug
rally at a public school because the official was also known as a Christian minister,
thus disqualifying him from delivering a secular anti-drug message.
A Florida judge ordered the courthouse copy of the Ten Commandments to be covered during
a murder trial for fear that jurors would be prejudiced against the defendant if they saw the command "Do not kill".