The case cited in the article was the case where BIBLE READINGS as a requirement for all students was outlawed. (Abington required students to read 10 verses a day followed by a recitation of the Lords’ Prayer which was also recited at public events.)
In addition to quickly declaring this unconstitutional Justice Clark wrote:
"… the Court was of the feeling that no matter the religious nature of the citizenry, the government at all levels, as required by the Constitution, must remain neutral in matters of religion “while protecting all, prefer[ring] none, and disparag[ing] none.”
“We repeat and again reaffirm that neither a State nor the Federal Government can constitutionally force a person ‘to profess a belief or disbelief in any religion.’” Neither can constitutionally pass laws or impose requirements which aid all religions as against non-believers, and **neither can aid those religions based on a belief in the existence of God as against those religions founded on different beliefs." **
“The short answer, therefore, is that the religious character of the exercise was admitted by the State. But even if its purpose is not strictly religious, it is sought to be accomplished through readings, without comment, from the Bible. Surely the place of the Bible as an instrument of religion cannot be gainsaid, and the State’s recognition of the pervading religious character of the ceremony is evident from the rule’s specific permission of the alternative use of the Catholic Douay version, as well as the recent amendment permitting nonattendance at the exercises.** None of these factors is consistent with the contention that the Bible is here used either as an instrument for nonreligious moral inspiration or as a reference for the teaching of secular subjects.**”
**AND NOW we come to the money quote which shows clearly how the authors of the WSJ article have quote-mined this decision to make it seem favorable to their point of view. **
"In addition, it might well be said that one’s education is not complete without a study of comparative religion or the history of religion and its relationship to the advancement of civilization. It certainly may be said that the Bible is worthy of study for its literary and historic qualities. Nothing we have said here indicates that such study of the Bible or of religion, when presented objectively as part of a secular program of education, may not be effected consistently with the First Amendment. "
The portion is RED is what the article uses. In PURPLE is the TRUE meaning of the Justices comment as I first said earlier in the thread. **The BIBLE is fine and worthy as part of a SECULAR comparative religion study. **Not as an exclusive source for study in the public schools.
The Court is QUITE clear in this opinion that they will look VERY carefully at any use of the Bible in public schools and that they will not permit:
**" that a majority could use the machinery of the State to practice its beliefs. "
The authors of the WSJ article…clearly have an agenda that seeks to use a partial Supreme Court quote to insert the Bible back into school curricula under the guise of simple cultural education. Kinda like the Creationists now calling themselves ID’ers. Ain’t gonna work. The courts have been clear.
But be my guest if you want to bring the Bible back in your public schools and teach it on equal footing to the writings of Confucius, the Koran, and American Indian Oral traditions among other sets of belief. Anything less will find your town with a big and expensive losing lawsuit and higher property taxes for all.
From what I can see…we don’t need any MORE courses in high school (which is the ONLY logical place for comparative religion)… we need mastery of the basics and elimination of the peripheral.