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Establishment Clause Of The First Amendment Name Religion Essay

The first amendment of the American constitution include two clauses. The first one is the establishment clause and the second is the free exercise clause. All of the two clauses are from the link between your government and the religion. The intension of the framers of the two clauses was that they can serve common values but with time, some kind of tension is available to exist between your two clauses. The very best exemplory case of the conflict between your two clauses is where by the free exercise clause will support the provision of overseas stationed military troops with a military chaplain instead of the establishment clause i. e. it'll be regarded as a violation of the establishment clause while failure to give a chaplain will be supported by the establishment clause and at the same time seen by others as a violation of the same troops' rights in line with the free exercise clause (Klinker, 1991).

First amendment's establishment clause

Text of the first Amendment and what it means

The text of the first amendment of the constitution of united states states that, "There will be no law made by the congress that will respect religion establishment, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of folks peaceably to assemble, and also to petition the federal government for a redress of grievances (Klinker, 1991, p. 47). " The establishment clause of the religion which is a portion of the first amendment means the next. It first encloses the no state or authorities shall create any sort of religion or church. It could not also pass any law to help each one or all religions and neither will it judgemental of one religion in the other. It has no powers to force anybody or person to either attend church services or remain off of the church forcefully from the will of this person. It can't force anybody to profess the belief or if it is a disbelief any place in any church or religion. It also prohibits any form of punishments to anybody that will entertain or prophesize either religious disbeliefs or beliefs for attendance or non-attendance of the church. In addition, it prohibits the utilization of any amount of tax whether it be small amount or huge amounts of the tax to aid in any activities that are religious or even religious institutions themselves which not only pertains to almost any religion but also to any form of practice that may be adopted by this kinds of institutions to either practice or teach matters of religion. There must be a distinct separation between your religion and any state of authorities no any form of interaction should be witnessed between the two arms openly or secretly and this means that each one of them should carry out their own affairs with no form of participation across. They need to carry out their activities independently with no influence of one another (Kleeberg, 1986).

Origins or history of the First Amendment

The founder of the first amendment was called Thomas Jefferson. He was much concerned and engaged in issues to do with the religious free exercises and freedom of speech. Thomas Jefferson lived in his home state called Virginia and had made effort of implementing religious free exercises and freedom of speech protections in this state's constitution. He later eventually influenced and persuaded James Madison to make a proposal of the bill of rights. His most top priority agenda in the bill of rights amendments were the first amendment's establishment and free exercise clauses (Farish, 1998).

Why did Founders place it in the Bill of Rights - that which was the purpose

The establishment clause of the first amendment was at absolute minimum incorporated in the bill of rights with a purpose of prohibiting the declaration as well as financial support of any nation religion by the federal government inclusive of those that existed at a time of founding of the country in other several countries. However it is not yet clear to whether this clause was also meant to prohibit the federal government from the act of support to Christianity as general religion. The establishment clause was included in the bill of rights to prohibit the congress of any state from establishing a national religion and prevent a situation where by one religion can look preferred over the other. This clause of the first amendment has been interpreted in a variety of ways. The first approach of the interpretation is known as the separation interpretation while the second one is recognized as the accommodation (non-preferential) interpretation approach. According to accommodation or non-preferential mode of understanding, the congress is not likely to show any favor or preference of one religion set alongside the other but at the same time the government entry in the domain of the religion with the goal of making accommodations is not prohibited and this is basically because it so happens purposely to stick to free exercise clause.

How did the average person states behave in regard to the religion in public life at the time?

Since the declaration of the establishment clause and the free exercise clause in regards to religion by the Supreme Court, their incorporation into the system of state governments was not an easy task. It had been so tricky accompanied by lots of critique and way more, the establishment clause that was much more subject to critique by individual states. The incorporation of the establishment religion clause was faced by some controversies which root from the theory or fact that clause was mainly intended to prohibit interference of the religion establishments of their state by the congress which was there at founding time and according to history, at the least six individual states had already set up religion. This fact was however conceded by most members including those from the court who argued that the establishment clause was to be applied to individual states through incorporation.

Although various religious conflicts had brought a great division in Europe at a time, the motivation of the establishment clause was mainly by the hostility towards it and the suspicion of England's church. It had been until 1980s where no bishop of Anglican or Episcopal was within USA. This implicated that Anglican tradition priests which was at the time the religion of the states like Virginia, Carolina in addition to a state of Georgiana (Farish, 1998).

Evolution of establishment clause

Discuss Everson Case and other notable cases that strike down school prayer or 10 Commandment displays, etc. , as unconstitutional

The beginning of the interpretation of the first amendment establishment clause was evident in 1940s during which an instance cropped between the board of education and Everson. . In this Everson vs. Board of education case, Everson was the petitioner while the board of education was the respondent. The root cause of this case started when a law was enacted by the New Jersey to enable local school districts produce rules that allows school children to be transported to school and back. When this law was enacted, the Ewing township board of education agreed to repay the parents for just about any expenditure created by them to move their children on public buses to either public schools or schools of catholic Catholicism. This sum of money that was to be utilized in paying back to parents was actually the tax payer's money contributed by all citizens. It is this act that made Everson who was a tax payer and also a resident of Ewing Township to file an instance up against the board of education. He petitioned that it was a violation of the establishment clause to work with tax payer's money to transport children to catholic schools. The agreement and the ruling of the trial court was that both the Ewing Township and the New Jersey law were not in accordance with the constitution. However, this ruling was appealed in the brand new Jersey's highest court which indeed reversed your choice made previously by the trial court and it now ruled that there is no violation of the establishment clause by the new laws. This ruling now made Everson to appeal to the supreme court of the United States (Sherrow, 1997).

There was a 5-4 voting by the Supreme Court to uphold laws of Ewing Town and NJ. The justice of the Supreme Court R. Black wrote for the court discussing the annals of American and Europe colony's religious prosecution. He elaborated about how such prosecutions were to be prevented by designation of the first amendment by keeping separate the government and the religion. This discussion managed to get appear which may be the court will make a riling that'll be against the laws of New Jersey. In any case, the argument by Everson was that the utilization of the money collected from tax to adopt children to school and more so catholic schools was a form of an aid to the religion. The court's judge argued that the transportation offered to children both to public and catholic schools had not been I in any manner a misuse of tax payers money but rather a public service with was designed to benefit the society as a whole in terms of education. He added that when this service is merely directed at public schools, it will be like discrimination for children attending catholic schools and this by itself will violate the free exercise clause. He said that the first amendment requires equal treatment of religions without the fear or favor by the government. The court's majority decision was not welcomed by other four justices two of which raised dissenting opinions. Jackson said that the act of giving help allow catholic school children attend school was like giving them a push to be adult Catholics in future. In this way, the law was seen to assist religion and once seen to violate the church and state separation. Jackson also believed that the laws of Ewing Township were discriminating against religions. Which means that only children from catholic or public schools were to take advantage of the transportation system totally forgetting those that attend private schools or any other non catholic religious schools. To him, this was a protection of pubic and catholic school children instead of protestant schools (Sherrow, 1997).

Another dissenting statement came from Justice W. Blount who analyzed that the historical fight by Madison against support of religion by the state. He argued that the writing of the first amendment by Madison was with an aim of prohibiting the law that supported the use of tax payer's cash in support religion. He made a statement that this new law of Ewing town and NJ of support to religion using tax payer's cash was a violation to the establishment clause of the first amendment and was like simply sending children indirectly to Sunday school. He feared that this decision by the court was likely to erase the wall of separation that exists between your church and the state. Fifty many years of more after the decision upon this case of Everson by the court, there is still a struggle by the school districts to split up the church and the state of hawaii. There's been several issues including creation of voucher program that will enable poor children to school in private schools and can also allow them attend religious schools. Nut due to use of money from tax to cater for this vouchers, still issues are raised that this program is a violation of establishment clause (Klinker, 1991).

Subsequent decisions by the courts now made it clear that the barrier between your religion and the state was now being omitted if not being seen as porous or shifting with fluctuations and dissimilarities in cases resulting in different outcomes. A good illustration is where in fact the court ruled that invitation practice of religion instructors to schools especially public ones to deliver religious instructions to children is a violation of the establishment clause. Also regarding Zorach v Clauson in the year 1952, the court ruled by upholding the act of release time directed at public school children to be able to allow them attend church programs in synagogues. The courts justice Douglas wrote for the court and said that is not the requirement of the constitution to permit "callous indifference to religion (Gay, 1992, p125). "

The issue of school sponsored prayers is one of the questions which have highly proven to be controversial. This was shown in the land mark case that was between your Engel and Vitale in the entire year 1962. The ruling of the court on the practice in the brand new York that all the schools should get started with prayers at the state of school days as meditated by the institution officials was a violation of the establishment clause. In it is case, the court declared this practice a violation of the establishment clause in any situation be it where it is not compulsory for the students to be involved or take part in the prayer session. Following this case, the court was faced with several filed cases relate with prayer especially in the context of public schools. This has cropped up issues like holding of prayers in special occasions or circumstances like during the ceremony of graduations in schools. Others include silent meditation periods also called silent prayers and also prayers initiated by students. In short, court has all along tried showing its willingness to carefully turn down any acts or practices which are likely to be viewed as endorsement of the religion by state or just as coercive (Hirst, 1997).

Movement away from separationist interpretation into a more permissive interpretation of what government can do in relation to religion because the 1980s

According to separationism interpretation of the establishment clause, the government of any state was prohibited from participating in matters concerning religion whether it is any form of support or endorsement. But since 1980s, a far more permissive interpretation of what the government can act in regards to religion has been enlightened by both interpretations by the accommodationism and preferntialism. According to accommodationsm interpretation, the government is now able to endorse or provide any form of support to various religions but only on condition it equalizes the treatment across all religions without proof nay form of discrimination or preferential treatment. The interpretation by the preferetialism holds that the first amendment establishment clause prevents creation of American literal church but this will not prohibit the endorsement of Christianity by the federal government (Moskin, 1980).

Where the Supreme Court is going in the future

As the debate goes on what is the real interpretation of the establishment clause, the Supreme Court is now getting itself ready where it isn't able to give an American stand on the establishment clause of the amount of separation of religion and the state government. But according top the modern interpretation, there is certainly room for interaction between the church and the government bringing in a total contradiction between the old and the present day interpretation. Third, trend, in future, it appears the Supreme Court will stretch this is of the clause to be very different from the initial interpretation or intent and most likely, it will come to the interpretation that will suit to American society as a whole compared to the present and past interpretation (Evans, 1990).


Literally, it is only the establishment clause that enlightens the hyperlink between your religion and the federal government I the complete American constitution predicated on the first written constitution article without the more documentation, this clause would be the only real information source whish highlights the church's relationship to the government. However although further documentations has brought different interpretation of the clause between the old and society, we expect that the fire of his extended argument or debate can only be fueled by finding and providing such separation documentary evidence between the government and the religion.

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