Law & Government
"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 study guide excellent resource about amendment's history.
"The senators and representatives before mentioned, and
the members of the several state legislatures, and all executive and judicial officers, both of the United States and of the several states, shall be bound by oath or affirmation, to support this Constitution; but no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States."
"The establishment of religion
clause of the First Amendment means at least this: neither a state nor the
Federal Government can set up a church. Neither can pass laws which aid
one religion, aid all religions, or prefer one religion over another. Neither
can force nor influence a person to go to or remain away from church against
his will or force him to profess a belief or disbelief in any religion."
[Majority opinion Emerson v. Board of Education 330 U.S. 1 (1947)]
Formulated by Chief Justice Warren Burger of the US Supreme Court in the majority opinion in Lemon v. Kurtzman (1971). It Determines if a law is permissible under the establishment clause of the First Amendment.
Summary of the First Amendment:
"Congress should not establish a religion and enforce the legal observation of it by law, nor compel men to worship God in any manner contrary to their conscience, or that one sect might obtain a pre-eminence, or two combined together, and establish a religion to which they would compel others to conform" (Annals of Congress, Sat Aug. 15th, 1789 pages 730 - 731)
James Madison on Separation of Church and State: his thoughts on separation and establishment
"As the government of the United States of America is not in any sense founded on the Christian Religion,-as it has in itself no character of enmity against the laws, religion or tranquility of Musselmen,-and as the said States never have entered into any war or act of hostility against any Mehomitan nation, it is declared by the parties that no pretext arising from religious opinions shall ever produce an interruption of the harmony existing between the two countries."
The original motto
"E Pluribus Unum" Latin for "One from many"
"I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America and to the republic for which it stands: one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all."
The 'G' word
The use of a capitalized 'G' in 'God" is commonly considered the specific Judeo-Christian god.
"No person who acknowledges
the being of God and a future state of rewards and punishments shall, on
account of his relifious sentiments, be disqualified to hold any office
or place of trust or profit under this Commonwealth".
Declaration of Rights Article 1 Section 4
"No religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office, or public trust, in this State; nor shall any one be excluded from holding office on account of his religious sentiments, provided he acknowledge the existence of a Supreme Being." Article 1 - Bill of Rights: Section 4
Thanks to LolaMSins and Edward Penton
information taken from religioustolerance.org
The following is an overview of current federal laws and regulations regarding religious expression in the public schools:
As representatives of the government, administrators and teachers must neither encourage nor prohibit students' religious activities.
Individual students and groups may informally pray, discuss religion, or read Scriptures on campus if such activities are neither disruptive nor coercive.
Student-run religious groups may meet on campus during non-class time, and publicize their events, on an equal basis with other noncurricular gatherings.
Schools may "teach about" religion, including the Bible, but "religious instruction" is restricted to private, "released time" classes off campus.
If academically relevant, students may express religious ideas in written, oral or art assignments.
Schools may "teach about" religious holidays and celebrate their "secular aspects," but must not observe them as "religious events."
School officials may not organize commencement prayers.
Students may distribute religious literature to schoolmates if other handouts are allowed.
If school dress codes allow private expressions, religious symbols or messages are permissible.
SOURCE: U.S. Department of Education guidelines as updated in 1998 and reissued in December.
"The Commonwealth shall not make any law for establishing any religion, or for imposing any religious observance, or for prohibiting the free exercise of any religion, and no religious test shall be required as a qualification for any office or public trust under the Commonwealth." -- Section 116, from Menendez and Doerr, The Great Quotations on Religious Freedom
"Freedom of conscience and belief is inviolable, and the free exercise of religious sects is assured, as long as they are not contrary to public order or good morals. Religious associations shall acquire juridical personality according to civil law. No one shall be deprived of his rights by reason of religious, philosophic, or political convictions.... Without restraint of the ones favored, religious ministration to the Armed Forces shall be offered by a Brazilian...: cemeteries shall be secular in character and shall be administered by the municipal authority. All religious confessions shall be permitted to practice their rites therein. Religious associations may maintain private cemeteries, according to law.... Religious instruction shall be a part of the teaching schedule of public schools, matriculation therein shall be optional, and the instruction shall be provided in accordance with the religious confession of the pupil."
Section 2: "Everyone has the following fundamental freedoms: freedom of conscience and religion; freedom of thought, belief, opinion and expression, including freedom of the press and other media of communication; freedom of peaceful assembly; and freedom of association."
"[Guaranteed to all Colombians is] the free profession, public or private, of their religion, providing it does not disturb the public peace, offend pure morals, nor impede the exercise of any other religion." -- The first act of church-state separation in Latin America, the 1853 Constitution also barred forced contributions for the support of any religion. Quoted from Albert J. Menendez and Edd Doerr, The Great Quotations on Religious Freedom.
Article 18: "Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief, and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship and observance."
Article 19: "Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.."
Article 13, Phrase 2: "There shall be freedom to practice any known religion; individuals shall be free to perform their rites of worship without hindrance and under the protection of the law. The performance of rites of worship must not prejudice public order or public morals. Proselytism is prohibited."
Section 4 of Greek Law No.1363/38:
"Freedom of religion is guaranteed to all. No religious organizations shall receive any privileges from the state nor exercise any political authority. No person shall be compelled to take part in any religious act, celebration, rite or practice. The state and its organs shall refrain from religious education or any other religious activity." -- Article 20. From Albert J. Menendez and Edd Doerr, The Great Quotations on Religious Freedom
"Section 15: Freedom of religion, belief and opinion
(1) Everyone has the right to freedom of conscience, religion, thought, belief and opinion."
International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights
Article 18.1: "Everyone shall
have the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion. This right
shall include freedom to have or to adopt a religion or belief of his choice,
and freedom, either individually or in community with others and in public
or private, to manifest his religion or belief in worship, observance, practice
Article 18.2: "No one shall be subject to coercion which would impair his freedom to have or to adopt a religion or belief of his choice."
--Thomas Jefferson --
"History, I believe, furnishes no example of a priest-ridden people maintaining a free civil government. This marks the lowest grade of ignorance of which their civil as well as religious leaders will always avail themselves for their own purposes" (Letter to von Humboldt, 1813).
more: Great Minds