Prayer Not Allowed In Public Schools

1962

New York State’s Board of Regents drafted a nondenominational prayer for students to recite voluntarily at the beginning of each school day: “Almighty God, we acknowledge our dependence upon Thee, and beg Thy blessings upon us, our teachers, and our country.”

Ruling in Engel v. Vitale, the U.S. Supreme Court rejects the notion that the prayer’s lack of reference to any specific religion exempts it from the First Amendment’s prohibition against establishing a religion. Any state-sanctioned prayer, the Court argues, is an unconstitutional recognition of religion.