Prayer Rejected; Secular Study of Religion Allowed

1963

In Abington School District v. Schempp, the U.S. Supreme Court rules that a Pennsylvania law violates the establishment clause of the First Amendment by requiring schoolchildren to begin the day by reciting the Lord’s Prayer. The Court rules that even though children may be exempt from recitation at a parent’s request, the public school nevertheless has endorsed religion. The Court notes, however, that the prohibition on prayer is not a ban on secular instruction in religion, an area of study that can enhance a student’s education.