Separation of Church and State
The JCRC works to educate employees and employers regarding the legal safeguards that exist in regards to separation of Church and State. If you have questions about protecting your individual rights in school or in the workplace, contact JCRC for more information.
Religious Accommodation in the Workplace
Federal law requires employers to "reasonably accommodate" an employee's religious observances, practices and beliefs unless they can show that accommodation could cause an "undue hardship" to the employer's business.
The U.S. Supreme Court has clearly ruled that organized vocal prayer and ceremonial reading from the Bible are unconstitutional practices in the public school classroom, athletic events and school assemblies.
Prayer at the Flag
Although controversial, prayer at the flagpole is a permissible activity as long as the activity is privately led by students and voluntary.
Bible Clubs on School Property
According to the Equal Access Act, federally-funded high schools must treat student-initiated clubs in the same way they treat other extra-curricular, student-initiated clubs. School officials may not single out or deny equal access to religious clubs.
The President's Faith Based and Community Initiatives requires the government to give religious institutions an equal footing when it seeks bids and grant contracts for the private-sector provision of government-funded social services.
In order to “rescue children” from failing school systems, the standard school voucher program would distribute monetary vouchers (typically valued between $2,500-$5,000) to parents of school-aged children. Parents could then use the vouchers towards the cost of tuition at private schools, including private religious schools.
The Supreme Court has banned government support of religious activity and prohibits posting the Ten Commandments.
"Under God" in the Pledge of Allegiance
On June 26, 2003, a federal appeals court in San Francisco declared that the Pledge of Allegiance is unconstitutional because the phrase "one nation under God" violates the separation of church and state. After an appeal, the Supreme Court ruling allowed that the phrase "under God" to remain in the Pledge of Allegiance as recited in public school classrooms.