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frequently asked questions

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The First Amendment says nothing about 'separation of church and state' or a ‘wall of separation between church and state.’ Where did this idea come from? Is it really part of the law?
 
Is it constitutional to teach about religion in a public school?
 
What general principles should public schools and religious communities follow when entering into a cooperative arrangement?
 
What is the 'Lemon test' for religious mottos and displays in public settings?
 
Aren't the Ten Commandments posted in the U.S. Supreme Court chamber?
 
How should the Bible be included in the history curriculum?
 
What are the academic aims of a literature elective in Bible?
 
How should the Bible be included in the literature curriculum?
 
How should teachers of a Bible elective be selected and what preparation will they require?
 
Which interpretation of the Bible should be used?
 
Which version of the Bible should be used?
 
How do schools resolve the tension between freedom of speech and the need for discipline and control?
 
What do the courts say about the Bible in the public-school curriculum?
 
What is the difference between teaching about the Bible and religious indoctrination?
 
Have there been any rulings yet on RLUIPA’s constitutionality?
 
A public employee wishes to convert a fellow employee to his religion. Does he have a First Amendment right to proselytize?
 
Do students have the right to form religious or political clubs below the secondary level?
 
May religious leaders or other outside adults attend the meetings of student clubs?
 
May students form religious or political clubs in secondary public schools?
 
What should schools do in December?
 
May a teacher refuse to teach certain materials in class if she feels the curriculum infringes on her personal beliefs?
 
May states be required to grant exemptions for business owners whose Sabbath requires them to close their business on another day?
 
May teachers wear religious jewelry in the classroom?
 
May teachers and administrators pray or otherwise express their faith while at school?
 
Are state holidays constitutional when they are directly tied to some religious observance?
 
Has the Supreme Court defined 'religion'?
 
What about distribution of fliers from religious groups about events or programs for youth?
 
May public schools and religious communities enter into cooperative agreements to help students with such programs as tutoring?
 
May public school facilities be used by outside community groups during nonschool hours?
 
Do religious institutions have a free-exercise right to tax exemptions?
 
Can the government ever interfere with someone's religious practices?
 
May a teacher wear religious garb to school provided the teacher does not proselytize to the students?
 
Is it legal for students to pray in public schools?
 
What is a 'noncurriculum-related student group' under the Equal Access Act?
 
May students share their religious faith in public schools?
 
May students express their beliefs about religion in classroom assignments or at school-sponsored events?
 
Is it constitutional for a public school to require a 'moment of silence'?
 
May a school board limit school activities on certain nights to accommodate a particular religious group?
 
What about the power of schools to control student speech in the classroom?
 
May the government constitutionally place conditions on religious tax exemptions?
 
May a non-custodial parent be told not to expose a child to a religion other than the religion practiced by the custodial parent?
 
May my state pass a voucher program in which some vouchers are used at religious schools?
 
Does the Supreme Court's holding in Marsh mean that any plan for providing a legislature with a chaplain paid with public funds will be constitutional?
 
May students distribute religious literature in a public school?
 
Does the First Amendment apply to public schools?
 
The First Amendment says that the government may not ‘establish’ religion. What does that mean in a public school?
 
If school officials are supposed to be 'neutral' toward religion under the establishment clause, does that mean they should keep religion out of public schools?
 
Does the establishment clause apply to students in a public school?
 
How can school officials tell when a planned school action or activity might violate the establishment clause?
 
What does 'free exercise' of religion mean under the First Amendment?
 
How should school officials determine when they must accommodate a religious-liberty claim under the free-exercise clause?
 
May a religious group that receives funds to administer a homeless shelter discriminate in hiring on the basis of religion or adherence to religious doctrines?
 
May public schools offer a history course that focuses on the Bible?
 
What about the study of other religious traditions?
 
How should study about the Bible be handled in elementary education?
 
Do schools that permit the distribution of student religious literature give up all control over how it is done?
 
How should religious holidays be treated in the classroom?
 
How should religious objections to holidays be handled?
 
May students be absent for religious holidays?
 
Does the First Amendment require that 'equal time' be given to all faiths in the public school curriculum?
 
May religious scriptures be used in a public school classroom?
 
May teachers use role-playing or simulations to teach about religion?
 
Is it legal to invite guest speakers to help teach about religion?
 
How should teachers respond if students ask them about their religious beliefs?
 
May religious leaders provide crisis counseling to students in public schools?
 
Do outside groups have the right to distribute material on campus?
 
May public schools cooperate with mentoring programs run by religious institutions?
 
May religious institutions provide 'safe shelter' opportunities to students?
 
May schools use facilities owned by religious institutions?
 
May states choose only certain types of businesses to be closed on Sundays?
 
May a student pray at graduation exercises or at other school-sponsored events?
 
May teachers or other school employees participate in student religious clubs?
 
If the Supreme Court struck down Congress' attempt to protect religious liberties in the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, why wouldn't it just do the same thing with RLUIPA?
 
Do cities have the right to restrict the number of churches?
 
May noncurriculum-related student groups use school media to advertise their meetings?
 
What control does the school retain over student meetings in a limited open forum?
 
May the school exclude any student extracurricular group?
 
What may a school do to make it clear that it is not promoting, endorsing or otherwise sponsoring noncurriculum-related student groups?
 
Are religious displays on public property — such as Ten Commandments in historical-documents exhibits — legal?
 
Are religious holiday displays on public property constitutional?
 
If a prisoner who practiced the Sikh religion asked to wear a kirpan (small dagger), saying he needed to wear the kirpan to express his religious faith, must prison officials grant the request?
 
Should society care about inmates' religious rights?
 
Has the Supreme Court ruled on the constitutionality of religious exemptions to state-compelled vaccination?
 
Which states require immunizations for public schoolchildren, and which offer religious exemptions?
 
How are exemption requests evaluated?
 
Are religious exemptions the only way to opt out of mandatory vaccination?
 
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Last system update: Thursday, August 21, 2008 | 17:27:59
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