Stenberg v. Carhart
April 27, 2000 2:30 PM   Subscribe

Stenberg v. Carhart Interesting points (no pun intended): "consider a law that violates the principle of separation of church and state by mandating that each public school day begin with a sectarian prayer. The primary purpose of that law would be to advance [a] religion. ...In contrast, consider a law with the proper and constitutional purpose of promoting good citizenship, for example, a law requiring students to recite the pledge of allegiance at the beginning of the public school day. Unlike the school prayer law, this law would not be invalid ... However, it would be unconstitutional ... Forcing those students to recite the pledge would violate their First Amendment rights because the right to speak includes the right not to speak."
posted by greyscale (6 comments total)
Hey! I spent the time to set my preferences on MetaFilter to display type at the size I prefer (even the relative sizes of body type and "small"). When you mess with that, it is disrespectful (not to mention irritating). If typographic contrast is required, by all means, use a different size. But don't set a whole post in a size that is difficult for many (most?) people to read.(I hope I didn't sound like a big meany; sorry.)
posted by sylloge at 2:54 PM on April 27, 2000


we, in france, have separated church from the state in 1792.

Good luck.

no, kiddin' :)
i'm always .....shocked (?) of the...importance (?) of bullsh..religion in USA.
i don't understand how a 'democratic contry' can have its political/ideological powers such tied to religious ones.

cultural shift.
i apologize, it may be off-topic and is NOT trolling
posted by deboute at 3:37 PM on April 27, 2000

Well, supposedly the US separated the church and state in 1791 with the ratification of the Bill of Rights (in particular, the First Amendment). But there are a lot of people out there who think that "separation of church and state" means "recognition that this is a Protestant Country" for some perverse reason.

By the way, wasn't 1792 during "The Terror"? You guys have changed governmental forms at least four times since then and rewritten your constitution each time. Did "separation of church and state" survive through each transition? (I'm truly curious.)

[For reference purposes: 1. Rise of Napoleon, 1799. 2. Restoration of the King in 1815, after "The Hundred Days". 3. Fall of Napoleon 3 (end of the monarchy) and establishment of the Republic after the Franco-Prussian War, 1871. 4. Reestablishment of the Republic after WWII.]
posted by Steven Den Beste at 4:09 PM on April 27, 2000

I always say the Pledge of Allegiance without the "under God", which was not part of the original pledge, but was added by Congress in the 1950s (about the same time as they placed "In God We Trust" on our money).

Yes, it is curious just how many people believe "freedom of religion" means "my freedom to practice my religion anywhere, and screw yours".
posted by dhartung at 9:00 PM on April 27, 2000

Perhaps one of the reasons there is an importance of "bullshit religion" in USA, is because of the variety of faiths, sects, and creeds that roil in that large and diverse land. Each group feels pressure (rightly or wrongly) to protect and even advance its faith. In other countries, this is simply not the case. France for example, has a population of 90% Roman Catholics, making it much less likely that the majority will feel their way of life challanged. However as nations such as France begin to see rising numbers of other faiths, they too will have to deal with those in religious circles attempting to bring their beliefs to the forefront of the national debate.

The first examples of this can be seen in the fight over whether or not Muslims can wear traditional head scarves in public schools...I imagine that diversifying democratic nations the world over will soon find these and other problems of pluarity.
posted by chaz at 9:13 PM on April 27, 2000

re to steven ::
yep, the separation from the state and the church worked quite well for the first years.
It was indeed in the Terror, and it's why it worked quite well [ priests were jailed, churches burned ].
Then, as the revolutionaries became bourgeois, and as Napoleon was seeking some help, he turned toward the church and restored it.

Anyway, now we're a laïc state.

'But there are a lot of people out there who think that "separation of church and state" means "recognition that this is a Protestant Country" for some perverse reason.'
yep, it's really the vue i got . i mean i didn't even knew [ or would have imagined ] that the state was separated from the church in the USA.
with all the holy bibles in the motels, the 'in god we trust', the oaths, the pledges, the televangelists...
re to chaz ::
you made my day! : )
what a wonderful link., factbook..of course, i would have known it existed!

the stat means that 90% of the people who are religious are catholics.

The fight that occurs in public school to prevent muslims for wearing scraves is because public schools are laic, and therefore you can't wear anything that has a religious meaning.
pendants are tolarated [ generally ], but i've seen more than once a teacher asking to a student to remove his catholic cross, or at least to hide it under his clothes
posted by deboute at 1:06 AM on April 28, 2000

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