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Engel v. Vitale

Official State Prayer

Even though schoolchildren now have the right, under the First Amendment's free-exercise clause, to pray silently while at school, there are some who would like a state-sponsored school prayer. The proponents of school prayer believe that bringing religion into the classroom will make our society less violent. They also believe that not allowing prayer in school takes away the rights of those who wish to do so. They also argue that adopting a formal prayer does not force anyone to pray who does not want to.

Opponents to formal prayer argue that it is not a necessary activity and that it would force atheists and children in minority religions to conform with the majority. They also counter that allowing prayer into schools would be a clear violation of the First Amendment religious guarantees.

Additional topics

Law Library - American Law and Legal InformationNotable Trials and Court Cases - 1954 to 1962Engel v. Vitale - Significance, Justice Black For The Majority Declares Public School Prayer Wholly Unconstitutional, Official State Prayer