Our Christian Rights At Public Schools
(compiled from court rulings, law, and government directives)
to American Center
For Law and Justice and the American
Family Association Center For Law and Policy for information
and their assistance in the following:
The following issues have all been established as legal rights
by the courts and government. It is important that you request
a unified meeting with your local school superintendents and school
boards and request that they review the following laws and regulations
for the purpose of clarification and identification of you and
your children's legal rights. Then request that the school
board put these legal rights in the record and mandate the following
at your local schools in order to support and maintain America's
Great Sacred Heritage. There is much misinformation and deception
circulated in error concerning these rights. Unless we Christians
take a stand, these rights will not be fully known and our children
will be victims of the lies of those who stand opposed to our
rights and America's Christian Heritage. The meeting with the
Superintendent and the school board should be attended and supported
by a number of committed parents and local leaders, community
and political, if possible. Follow up with sending copies to
and meetings with local principals with a letter of purpose. Don't
forget, they work for the citizens and 85% of Americans are Christians-
that means you have rights- your voice and your vote. It is time
we stood up for our legal rights and America's Christian Heritage.
May God Bless America Again!
phrases "God Bless America" and "In
God We Trust" (Our National motto) are legal and
protected right of free speech (by the courts).
the Pledge of Allegiance, "under God", is legal
free speech (by the courts).
"Moment of Silence" (and now in many states
also "or prayer" - check with your state) is
legal ( this is conditional, that is, it is permitted when done
in accordance with the guidelines approved by prior court decisions.
(Cf. Brown v. Gilmore, 533 U.S. 1301 (2001) (Rehnquist, C.J.,
denying application for injunction against Virginia moment of
Elective Bible courses are legal (approved Bible curriculum
has been developed and is being taught already in many school
districts in 33 states) - we cannot however evangelize or
have teacher led prayer; reference Supreme Court cases "Stone
vs. Graham", "Edwards vs. Aguillard", "Zorach
vs. Clausen", Federal District Court case "Wiley vs.
Franklin." The National Council on Bible Curriculum
in Public Schools is the oldest and largest organization offering
a curriculum meeting constitutional guidelines. Their website
of U.S. history and the facts of our Christian Heritage is legal
and should be taught whenever possible. We were founded a Christian
nation and a great many of our founding documents reflect that
fact -to deny it or not teach it would be a gross error as to
our heritage and history. We cannot however, evangelize; that
is attempt to convince someone to turn their life over to Christ
in the classroom.
clubs and Christian clubs are legal and upheld by the courts
at schools as long as there are other secular clubs. If the
secular clubs can meet after school instruction hours then Christian
based clubs have the same rights.
2. Religious based organizations can use school facilities
after hours if other groups have that privilege (Equal
Access Act), EAA, 20 USC 4071, 1984.
3. Student led and initiated prayer is legal at football
games if done impromptu, not over P.A. system, and not led or
assigned by faculty or administrators.
4. A Bible or Christian group can advertise and make announcements
at school if other groups and clubs are allowed.
5. High school Christians can wear Christian messages on
their clothes, share their faith at non-instructional times, pass
out tracts; junior high students have the right to pray and have
religious discussions on their campus, distribute literature with
some restrictions, can wear religious t-shirts to school, form
religious clubs to the extent that students may express themselves
through the same means on other topics and in forming clubs and
organizations. In other words, the school may impose reasonable
restrictions on when, where and so on, provided it is done equally
to all, and Christians are not singled out for adverse treatment.
The same is true of Christians passing out holiday and religious
cards and wearing symbols and the like.
6. Valedictorians, salutatorians, honorary student speakers
can give speeches on religious subjects, including reading
from the Bible; baccalaureate services are permitted and if the
school facilities are available to other groups then they most
be made available for baccalaureate services.
7. Students are free to observe religious holidays and express
their beliefs and convictions as they apply to a particular
holiday; they have the right to distribute Christmas cards or
religious tracts on the "true meaning of Christmas"
during non-instructional times.
8. Students may express their beliefs during classroom discussions,
as well as in the context of appropriate classroom assignments;
they may draw a picture, write a poem, prepare an essay on any
topic of choice ( the birth of Christ etc.) or any religious subject
the student wishes. School officials cannot discriminate against
a student's work simply because of its religious nature.
9. Students may opt out of a class for objectionable religious
reasons. The Hatch
Amendment passed in 1984 allowed parents the right
to opt out their children if the school made use of experimental
or values-related classes that depart from academics. The Hatch
Amendment stated that the parents have the right to examine and
inspect all instructional material, including that used in experimental
or testing programs. Unless parental consent is given, no
student shall be required to submit to any kind of test designed
to reveal information of a non-academic nature. Know what your
child is being exposed to in school! (This does vary as to
magnitude and dimension of opt-out and on what issues from state
to state- check on your state laws also). Click
here to obtain a letter to your School Principal
enforcing YOUR childs rights as a student based on Hatch Amendment
- this is extremely important.
10. "Music, art, literature and drama having religious
themes or basis are permitted as part of curriculum for school-sponsored
activities and programs if presented in a prudent and objective
manner and as a traditional part of cultural and religious heritage
of the particular holiday"; reference The Supreme Court
in the case Florey vs. Sioux Falls School District 1980.
11. The Supreme Court has indicated many times that teaching
about religion, as distinguished from religious indoctrination,
is an important part of a complete education.
Parental Rights in Public Education Focus
on The Family Article.
Guidelines for Religion in Public Schools, Sec of Ed
- Feb, 2003
2 - Aug, 1995
of Education - Letter on Constitutionally Protected Prayer
public school's approach to religion in the curriculum must be
academic not evangelical - "A
Parents Guide to Religion in Public Schools," by
the National Congress of Parents and Teachers.
12. Christmas trees and the expression Christmas and "Christmas
Holidays" are legal.
13. Students may bring Bibles or religious books or literature
to school as long as they do not disrupt instructional times.
14. Schools have the discretion of releasing students from
lessons that are objectionable on religious or conscientious grounds-
not generally excused from lessons that may be inconsistent with
their religious beliefs; schools may dismiss students to off-campus
15. Praying in groups or alone is allowable and legal (including
lunch-time and between classes) if it does not interfere with
16. Religious symbols may be worn by students and even
used as tools for classroom instruction or dramas, including crosses,
menorah, Star of David, and nativity scenes (see number 9 for
17. Christmas carols and Christmas plays and musicals may be
allowed if they do not evangelize openly; The Supreme Court
stated "Music, without sacred music, architecture minus
the cathedral, or painting, without scriptural themes would be
eccentric, and incomplete, even from a secular point of view.
One can hardly respect a system of education that would leave
a student wholly ignorant of the currents of religious thought
that moved the world society for a part in which he is being prepared.
.It would be literally impossible to develop a public school curriculum
that did not in some way affect the religious or non-religious
sensibilities of some of the students or their parents. School
administrators should, of course, be sensitive to the religious
beliefs or disbeliefs of their constituents and should attempt
to avoid conflict, but they need not and should not sacrifice
the quality of the student's education. They need only insure
that the primary effect of the school's policy is secular."
"Florey vs. Sioux Falls school district", US
Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit.
18. The American Family Association, The Christian Law Association,
Christian Legal Society, American Center For Law and Justice,
Alliance Defense Fund, the Liberty Counsel, the Pacific Justice
Institute, the Rutherford Institute will assist and even defend
religious rights of school districts, teachers, students, or parents
19. The Supreme Court has time and time again affirmed the
well established principle that parents possess a right to control
the upbringing of their children. The Congress, in 1978, sought
to protect parental rights when they enacted the "Protection
Of Pupil's Rights Act (PPRA)" sometimes referred to as the
Hatch Amendment. The PPRA permits parents to inspect classroom
materials. Additionally many states have laws granting parents
the right to remove their children from certain courses, typically
sex or health education courses. A parent's right to remove a
child from objectionable classroom instruction and activity is
grounded in three constitutional provisions:
The Fourteenth Amendment Due Process Law and the First Amendment
Free Speech and Free Exercise Clause.
The following are the Laws Provisions and Amendments on which
this right is based:
The potential scenarios faced by Christian parents typically fall
into two basic categories; those that involve some degree of student
coercion and those that involve mere "exposure" to objectionable
or offensive ideas. There is a strong constitutional argument
under the Fourteenth Amendment, that parents, and only parents,
have the right to direct their children's moral, ethical, and
religious development. The claim of Christian parents that
school curricula has infringed their right under the due Process
Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to control the education of
their children is derived from a line of significant Supreme Court
cases. When the challenged activity involves coercion, the First
Amendment Free Speech Clause may offer the strongest argument
against it. Whenever a student is forced to participate in a classroom
activity or to embrace an opinion contrary to that student's or
his parent's religious beliefs, constitutional issues immediately
arise. The Free Exercise Clause provides another ground upon
which parents can challenge not only coercion, but the mere exposure
of school children to classroom instruction, material or activity
that is hostile to their faith. Indeed it can be argued that exposure
to offensive material, as opposed to forced participation in an
activity, is simply a more subtle variety of coercion. The Free
Exercise argument asserts that the school's choice of certain
instructional materials effectively indoctrinates school children
with values and beliefs hostile to the family's religious faith.
By initiating and maintaining an open dialogue with school administrators
on this issue, parents can serve as a grassroots catalyst for
educational reform. Parents should also consider running for school
board and becoming involved in school policy decision making.
In taking such affirmative steps at the local level, parents can
influence school curriculum and encourage the adoption of opt-out
Quotes and Principles
The Supreme Court of The United States, in the case of
the Church of the Holy Spirit v. United States, 1892 said this:
"These, and many other matters which might be noticed, add
a volume of unofficial declarations to the mass of organic utterances,
that this is a Christian nation." (This U.S. Supreme Court
opinion includes a lengthy and detailed record of the historic
evidences of America's Christian heritage.)
George Washington presided over the Constitutional Convention
and said: "If I could have entertained the slightest apprehension
that the Constitution framed in the Convention, where I had the
honor to preside, might possibly endanger the religious rights
of any ecclesiastical society, certainly I would never have placed
my signature to it." ( Reply to Virginia United Baptist Churches,
May 10, 1789 ).
Washington's "General Thanksgiving" speech Oct.
"Whereas it is the duty of all nations to acknowledge
the providence of Almighty God, to obey His will, to be grateful
for His benefits, and humbly to implore His protection and favor;
and whereas both Houses of Congress have, by their joint committee,
requested me "to recommend to the people of the United States
a Day Of Public Thanksgiving And Prayer, to be observed by acknowledging
with grateful hearts the many and signal favors of Almighty God
Samuel Adams, member of the Continental Congress and signer
of the Declaration: " Let
statesmen and patriots unite
in their endeavors to renovate the age by
little boys and girls..and leading them in the study and practice
of the exalted virtues of the Christian system."
Patrick Henry, Delegate to the 2nd Continental Congress,
Congressman and five-time governor to Virginia; turned down nominations
as Secretary of State and Chief Justice of the Supreme Court "It
cannot be emphasized too strongly or too often that this great
nation was founded, not by religionists, but by Christians; not
on religions, but on the gospel of Jesus Christ! For this reason
peoples of other faiths have been afforded asylum, prosperity,
and freedom of worship here."
John Adams, member of the Continental Congress,2nd President
of the United States, Vice President To the U.S., Commissioner
to France, U.S. Ambassador to England: "We have no government
armed with power capable of contending with human passions unbridled
by morality and religion
Our Constitution was made only for
a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate for the
government of any other."
Thomas Jefferson,"No power over the freedom of religion
delegated to the United States by the Constitution."
Fisher Ames, delegate to the Constitutional Convention
and co-writer of the First Amendment wrote:
should always remain the principle text book in America's classrooms.
Its morals are pure, its examples captivating and noble
Bible will justly remain the standard of language as well as of
Rush, signer of the Declaration, member of Continental Congress,
founder of 5 universities, in a "Defense of the Use of The
Bible in Schools", 1791; "Surely future generations
wouldn't try to take the Bible out of schools. In contemplating
the political institutions of the United States, if we were to
remove the Bible from schools, I lament that we could be wasting
so much time and money in punishing crime and would be taking
so little plains to prevent them."
Alex de Tocqueville, French author and philosopher of renown
who came on extended stay in America to find out the secret of
the success of the American Independence : " Upon my arrival
in the United States, the religious aspect of the country was
the first thing that struck my attention
The Americans combine
the notions of Christianity and of liberty so intimately in their
minds, that it is impossible to make them conceive the one without
Religion in America
as the foremost of the political institutions of that country
the earliest settlement of the emigrants, politics and religion
contracted an alliance which has never been dissolved."
John Quincy Adams, President of the U.S.: "The highest
glory of the American Revolution was this; it connected, in one
indissoluble bond the principles of civil government with the
principles of Christianity
The United States of America
were no longer colonies. They were an independent nation of Christians."
Abraham Lincoln: "We have forgotten God. We have forgotten
the gracious hand which preserved us in peace and multiplied and
enriched and strengthened us, and we have vainly imagined, in
the deceitfulness of our hearts, that all these blessings were
produced by some superior wisdom and virtue of our own. Intoxicated
with unbroken success, we have become too self-sufficient to feel
the necessity of redeeming and preserving grace, too proud to
pray to the God that made us."
Harry Truman, President of U.S.: "the basis of our Bill
of Rights comes from the teachings we get from Exodus and St.
Matthew, from Isaiah and St. Paul. I don't think we emphasize
that enough these days. If we don't have a proper fundamental
moral background, we will finally end up with a ..government which
does not believe in rights for anybody except the state."
The Gallup Organization reports, "In the aftermath of
the recent school shootings in the nation's schools, more people
are calling for a return to traditional family values- including
prayer in the classrooms." **
70% favor allowing spoken daily prayers in the classroom
want the Bible to be used in literature, history, and social
3 out of every 4 want to let public schools display the Ten
overwhelming 83% favor allowing students to offer prayer aloud
as part of official graduation ceremonies
Lord Commands, Warns And Exhorts Us:
Deuteronomy 30: 11-16; 19-20 "Now what I am commanding
you is not too difficult for you or beyond your reach. It is not
in heaven, so that you have to ask, "Who will ascend into
heaven to get it and proclaim it to us so we may obey it? Nor
is it beyond the sea, so that you have to ask, " Who will
cross the sea to get it and proclaim it to us so we may obey it?"
No, the word is very near you; it is in your mouth and in your
heart so that you may obey it. See, I set before you today life
and prosperity, death and destruction. For I command you today
to love the Lord your God, to walk in His ways, and to keep His
commands, laws and decrees; then you will live and increase, and
the Lord your God will bless you in the land you are entering
This day I call heaven and earth as witnesses against you and
I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now
choose life, so that you and your children may live and that you
may love the Lord your God, listen to His voice, and hold fast
to Him. For the Lord is your life, and He will give you many years
in the land He swore to give to your fathers, Abraham, Isaac,
"So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly
rewarded. You need to persevere so that when you have done the
will of God, you will receive what He has promised
one will live by faith. And if he shrinks back, I will not be
pleased with him.' But we are not of those who shrink back and
are destroyed, but of those who believe and are saved." Hebrews
I looked for a man among them who would build up the wall and
stand before me in the gap on behalf of the land so I would not
have to destroy it, but I found none." Ezekiel 23:30
"You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.
If you love me you will obey what I command." John 14:14-15
May God help, Protect and Bless America and may He hear our
hearts and see our actions as we turn to Him in Love, Faith and
"If We Do The Possible, God Will Do The Impossible!"
Murray Hornsby, Director,
American Heritage Alliance Inc. - The Nehemiah Ministry
Compiled and written by Murray Hornsby
God Bless You!
**Gallup Poll 7/9/99