The public school is at once the symbol of our democracy and the most pervasive means for promoting our common destiny. In no activity of the State is it more vital to keep out divisive forces than in its schools, to avoid confusing, not to say fusing, what the Constitution sought to keep strictly apart.
–McCollum v. Board of Education 333 U.S. 203, 231 (1948)
The Freedom From Religion Foundation receives and acts upon thousands of violations of the constitutional separation between state and church each year. More than half of these violations, unfortunately, occur in our nation’s public schools, violating the rights of our youngest and most vulnerable population. This brochure explains the state of the law, and why it firmly bars divisive religious instruction and rituals in our public schools.
Schools exist to educate, not to indoctrinate. As government bodies charged with educating children of all citizens, regardless of religion or irreligion, public schools may not advance or endorse religion.
When a school sponsors religion, it signals to “nonadherents ‘that they are outsiders, not full members of the political community and [sends an] accompanying message to adherents that they are insiders, favored members of the political community.’ ” Santa Fe, quoting Lynch.
School-endorsed religion not only violates the law, but excludes the rapidly-growing percentage of nonreligious citizens, including 35% of Millennials (those born after 1981).