The Warren Court (1953–69)

Freedom of Religion

Did the Supreme Court say the Bible could not be discussed in public schools?

No, the Court did not rule that the Bible was banned from public schools. Popular opposition to the Supreme Court grew after the school prayer decisions, as some alleged that the Court had “kicked God out of the public schools.” However, a close reading of the Court’s Abington Township decision reveals the opposite. Justice Tom C. Clark explained:

It might well be said that one’s education is not complete without a study of comparative religion or the history of religion and its relationship to the advancement of civilization. It certainly may be said that the Bible is worthy of study for its literary and historic qualities. Nothing we have said here indicates that such study of the Bible or of religion, when presented objectively as part of a secular program of education, may not be effected consistently with the First Amendment.


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