Religion In Public Schools: Epperson V. Arkansas

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The American Constitution refers to religious freedom as being able to practice the religion of your choice without it being forced upon you. Either individuals chose what religion to practice or they practice no religion at all. There have been controversial impacts when it comes to religious freedom. Implications for federalism related to religious freedom include banning schools from teaching religion and allowing political candidates to make their religion known. Religious freedom also has some implications related to civil rights. In 1993 the RFRA was passed which limited the government’s ability to enforce legislation that infringes upon religious freedom. Same sex couples have recently experience some issues when it comes to marriage. …show more content…
An example of a positive implication is banning schools from teaching religion in public schools. Public schools must follow the restrictions outlined in the First Amendment of the U.S Constitution. The Constitution includes religious clauses. Those clauses are the Establishment Clause and the Free Exercise Clause. The Establishment Clause which prohibits the government from establishing a religion. “The Free Exercise Clause protects citizens' right to practice their religion as they please, so long as the practice does not run afoul of a "public morals" or a "compelling" governmental interest” (n.d.). A case I found supporting this argument is Epperson v. Arkansas. Arkansas passed a law which bans teachers in public schools from teaching any type of religion. They were also prohibited from using religious material and teaching human evolution. Epperson was a school teacher with the argument that her freedom of speech was violated along with the Establishment Clause. The case “settled once and for all the constitutionality of outlawing the teaching of evolutionary theory in the classroom, but it did not end the quest of fundamentalists to change school curriculum to conform to a literal reading of the Bible” (Larson, 1989). On the other hand, there are also negative implications of federalism related to religious freedom. An example of this would be prisons not allowing inmates to do certain things that involves their religion. An example of this is the case of Holt v. Hobbs. Holt was incarcerated in an Arkansas prison. Based on his Muslim beliefs he felt that he should have a beard without it being cut. The policy of the Arkansas prison prohibited inmates from having facial hair more than a quarter inch due to medical reasons. Holt put in a request to be able to have his beard longer but was denied by the prison. “The RLUIPA provides that no government shall impose a