Landmark school-prayer case has sinister connection to Supreme Court today
By Michael Thompson
With news of the U.S. Supreme Court upholding the constitutionality of Obamacare and striking down three of the four provisions of Arizona’s S.B. 1070 dominating the news, the 50th anniversary of a Supreme Court case passed by without recognition.
Engel v. Vitale, decided on June 25, 1962, determined it wasn’t constitutional for state officials to compose an official school prayer or encourage its recitation in public schools.
An amicus curiae was filed by the attorney generals of Arizona, Arkansas, Connecticut, District of Colombia, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Maryland, Mississippi, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Carolina, North Dakota, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Texas and West Virginia urging that the Supreme Court reconfirm the decision of the New York Court of Appeals that declared prayer constitutional.
This decision paved the way for the Supreme Court to rule on June 13, 1965, (Abington School District v. Schempp) that school-sponsored Bible reading in public schools was unconstitutional.
Consolidated into this case was Murray v. Curlett, which was a suit filed by the founder of the American Atheist Madalyn Murray O’Hair, who argued that her young son shouldn’t have to be exposed to Bible readings in Baltimore public schools.
O’Hair’s son, the plaintiff in Murray v. Curlett, was William J. Murray, who now serves as the chairman of the Religious Freedom Coalition, a nonprofit organization based in Washington, D.C., that works to aid Christians living in Muslim and communist-controlled nations.
In an interview with WND, Murray spoke of the Engel v. Vitale case as one of the key Supreme Court decisions that inevitably led to the federal government getting involved in health care. Read more