For years, the Forsyth County Board of Supervisors invited local clergy to deliver sectarian prayers at Board meetings; most of the prayers were Christian. In March 2007, the plaintiffs Americans United and the ACLU of North Carolina challenged the Board’s prayer policy in federal court. In January 2010, the trial court ruled that the prayer policy was unconstitutional and had the effect of affiliating the County with Christianity. Read more
In 1992, Congress established a Program to Encourage Public and Community Service for former military personnel. Under this program, former military personnel can earn credit toward their retirement by working at public- or community-service organizations. The credits enable the former members of the military to receive larger pension payments when they retire. Read more
In 2006, the Arizona created a school-voucher program that provided funds to disabled and foster children to attend private schools, including religious schools. The plaintiffs filed suit in Arizona state court, alleging that the programs violated multiple provisions of the Arizona Constitution.
Although the trial court upheld the voucher program, the Court of Appeals ruled that the program violated the Arizona Constitution's Aid Clause, which prohibits government funding of religious groups. Read more
Central Union Mission operates an overnight shelter for homeless men in Washington, D.C. As part of its program, the Mission proselytizes its homeless clients; homeless men may spend the night at the shelter and stay for lunch on Sundays only if they attend Christian church services--which are generally fundamentalist and evangelical--at the Mission’s chapel. Read more
For years, East Brunswick High School football coach Marcus Borden led his team in prayers before games. After school district officials instructed him to stop doing so, he filed a lawsuit against the school district in federal court in New Jersey. He stopped leading the prayers, but he instructed the team captains to set up a voting system for the team prayer and joined in the players' prayers. Read more
A Pennsylvania public school invited kindergarten parents to visit the classroom and share a talent, game, craft, or story with the class. A parent named Donna Busch wanted to read a Bible passage to the kindergarten students; the school denied her request.
Busch then sued in federal court, alleging that the school violated her First Amendment by prohibiting her from reading the Bible to the kindergarten class. After the trial court dismissed her lawsuit, Busch appealed to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit. Read more