In 2003, the Texas legislature amended the Texas Education Code, taking a previously optional moment of silence and making it mandatory. The legislature also changed the designated list of options: previously a student could "reflect or meditate"; after the amendment, students could "reflect, pray, meditate, or engage in any other silent activity that is not likely to interfere with or distract another student." 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
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
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
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
The Christian Legal Society challenged the University of California Hastings College of Law’s nondiscrimination policy, which prohibits official recognition of student organizations that discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, ancestry, disability, age, sex, or sexual orientation. CLS sought Hastings’s official recognition, which would have allowed the group to receive school funding and to use the school’s name and facilities. Read more
After learning of several incidents in Washington and other states in which pharmacists refused to fill prescriptions for birth-control pills, emergency contraception, and other medications, the Washington State Board of Pharmacy adopted regulations in July 2007 requiring pharmacies to dispense lawfully prescribed drugs, while allowing individual pharmacists to have a colleague fill a prescription if they themselves object to filling it for religious or moral reasons. Read more
In 1934, members of the Veterans of Foreign Wars put a Latin cross atop a roadside rocky outcropping on federal land in the Mojave National Preserve. That cross and several replacements were destroyed; each time, a private party replaced it. In 1999, the National Park Service refused a request to place a Buddhist stupa near the cross. After the ACLU threatened litigation and the Park Service decided to remove the cross, Congress prohibited use of federal funds to remove the cross. Read more