Our concern here is that so few people understand either what the Court has ruled with respect to the establishment clause, or how the Court has come to its decisions. Especially since the school prayer and Bible reading decisions of the 1960s, the popular debate has been dominated by a revisionist history of the Supreme Court that both distorts the establishment clause holdings of the Court and ascribes many of these holdings to anti-religious prejudice. In fact, the Court's establishment clause holdings have been limited, pricipled, and religion-neutral; they have not removed God from the public square, they do not animate from anti-religious prejudice, and they have not had adverse consequences on religious freedom that many critics have feared.
We divide this section into three parts. First, we summarize the standards the Supreme Court has developed to adjudicate establishment clause cases. Second, we look at some isses that effect the applicability of these standards in individual cases. Finally, we summarize what the court has held with respect to public and private education, and present a detailed table of important establishment clause cases dealing with educational issues.
Standards for adjudicating establishment clause cases:
The establishment clause and education: