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There is no such source and cause of strife quarrel fights malignant opposition persecution and war and all evil in the state as religion Let it once enter our civil affairs our government would soon be destroyed Let it once enter our common schools they would be destroyed Supreme Court of Wisconsin Weiss v District Board 1890-MAR-18 Religious faith can be a powerful force either for good or evil When the US Constitution was written the countrys political leaders were well aware of the many decades of religiously-motivated strife that had resulted in so many deaths throughout Europe In order to avoid transplanting religious hatreds from Europe to America they incorporated the Establishment Clause into the First Amendment to the US Constitution As interpreted by various courts it requires a separation between church and state This seems to be a beneficial relationship that has served the country well Church affiliation and attendance in the US are the highest of all industrialized nations The USA has relative peace among followers of different religions and of no religion The country has avoided the type of religiously-based conflicts civil wars crimes against humanity and genocides which have occurred in so many other countries Many of the religious organizations throughout the country are healthy and vigorous The principle of separation of church and state affects all government functions including public schools In 1948 the US Supreme Court declared that religious instruction in public school was unconstitutional In 1963 it ruled that mandatory reading of Bible verses or prayers are similarly unconstitutional However the same First Amendment guarantees that students may engage in many forms of non-disruptive personal religious expression including the wearing of religious clothing and jewelry They can pray individually or in student-led groups on the school bus at the flagpole before lunch in the corridors in the classroom before and after lessons at sports events etc They can talk freely
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