News Display: Engel v Vitale
By: Education Program Gottesman Libraries
Published: 04/02/2018
Uploaded: 04/02/2018
Uploaded by: Education Program Gottesman Libraries
Pockets: Gottesman Libraries Archive, Gottesman Libraries' Education Program, News Displays
Tags: Engel versus Vitale, law and education, New York schools, public schools, religious freedom, school prayer

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Description/Abstract: News Display: Engel v Vitale, Tuesday, 4/3

April 3rd, 1962 marks the date when the landmark case of Engel versus Vitale was argued on the basis that it was unconstitutional for state officials to compose a school prayer and encourage its use in public schools. The prayer in question,

"Almighty God, we acknowledge our dependence upon Thee, and we beg Thy blessings upon us, our parents, our teachers and our country. Amen."

had been recited by public school students since 1958 in New Hyde Park, New York until families, led by Steven Engel, of Jewish heritage, contested it violated their religious beliefs. With only seven Supreme Court justices presiding -- Chief Justice Earl Warren, and Associate Justices Hugo L. Black, William J. Brennan, Jr., Tom C. Clark, William O. Douglas, John Harlan II, and Potter Stewart -- the ruling on June 25th, 1962 effectively made it unconstitutional for prayer to be used in public schools.

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