FirstAmendment: Religion and Education

FirstAmendment: Religion and Education

Religion is a controversial subject in the society because of thedifferent perspectives individuals hold on the same. It is essentialthat one respects the stand an individual takes when it comes to thepractice of a particular religion. The decision by the student topresent an assignment confirming that Jesus is their personal herowas justified. Irrespective of the stand taken by the student, thereare legal issues that come into play. The first legal issue that isevident regards the concept of respecting the right of individuals topractice the religion of their choice. The Constitution under thesection of Bill of Rights guarantees freedoms of religion (Dworkin,2013).

In grading the student, it could be vital to question the decisionmade to use Jesus as a personal hero. In the context of thediscussion, the instructions demanded that students give an exampleof an individual, probably human in nature who had an impact on them.The student decides to present an assignment confirming Jesus astheir savior, a move that could be seen as failure to adhere tooriginal instructions. It is critical to assess whether or not thestudent did the assignment in according to the original instructionsof the assignment. Failing the student under the circumstances isessential since he failed to adhere to the instructions. It would notbe prudent to display the student’s work because it fails to stickto the instructions. It was illogical to compare Jesus to a mortalbeing. Because of the same, the student’s work can be disregardedon grounds that it failed to adhere to the instructions.

The decision not to grade the student and display their work couldelicit a legal argument as one can state that they have been deniedmarks based on the position they take regarding religion. It isessential to consider that failure to grade and display the student’swork ought not be confused with infringement of one’s right topractice a religion of their choice. Moreover, being an institutionof learning, one has the mandate of ensuring that they observe theConstitution irrespective of the prevailing circumstances. Displayingthe student’s work would be a violation of the First Amendment asstated in the Constitution,

The Free Exercise Clause protects citizens` right to practicetheir religion as they please, so long as the practice does not runafoul of a &quotpublic morals&quot or a &quotcompelling&quotgovernmental interest.” (Chopper, 2013)

In the case of the student, they are at liberty to practice thereligion since it does not infringe others. The situation presentedin class can be interpreted with reference to a case by U.S. SupremeCourt in Lemon v. Kurtzman, 403 U.S. 602(1971) (Simson, 2015). Underthe circumstances, it would be wrong to allow the student to displaythe picture since it would be portrayed as an act of promoting aparticular religion. Failure to grade and display the picture wouldbe in line with the decision made in the Lemon case. Similarly, thedecision should be guided by a landmark ruling made by the UnitedStates Supreme Court on Engel v. Vitale, 370 U.S. 421 (1962) (Bennet&amp Foldesy, 2014). The court decided that composition of anofficial school prayer and promoting its recitation in the publicschools was unconstitutional. Allowing the student to present thepiece of work and display the picture could be seen as a way ofencouraging the practice of a particular religion. Finally, thedecision not to display the work could be guided by a decisionreached by the Jury in Santa Fe ISD v. Doe (2000) where schools werebanned from organizing prayers during football games (Willet et al.,2014).


Bennett, T., &amp Foldesy, G. (2014). A study of the religiousorientation of public school districts located in the Bible Belt ofthe United States. Journal of the European Teacher EducationNetwork, 9, 12-21.

Choper, J. H. (2013). Securing Religious Liberty: Principles forJudicial Interpretation of the Religion Clauses. Quid Pro Books.

Dworkin, R. (2013). Religion without god. Harvard UniversityPress.

Simson, G. J. (2015). Religious Arguments by Citizens to InfluencePublic Policy: The Lessons of the Establishment Clause. Mercer LawReview, 66, 273.

Willett, J. B., Goldfine, B., Seidler, T., Gillentine, A., &ampMarley, S. (2014). Prayer 101: Deciphering the Law—What Every Coachand Administrator Should Know. Journal of Physical Education,Recreation and Dance, 85(9), 15-19.