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Freedom of Religion - Part 1

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• In the past few months, two courts have ruled on the constitutionality of including invocations at public high school graduation ceremonies, with mixed results. A California appeals court ruled that the inclusion of a religious invocation in a public high school graduation ceremony violated state and federal constitutional provisions prohibiting the establishment of religion. In reaching its conclusion, the court applied the three-part test often employed by the United States Supreme Court in deciding whether a challenged governmental action violates the first amendment's nonestablishment of religion clause: (1) the governmental action must have a secular purpose; (2) it must not have a primary effect that advances or inhibits religion; and (3) it must not create an excessive entanglement between church and state. The inclusion of invocations at public high school graduation ceremonies ...

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  • September 1, 1987

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