Abington School District v. Schempp
Murray v. Curlett (1963)
“The Fool hath said in his heart, there is no God. Corrupt are they, and have done abominable iniquity:” Psalm 53:1
The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania by law, 24 Pa. Stat. 15-1516, as amended, Pub. Law 1928 (Supp. 1960) Dec. 17, 1959, requires that "at least ten verses from the Holy Bible shall be read, without comment, at the opening of each public school on each school day. Any child shall be excused from such Bible reading, or attending such Bible reading, upon the written request of his parent or guardian."
The Schempp family, husband and wife and two of their three children, brought suit to enjoin enforcement of the statute. Edward Lewis Schempp, his wife Sidney, and their children, Roger and Donna, are of the Unitarian faith and are members of the Unitarian church in Germantown, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, where they, as well as another son, Ellory, regularly attend religious services.
Important note: Unitarians do not believe in the following:
• Jesus was not the Son of God
• No Trinity
• Bible is not the Word of God
• No such thing as sin
• Man can make it on his own and does not need a redeemer.
On each school day at the Abington Senior High School between 8:15 and 8:30 am, while the pupils are attending their home rooms or advisory sections, opening exercises are conducted pursuant to the statute. The exercises are broadcast into each room in the school building through an intercommunications system and are conducted, under the supervision of a teacher, by students attending the school's radio and television workshop. Selected students from this course gather each morning in the school's workshop studio for the exercises, which include readings by one of the students of 10 verses of the Holy Bible, broadcast to each room in the building. This is followed by the recitation of the Lord's Prayer, likewise over the intercommunications system, but also by the students in the various classrooms, who are asked to stand and join in repeating the prayer in unison. The exercises are then closed with the salute to the flag.
The two Schempp children testified that they never protested to their teachers or other authorities concerning Bible reading. In fact Donna Schempp herself had volunteered to read the Bible.
Though the court could show no previous case showing that Bible reading was unconstitutional, (if they did look it would show them that it has always been apart of our education), they brought in a Dr Solomon Grayzel who testified to the following:
• The concept of Jesus Christ as the Son of God was practically blasphemous.
• He sighted that if portions of the New Testament were read without explanation, they could be psychologically harmful to the child.
In Murray v. Curlett
Mrs. Madalyn Murray and her son, William, who are both professed atheists, were suing the local school board because of prayer and Bible reading that was taking place in his school. This practice had been required since 1905. They felt that their view of life was in question because the schools taught the following as expressed by the petitioner:
“…it, (the public school), pronounces belief in God as the source of all moral and spiritual values, equating these values with religious values, and thereby renders sinister, alien and suspects the beliefs and ideals of (Atheists), promoting doubt and question of their morality, good citizenship and good faith.”
As a result of their petition, the Maryland Court of Appeals held that the exercise in school was not in violation of the first and fourteenth Amendments. The Supreme Court reversed the decision saying that: “the First Amendment, in its final form, did not simply bar a congressional enactment establishing a (National) church; it forbade all laws respecting an establishment of religion. Thus, this court has given the Amendment a broad interpretation.”
The Supreme Court ruled 8 – 1 that the Bible had no place in a public school. Justice Stewart, who dissented from the ruling, said:
“We err in the first place if we do not recognize, as a matter of history and as a matter of the imperatives of our free society, that religion and government must necessarily interact in countless ways … A single obvious example should suffice to make the point. Spending federal funds to employ chaplains for the armed forces might be said to violate the Establishment Clause. Yet a lonely soldier stationed at some faraway outpost could surely complain that a government which did not provide him the opportunity for pastoral guidance was affirmatively prohibiting the free exercise of his religion.”
Justice Stewart was one of the only justices that had previous federal law experience before his appointment. For example, Chief Justice Earl Warren, prior to his appointment was Governor of California for ten years. Justice Black was a senator for ten years prior to his appointment and Justice Frankfurter was a founding member of the ACLU. Most of the court was bent on removing the influence of Christianity regardless of what the Constitution said.
It’s no wonder Chief Justice Earl Warren said that the Constitution was an elastic document. He meant that it does not matter what the founders implied, but it changes as society changes. This is what is known as a “Living Constitution”.
What did our Founding Fathers say about Bible in our schools?
Benjamin Rush, signer of the Declaration of Independence:
“The great enemy of the salvation of man, in my opinion, never invented a more effectual means of extirpating Christianity from the world than by persuading mankind that it was improper to read the Bible at schools. The Bible, when not read in schools, is seldom read in any subsequent period of life. . . . It should be read in our schools in preference to all other books from its containing the greatest portion of that kind of knowledge which is calculated to produce private and public temporal happiness.”
Fisher Ames, author of the house language for the First Amendment:
“Should not the Bible regain the place it once held as a school book? Its morals are pure, it’s examples captivating and noble. The reverence for the Sacred Book that is thus early impressed lasts long; and probably if not impressed in infancy, never takes firm hold of the mind.”
The Supreme Court ruling pulled down the foundation of morality when God and his word were officially told to get out of the schools of America. If the Supreme Court could see what their decisions have done to the schools today they would have never allowed the Bible to be removed.
I myself remember when I was in school doing plays for the PTA. One of the plays was about Noah and the Ark. Like a domino effect, decision after decision would make it a crime to even pray during lunch over a meal if someone heard it. One needs to remember that there is no neutrality in morality. We will either live in a moral society or an immoral one, let history be the judge.
Today, young people in our schools do not understand anything about right and wrong. Once God was removed absolutes went too. Studies now show that over 90% of Christians who go to a public school do not believe in the absolutes of right and wrong. Who is influencing who?
The one good thing that did come out of this is young William Murray, who claimed with help of his mother, to be an atheist. When he grew up, he determined that there was a Creator God and his name is Jesus Christ. William accepted Christ and became an evangelist trying to undo the damage that his mother caused.
May God open the spiritual eyes and hearts of America before it’s too late.
“My people are destroyed because of lack of knowledge … I will reject your children.” Hosea 4:6
You may be reading this and you have never answered the most important question in your life and that is …
How does anyone get to heaven?
First realize that they cannot get to heaven on their own merits. The Bible says that “For all have sinned and come short (that means everybody can’t get to Heaven on their own) of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23)
Jesus Christ (who is the Son of the living God) came to earth and was born of a virgin woman (therefore he was not born of the curse of mankind) he lived a sinless life and died on a cross for all the sins in the world. Three days later, God the Father raised Him from the dead. He was seen of 500 witnesses and returned to heaven. God’s word says that if we believe these things and call upon the Lord, we will be saved. Romans 10:9 - 13