Civil Liberties v. Civil Rights - Coach Baker's Class

Civil Liberties—protections against
government (Ex: Bill of Rights)
Civil Rights—positive acts of government that
try to make constitutional guarantees a
reality for all people (Ex: Civil Rights Act of
1964—the gov’t outlawed racial
Rights are relative, not absolute!!!!!
Your rights end where someone else’s rights
begin (i.e. your rights are limited to protect
other people’s rights)
All persons have the right to do as they please
as long as they do not infringe on the rights of
Establishment Clause—”Congress shall make
no law respecting an establishment of
Free-Exercise Clause—”or prohibiting the free
exercise thereof”
Thomas Jefferson said that the Establishment
Clause set up “a wall of separation between
church and state.” Do we in the US have
separation of church & state? Do you see
religion in our government?
Churches exempt from taxes, oath of office
mentions God, pledge of allegiance mentions
God, chaplains in the military, Congress and
many state legislatures open with prayer,
coins/currency reference God
Should public tax money be spent on buses
for private parochial schools as well as public?
Everson v. Board of Education (1947) the court
upheld NJ state law that provided tax
supported buses to all schools, including
parochial, because it was a safety issue
Released Time—release students during
school hours to attend religious classes?
It depends upon where the classes are held
McCollum v. Board of Education (1948)-the court
struck down the released time program in
Champaign, Illinois, because it used public
facilities for religious purposes
Zorach v. Clausen (1952)—the court upheld
NYC’s released time program because the
religious classes were held in private places (like
The State Board of Regents of New York
required the recitation of a 22-word
nonsectarian prayer at the beginning of each
school day.
Engel v. Vitale (1962)—court found this
unconstitutional because religious beliefs were
embodied in the prayer
Stone v. Graham (1980)-struck down a Kentucky
law to post Ten Commandments in all public
school classrooms
Schools cannot sponsor religious exercises
Equal Access Act of 1984—public schools that
get federal money must allow student
religious groups to meet in the school on the
same terms as other organizations
The Lemon Test
1. The purpose of the aid must be secular, not
2. Its primary effect must neither advance nor
inhibit religion
3. It must avoid an “excessive entanglement of
government with religion”
At Christmas, the county places a large
display celebrating the birth of Jesus on the
grand stairway to the courthouse, with a
banner proclaiming “Glory to God in the
County of Allegheny v. ACLU (1989)-the court
held that the display “endorsed Christian
doctrine”, which violated the 1st amendment
Religious displays are allowed if they also
feature nonreligious objects such as candy
canes & Santa’s sleigh or if they include other
religious objects (menorah)
Free Exercise Clause—guarantees each
person the right to believe whatever he or she
chooses in matters of religion
Reynolds, a Muslim, moves here from Kenya
with his 2 wives. The practice, polygamy, was
allowed back home and is accepted by the
teachings of his church. The US only
recognizes one of the women as his legal wife
and tells him he can no longer have 2 wives. Is
his first amendment right to freedom of
religion being infringed upon?
Limits on freedom of religion—you cannot
break laws, offend public morals, or threaten
the safety of the community
No polygamy, no poisonous snake handling,
no illegal drug use, etc.