1971 June 28

Supreme Court Invalidates State “Parochaid” to Religious Schools


In an attempt to circumvent the Supreme Court’s decisions on separation of church and state, and the 1965 Education Act which barred direct federal aid to parochial schools, several states enacted laws providing state financial assistance to private and parochial schools. This approach was labeled “Parochaid.”

In Lemon v. Kurtzman, decided on this day, the Supreme Court declared these programs to be unconstitutional violations of the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment. The decision established a three-prong “Lemon test” regarding government involvement with religious organizations: Any program (1) had to have a secular purpose; (2) could not have the primary purpose of either advancing or inhibiting religion; and (3) must not result in “excessive government entanglement” with religions.

The Court: “The sole question is whether state aid to these schools can be squared with the dictates of the Religion Clauses. Under our system, the choice has been made that government is to be entirely excluded from the area of religious instruction, and churches excluded from the affairs of government. The Constitution decrees that religion must be a private matter for the individual, the family, and the institutions of private choice, and that, while some involvement and entanglement are inevitable, lines must be drawn.”

Learn more about the Establishment Clause at the First Amendment Center: http://www.firstamendmentcenter.org/category/religion

Find a Day

Abortion Rights ACLU african-americans Alice Paul anti-communism Anti-Communist Hysteria Birth Control Brown v. Board of Education Censorship CIA Civil Rights Civil Rights Act of 1964 Cold War Espionage Act FBI First Amendment Fourteenth Amendment freedom of speech Free Speech Gay Rights Hate Speech homosexuality Hoover, J. Edgar HUAC Japanese American Internment King, Dr. Martin Luther Ku Klux Klan Labor Unions Lesbian and Gay Rights Loyalty Oaths McCarthy, Sen. Joe New York Times Obscenity Police Misconduct Same-Sex Marriage Separation of Church and State Sex Discrimination Smith Act Spying Spying on Americans Vietnam War Voting Rights Voting Rights Act of 1965 War on Terror Watergate White House Women's Rights Women's Suffrage World War I World War II Relocation Camps


Tell Us What You Think

We want to hear your comments, criticisms and suggestions!