1948 July 28

NY “Released Time” Law for Religious Instruction Challenged


On this day, a challenge was filed to a New York state law that permitted public school students to be released so that they could take religious instruction classes at religious institutions. The suit claimed that the law violated the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment. The Supreme Court upheld the law in Zorach v. Clauson, on April 28, 1952, ruling that it did not violate the “wall of separation” principle enunciated in Everson v. Board of Education on February 10, 1947.

Justice Hugo Black in dissent: “State help to religion injects political and party prejudices into a holy field. It too often substitutes force for prayer, hate for love, and persecution for persuasion. Government should not be allowed, under cover of the soft euphemism of “cooperation,” to steal into the sacred area of religious choice.”

Learn more about the Establishment Clause: http://www.firstamendmentcenter.org/category/religion

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