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Where Liberty Meets Justice Essay

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America was the hope of freedom. From the time Thomas Jefferson penned the unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America, the nation has provided to its citizens absolute rights to be honored by the government and the people. When the Bill of Rights was ratified in 1791, Americans could boast a document endowing them the freedom to exercise their religious beliefs outside of the government’s control. America is still the hope of freedom, but it remains for many just that, a hope. They have not effectually realized the full scope of freedom that so many Christians enjoy in the United States, as Americans often guard their freedom at the expense of countless other ideals, including infringement on others’ rightful liberties. The fight for organized prayer in public schools is a small, but significant, element of this greater violation. Christians claim to be fighting for their religious rights, and attempt to validate their position by saying optional prayer is not offensive. However, this assertion does not take into account the position it creates for students opposed to prayer. Government-sanctioned prayer denies the fundamental right to freedom that its supporters claim to seek.
Students should feel free to express their own religious beliefs free from ridicule or ostracism. If public schools maintain a clearly non-religious position in all matters, it levels the playing ground for all faiths represented among the students. Martha C. Nussbaum, Ernst Freund Distinguished Service Professor of Law and Ethics at The University of Chicago Law School, solidly claims, that if the government were to adopt any orthodoxy, it would naturally create “an in-group and an out-group,” by proposing that a particula...


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...e spent arguing about faith-based opinions, the purpose of the institution gets clouded in the stampede of people clambering to plant their footing on one side or the other. Justice for true liberty within the public school system is achieved when all students share equal liberty, devoid of faith-based influences such as organized prayer.



Works Cited

Balk, Howard M. “Chandler V. James: A Student’s Right of Prayer in Public Schools.” BYU Journal of Public Law 15.2 (2001): 243. Academic Search Complete. EBSCO. Web. 7 April 2011.
Davis, Michael J. “Religion, Democracy and the Public Schools.” Journal of Law & Religion 25.1 (2009): 33-56. Academic Search Complete. EBSCO. Web. 7 April 2011.
Nussbaum, Martha C. “Liberty of Conscience: The Attack on Equal Respect.” Journal of Human Development 8.3 (2007): 337-357. Academic Search Complete. EBSCO. Web. 7 April 2011.


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