A Devil of a Controversy.
In 1962 the U.S. Supreme Court handed down a decision which created an immense amount of controversy. The case was Engel v. Vitale, and the issue involved was the freedom of religion guaranteed by the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. There are few legal disputes which trigger the degree of emotional involvement among the populace as those involving the freedom of religion. Other than desegregation, there was no legal issue in the 1960s which aroused such widespread interest and criticism of the highest court in the land. In part this reaction was due to the importance of religion to many Americans. In part it was due to a dichotomy which is reflected in the Constitution itself. The freedom of religion set forth in that document really embodies two separate and often conflicting concepts. One portion of the right consists of the establishment clause which prohibits the establishment of...
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