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School Prayer

A Guide to Finding Government and Legal Information

Web version of this guide includes links to web resources.

Search Tips:

Mix and match these terms in searching the library catalog, WestCat , or use them to search journal articles and law reviews via the library's Databases page. You can also use them to search government information sites listed on our Starting Points page - click the tab and pay particular attention to the Top Six.

  • school prayer
  • education
  • prayer in the public schools
  • religion in the public schools
  • ecclesiastical law
  • church and state
  • moment of silence
  • church and education
  • Christianity and politics
  • constitutional law

Related Topics:
  • freedom of religion
  • religious minorities
  • culture war

An important source for many research topics is Congress. Congressional committees and subcommittees hold hearings on a wide variety of controversial and timely subjects. Simply add the word "hearing?" to a search string in WestCat .

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Law Review Articles and Annotations

Law reviews are an important resource for legal topics like this one. They can lead you to laws and cases as well as discuss legal theory. A few law journals are indexed in multidisciplinary databases, but the best bang for your buck will be to search Nexis Uni for full-text access to many hundreds of law reviews.

Federal Government Information
Religious Freedom Protection

A hearing before a subcommittee of the House of Representatives and a call for the clarification of the First Amendment that would give freedom for religious practices in public places. 1996
Y 4.J 89/1:104/123

A Constitutional Amendment for School Prayer

A hearing on a proposed constitutional amendment for school prayer which includes relevant newspaper articles, testimony, and court cases. 1985
Y 4.J 89/2:S.HRG. 99-386

Prayer in Public Schools and Buildings - Federal Court Jurisdiction

The topic of this hearing is how far federal court can restrict or allow prayer in public schools and buildings. Cases, testimony, and specific laws are given. 1980
Y 4.J 89/1:96/63

Religion and Public Schools

This website of the U.S. Department of Education offers guidelines, publications, and resources on religious expression in public schools.

Legal Information
"Sixth Circuit Holds that Opening School Board Meetings With a Prayer is an Establishment of Religion"

An analysis of and a disagreement with the Coles v. Cleveland Board of Education 1999 decision, in which opening a school board meeting with prayer was disallowed.
Harvard Law Review. Vol. 113 No. 5 March 2000 pp 1240-46, use the Periodical Holdings List

"Religious Freedom in the 21st Century: Life Without Lemon"

An article exploring religious issues relating to the "Lemon test", the Establishment Clause, and the uncertainty that now exists in this area of law. The decisions in Lemon v. Kurtzman and all post-1992 Establishment Clause cases are examined.
Southern Illinois University Law Journal. Vol. 23 Spring 1999 pp. 657-91

Religion and the Law

This dictionary on law and religion presents definitions, cases, and history. Legislative efforts regarding school prayer from 1962 to 1998 are explained. 1999
LEGL REF KF 4865. A68 A54 1999 pp. 306-311

The Separation of Church and State

As part of the Exploring the Constitution series, this volume (specifically, chapter 2) examines the historical debate over prayer in school and summarizes case decisions. 1994
LEGL REF KF 4865. A7 M36 1994 pp. 11-34

School Law: Cases and Concepts

A collection of precedent-setting court opinions on a variety of educational legal issues. Chapter 2 features a section entitled, "Religion and the Schools" and covers school-sponsored prayer and Bible reading. 1999
LEGL REF KF 4118. L25 1999 pp. 28-56

A Digest of Supreme Court Decisions Affecting Education

A comprehensive volume of summaries of education cases decided as of December 1994. Chapter 2 focuses on church-state relationships in education. 1995
LEGL REF KF 4114. Z57 1995

The Law of Schools, Students, and Teachers In a Nutshell

This book presents a concise treatment of education law, including a chapter on religion in schools. It discusses prayer in school or in school-related activities, silent meditation, Bible reading, and government support of religious schools.1995
LEGL REF KF 4119.3.A43 1995

School Law Handbook

As part of a look at First Amendment rights of public education students, the landmark cases involving school prayer and moments of silence are explained. 2000
LEGL REF KF 4118 .P 58 1998 v. 1 pp. I - 1:1 to I - 1:35

Education Law

This seven-volume set is an exhaustive source of school law information and includes issues involving school prayers, benedictions, and moments of silence. Extensive case law is provided. 2002
LEGL REF KF 4119 .R36 v. 4 section 11.02[10][b][i] et al.

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