The underlying rationale for this decision was that public schools represent the State, hence teaching the Bible in public schools amounted to the establishment of religion by the State, and violated the religious freedom guaranteed to every individual under the first Amendment of the United States Constitution. Therefore, the current belief is that individual privacy and freedom of religious belief must be preserved at all costs. However, in the interim period that has elapsed, the incidence of drug and alcohol use among students has escalated and juvenile crime is exploding at unprecedented rates, as substantiated through many studies (Dawkins, 1997).
While the reasons for this phenomenon could be many, it also appears likely that the lack of religious/spiritual instruction in public schools has opened the way to permissive and immoral behavioral patterns such as alcohol and drug use. The period of adolescence, in particular, is a crucial period where a child seeks to develop his or her own identity as a person. In particular, where children from low socioeconomic groups are concerned, the lack of religious instruction and discipline at dysfunctional homes requires religious education even more.
The imparting of spiritual values provides growing children with a sense of right and wrong and helps them to grow into responsible adults. The introduction of school prayer and religious instruction provides children a time of spiritual seeking, a time when they are reminded of ethical and moral values and thereby introduces a sense of discipline and order into their lives, apart from providing them an oasis of peace and understanding. As pointed out by Mehta (2007) many school districts are starting to reintroduce the Bible into the curriculum due to the increased attention to religion in public life.
She points out that in the historic decision of Engel v Vitale, Justice Tom C Clark had emphasized that “ the Bible is worthy of study for its literary and historic qualities” .
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