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Religious Liberty in the Educational System of the United States

From the 1980s to the Present


Iwona Zamkowska

Nearly a third of religious liberty cases decided by the U.S. Supreme Court addressed religion and education. Numbers that high, the problem definitely deserves consideration of international public. What were the main forces that shaped religious liberty in public education in one of its most formative periods? Did the introduction of religious liberty legal framework in public schools advance religious liberty of students as independent autonomous actors? The author discusses this cultural problem from a broad and complex perspective: both internationally recognized theory of a child’s religious freedom rights and the American models of religious liberty. To cover a wide spectrum of viewpoints, she analyses a broad selection of documents, from state and NGO publications to media coverage.

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List of Abbreviations


Chapter 1 The Legal Basis for Religious Liberty

I The First Amendment Religious Liberty Clauses: Interpretation and Impact

a) The Main Legal Concepts Incorporated in the Provisions of the Clauses

b) The Lines of Interpretation of the Establishment Clause and Their Implication for Religious Liberty in Schools

c) The Lines of Interpretation of the Free Exercise Clause and Their Implication for Religious Liberty in Schools

II The Shift toward Student-Initiated Neutral Religious Practices: The Moment of Silence and the Equal Access Model

a) A Moment of Silence

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