In 2003, the Texas legislature amended the Texas Education Code, taking a previously optional moment of silence and making it mandatory. The legislature also changed the designated list of options: previously a student could "reflect or meditate"; after the amendment, students could "reflect, pray, meditate, or engage in any other silent activity that is not likely to interfere with or distract another student."
A Pennsylvania public school invited kindergarten parents to visit the classroom and share a talent, game, craft, or story with the class. A parent named Donna Busch wanted to read a Bible passage to the kindergarten students; the school denied her request.
Busch then sued in federal court, alleging that the school violated her First Amendment by prohibiting her from reading the Bible to the kindergarten class. After the trial court dismissed her lawsuit, Busch appealed to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit.
For years, East Brunswick High School football coach Marcus Borden led his team in prayers before games. After school district officials instructed him to stop doing so, he filed a lawsuit against the school district in federal court in New Jersey. He stopped leading the prayers, but he instructed the team captains to set up a voting system for the team prayer and joined in the players' prayers.
Central Union Mission operates an overnight shelter for homeless men in Washington, D.C. As part of its program, the Mission proselytizes its homeless clients; homeless men may spend the night at the shelter and stay for lunch on Sundays only if they attend Christian church services--which are generally fundamentalist and evangelical--at the Mission’s chapel.
In 2006, the Arizona created a school-voucher program that provided funds to disabled and foster children to attend private schools, including religious schools. The plaintiffs filed suit in Arizona state court, alleging that the programs violated multiple provisions of the Arizona Constitution.
Although the trial court upheld the voucher program, the Court of Appeals ruled that the program violated the Arizona Constitution's Aid Clause, which prohibits government funding of religious groups.
In 1952, the City of San Diego authorized the Mt. Soledad Memorial Association to build a 43-foot-tall Latin cross on top of Mt. Soledad in La Jolla, California. In 1989, two Vietnam veterans from San Diego sued the City in federal court, claiming that the display of the cross on City property violated the United States and California constitutions. In 1991, the trial court ruled that the cross violated the California Constitution and ordered that the cross be removed from City property; the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit upheld the decision.
For years, the Forsyth County Board of Supervisors invited local clergy to deliver sectarian prayers at Board meetings; most of the prayers were Christian. In March 2007, the plaintiffs Americans United and the ACLU of North Carolina challenged the Board’s prayer policy in federal court. In January 2010, the trial court ruled that the prayer policy was unconstitutional and had the effect of affiliating the County with Christianity.