The U.S. Postal Service regularly contracts with private entities to operate postal units in areas where it is not economically feasible to run a traditional post office. In Manchester, Connecticut, the Postal Service contracted for operation of a post office by the Full Gospel Interdenominational Church. The Full Gospel postal unit included numerous religious displays, religious pamphlets and flyers, a missionary coin-donation jar, a stack of prayer cards, and a television displaying Church-related religious videos. Read more
In 1934, members of the Veterans of Foreign Wars put a Latin cross atop a roadside rocky outcropping on federal land in the Mojave National Preserve. That cross and several replacements were destroyed; each time, a private party replaced it. In 1999, the National Park Service refused a request to place a Buddhist stupa near the cross. After the ACLU threatened litigation and the Park Service decided to remove the cross, Congress prohibited use of federal funds to remove the cross. Read more
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." Read more
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. Read more
In 1992, Congress established a Program to Encourage Public and Community Service for former military personnel. Under this program, former military personnel can earn credit toward their retirement by working at public- or community-service organizations. The credits enable the former members of the military to receive larger pension payments when they retire. Read more