When case precedent becomes so far removed from the Constitution from which judges are supposedly basing their ruling on; that you can't recognize one from the other, it's time for the average Joe to take a look at the Constitution and the ruling and see for himself how they square. I'd like to look at Abington School District v. Schempp, the 1963 U.S. Supreme Court case that rendered school sponsored Bible reading in public schools "unconstitutional".
In Abington School District v Schempp, the Supreme Court ruled that school-sponsored Bible reading, even though the student could opt out with a note from his parents, violated the establishment clause of the 1st Amendment to the Constitution, that even though the 1st Amendment as well guaranties the free exercise of religion, the court judged that, that free exercise was subject to limitations and arbitrarily judged that school-sponsored Bible reading fell outside of that guarantee. Or if not arbitrary they judged that this exercise was harmful to at least some of the students.
Let's look at what the amendments to U.S. Constitution say concerning this: Within the 1st Amendment it says, "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof;". The 9th Amendment says,
"The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people." The 10th Amendment says, "The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people." Within the 14th Amendment it says "No state shall" "deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws." This amendment was passed to guarantee newly freed slaves equal protection under the law.
The court used the equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment, quoted above, to apply the establishment clause, also above, to the states. Note that in the 1st Amendment, the establishment clause is specific to Congress where as the free exercise clause is broad. The 9th Amendment, also above, forbids any right written by way of amendment from being interpreted in a manner that will undervalue other rights, as the use of the 14th Amendment to disparage the free exercise of religion guaranteed in the 1st Amendment In a functioning democracy, state and local governments most closely reflect the free will of the people. If the Warren Court were interested in making a constitutional ruling and were not pursuing some other agenda that previous courts patiently pioneered, it should have upheld The Abington School District's right to have these exercises. For in order for the court to accomplish its desired affect it needed to change the specificity of the establishment clause, a major change in its meaning. This was done for them by a previous court in a previous ruling, this is how they do it with out appearing to be revolutionary. They then ignore the 9th and 10th Amendments completely and disparaged the peoples protection from Congress "prohibiting the free exercise" of religion. In doing this and in other similar court decisions, within a generation and a half they have changed the character of the American people, for the compulsory nature of education and the cost of private education being prohibitive to most, most of our children attend public schools. Those who graduate from high school spend 12 years, at an average 1078 hours per year, in a school system that God has been expelled from. These decisions have turned our public schools into purveyors of atheism and the expounders of all sorts of evil doctrines, which was the natural result of these decisions, for social rules governing the conduct of a people always flow from some type of apriori assumption. If you can't assume God, you are forced to assume the other. The neutral stance would have been to allow the FREE exercise of religion to continue.
George Washington and his right hand man, Alexander Hamilton would have considered these decisions treasonous. Read it for yourself in the 27th-29th paragraphs of George Washington's farewell address. Here's an excerpt, "Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, religion and morality are indispensable supports. In vain would that man claim the tribute of patriotism, who should labor to subvert these great pillars of human happiness, these firmest props of the duties of men and citizens."
Can you see it? The issue is not that the practice of school sponsored Bible reading has been unconstitutional, but that the attitude has changed from viewing religion as an indispensable support, to that of, it is harmful. This will prove to be the undoing of our nation if it is not turned around.