Church and State in the Modern Age: A Documentary History

By J. F. MacLear | Go to book overview

made that government is to be entirely excluded from the area of religious instruction and churches excluded from the affairs of government. The Constitution decrees that religion must be a private matter for the individual, the family, and the institutions of private choice, and that while some involvement and entanglement are inevitable, lines must be drawn.

Source: Lemon et al. v. Kurtzman, Superintendent of Public Instruction of Pennsylvania, et al., 403 U. S. 602.


SUGGESTIONS FOR BACKGROUND AND REFERENCE

D. E. Boles, "Religion and the Public Schools in Judicial Review", Journal of Church and State, Vol. 26, No. 1 (Winter 1984), pp. 55-71.

L. Pfeffer, God, Caesar, and the Constitution ( Boston, 1975), pp. 276-288.

"The Sacred Wall Revisited -- The Constitutionality of State Aid to Nonpublic Education following Lemon v. Kurtzman and Tilton v. Richardson", Northwestern University Law Review, Vol. 67, No. 1 ( March-April 1972), pp. 118-145.

J. E. Wood, "Religion and Education in American Church-State Relations", Journal of Church and State, Vol. 28, No. 1 (Winter 1984), pp. 31-54.

_____, Religion, the State, and Education ( Waco, Tex., 1984).


179
Bob Jones University v. United States (Extracts) May 24, 1983

In this case and the companion case of Goldsboro Christian Schools, South and North Carolina institutions, the public policy of racial nondiscrimination contested with the claim of religious liberty. Seeking to enforce a national policy against discrimination in education, the Internal Revenue Service in 1970 disallowed tax exempt status for private schools maintaining racial admissions criteria. Bob Jones University, religiously opposed to racial intermarriage on the basis of an alleged biblical injunction, excluded black students by policy and had its exempt status revoked. (After 1971 the university accepted blacks married within their race; after 1975 it accepted unmarried blacks but prohibited interracial dating or marriage.) In response the university claimed a violation of the free exercise of religion under the First Amendment and brought suit in the courts. The decision, written by Chief Justice Warren E. Burger, denied relief, justifying limitation on religious liberty in order to attain an "overriding governmental interest." Justice William H. Rehnquist alone dissented.

Section 501(c)(3) provides that "corporations . . . organized and operated exclusively for religious, charitable . . . or educational purposes" are entitled to tax exemption. Petitioners argue that the plain language of the statute guarantees them tax-exempt status. They emphasize the absence of any language in the statute

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