On June 17, 1963, the United States Supreme Court decided School District of Abington Township, Pennsylvania v. Schempp. That case dealt with prayer in the public schools. Under Pennsylvania law, at the beginning of each public school day, at least ten verses were to be read from the bible, along with the Lord’s prayer. The United States Supreme Court found this “opening exercise…to be a religious ceremony.” As such, it violated the First Amendment, even though students were permitted to opt out.
Justice Clark, who authored the (8-1) majority decision, explained– “In the relationship between man and religion, the State is firmly committed to a position of neutrality. Though the application of that rule requires interpretation of a delicate sort, the rule itself is clearly and concisely stated in the words of the First Amendment.”