The First Amendment to the Constitution and subsequent Supreme Court rulings based on the First Amendment figure prominently in the case against intelligent design. The First Amendment states:
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.
The opening statement of this Amendment, often referred to as the "Establishment Clause," is generally interpreted to prohibit 1) the establishment of a national religion by Congress and 2) the preference of one religion over another or the support of a religious idea with no identifiable secular purpose. An applicable test to ascertain whether the DASB ID policy was unconstitutional under the First Amendment was that of Lemon v. Kurtzman, 403 U.S. 602 (1971), the "Lemon test." The purpose of the Lemon test is to determine when a law has the effect of establishing religion. The test has served as the foundation for many of the Court's post-1971 Establishment Clause rulings. The test has three parts, or "prongs":
First, the statute must have a secular legislative purpose; second, its principal or primary effect must be one that neither advances nor inhibits religion, Board of Education v. Allen, 392 U.S. 236, 243 (1968); finally, the statute must not foster "an excessive government entanglement with religion." Walz, supra, at 674.
In addition to the Lemon test, the "endorsement test" was employed to analyze the constitutionality of the ID policy under the Establishment Clause. The endorsement test was proposed by United States Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor in the 1984 case of Lynch v. Donnelly in asking whether a particular government action amounts to an endorsement of religion, thus violating the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment.
The Establishment Clause prohibits government from making adherence to a religion relevant in any way to a person's standing in the political community. Government can run afoul of that prohibition...[by] endorsement or disapproval of religion. Endorsement sends a message to nonadherents that they are outsiders, not full members of the political community, and an accompanying message to adherents that they are insiders, favored members of the political community.
...The proper inquiry under the purpose prong of Lemon, I submit, is whether the government intends to convey a message of endorsement or disapproval of religion.
Teachers are often confused about how to discuss religion in the public school classroom, particularly as it relates to the First Amendment. Discuss the difference between "teaching about" and "advocating for" a particular religious view. In what way do you think presenting ID in the classroom is a violation of the Lemon and/or other established tests?