Before God was kicked out of schools

In 1948, the United States Supreme Court ruled that tax-established and tax-supported schools using their public resources to religiously indoctrinate children was a violation of the First Amendment. A mother named Vashti McCollum’s lawsuit led to that ruling.

In 1962, the court ruled on a case and decided 8-1 that the government couldn’t force students to pray. The Supreme Court did not state that students cannot pray in school. The government, meaning government officials, can’t force their interpretation of the Bible on kids in public schools.

The government cannot tell students when to pray, what to pray, or that they should pray in public. After all, in the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus teaches that prayer should be done in private. And if that’s how parents choose to raise their kids, they shouldn’t have government officials saying screw you, we’re going to force your kids to pray the way we want them to. Somehow, 1962 was the year that some deranged Christians believe that god was kicked out of public schools.

When tragedy strikes, historically there are some who point to 1962 as the reason. Fortunately such absurdity has become extremely rare. This ideology assumes a god who’s omnipresent and all powerful can’t enter public property. It also assumes that everything was fine and dandy before 1962.

Although rare, blaming 1962 for all our problems still happens. Lunatic fringe preachers act like shameless opportunists and use tragedies to spread their message of ignorance and fear.

But what does the evidence say? Is there a change in historical events before 1962 that clearly demonstrate that things are worse now? The answer is not only no, but that things are actually much better now.

Here’s a list of events before 1962 that were just awful.
1918-1919, an influenza pandemic killed an estimated 675,000 Americans and an estimated 50 million people worldwide.
1927, the Bath School Disaster, the largest school massacre in US history. 45 dead and 58 wounded.
In the 1800s, a serial killer by the name of Dr. Henry Howard Homes had a body count as high as 200.
1906, the Great San Francisco Earthquake killed 3,000 people.
1900, the Galveston hurricane, 6,000-12,000 people died.
1928, the Okeechobee hurricane, over 3,000 dead.
1941, Attack on Pearl Harbor, 2,466 Americans killed
1889, the Johnstown Flood was a damn burst that killed 2,209.
1865, the Sultana steamboat sank killing an estimated 1,700 people.
1911, 146 garment workers, mostly women, died horribly in a factory fire because the stairwells and exits were locked. That was the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire.
1945, 879 soldiers either downed, were ripped apart by sharks, or died from hypothermia when the USS Indianapolis sunk.
The idea that everything was wonderful before 1962 is nonsense.

References:
The New York Times – Douglass Martin - Vashti McCollum, 93, Who Brought Landmark Church-State Suit, Is Dead
Though Co. – Austin Cline - Was God Expelled from Public Schools?
The Great Influenza Pandemic of 1918-1919
History – Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire
Wikipedia – H. H. Holmes
Wikipedia - List of disasters in the United States by death toll

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