This handout prepares students for a paired, small group or whole class discussion on four 21st century church and state cases. Used in a history class, it can replace a lecture on colonial religious freedom and lack thereof. In a civics or government class it can introduce students to the 1st Amendment's religion clauses and spur conversation.
How to use it:
1. If desired, introduce the theme by asking students their opinion on one of the four church-state issues (nativity scene, teacher- and student-led prayer, and university club funding) at the bottom of the handout.
2. Hand out sheet and have students text-mark it (circle, highlight, or comment on important or interesting details).
3. Ask students for clarification questions on (a) how much religious freedom American colonists had, and (b) what the 1st Amendment says
3. Divide students into groups and have them discuss the four cases, encouraging them to ask each other questions, consider the rights of minority religions as well as the majority and use the language of the 1st Amendment ("establishment" and "free exercise").
4. If desired, engage in a whole class discussion of the cases or quiz the students on colonial religious freedom and the 1st Amendment.