Edgerton Bible Case

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The Edgerton Bible Case was an important court case involving prayer in public schools in Wisconsin. In the early days of Edgerton, Wisconsin, it was common practice for public school teachers to read aloud from the King James Bible to their students. In 1886, Roman Catholic parents protested this practice to the school board, citing their belief that the Douay version of the Bible was the only correct translation for their children.[1]

After failing to convince the school board to end the practice, the parents took their case to court. In November 1888 the circuit court decided that the readings were not sectarian because both translations were of the same work. The parents took their case to the Wisconsin Supreme Court.

In State ex rel Weiss v. District Board 76 Wis. 177 (1890), 3, otherwise known as the Edgerton Bible Case, the judges overruled the circuit court's decision, concluding that it illegally united the functions of church and state.[2]

In 1963, the United States Supreme Court banned government-sponsored compulsory prayer from public schools (see Abington School District v. Schempp), and Justice William Brennan, Jr. cited the Edgerton Bible Case in his decision.[3][1]


  1. ^ a b "Edgerton Bible Case". Wisconsin Historical Society. Retrieved October 5, 2017. 
  2. ^ "Famous Cases of the Wisconsin Supreme Court: State ex rel. Weiss and others vs. District Board, etc" (PDF). wicourts.gov. 2011. Retrieved October 5, 2017. 
  3. ^ Shiell, Tim. "The Edgerton Bible Case". Archived from the original on September 27, 2007. 

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