Is BRT legal?
Yes! Released-Time has been allowed by Federal law since 1914 but has been largely overlooked in some areas and avoided because of fear in others.
In 1952, the constitutionality of Released-Time ministry was tested in the Supreme Court case of Zorach vs. Clauson (343 U.S. 306). The ruling found such ministries not to be in violation of the United States Constitution. The court said, “When the state encourages religious authorities by adjusting the schedule of public events to sectarian needs, it follows the best of our traditions, for it then respects the religious nature of our people and accommodates the public service to their spiritual needs. To hold that it may not, would be to find in the Constitution a requirement that the government show a callous indifference to religious groups. That would be preferring those who believe in no religion over those who do believe.”
Some states have additional legislation that makes it easier to get Released-Time programming started and continue operating:
California, Florida, Hawaii, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, New Mexico, New York, North Dakota, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, Vermont, West Virginia, and Wisconsin
For a complete listing of laws and guidelines by state, click here.
It is the desire of BRT, its missionaries, and volunteers to cooperate with the public schools. We make every effort to make Released-Time a positive asset to the educational system. It is to be conducted under the following guidelines:
• Parental or guardian permission must be given for each student who participates
• Classes are to be held off school property
• There must be no associated fees
• No public funds are to be used to conduct Released-Time
• It is not to exceed 36 hours per year
Released-Time is the only legal means to devotionally teach the Bible to public school children during the school day. These programs are voluntary, privately funded and are held off school grounds during the school day.