Urge Senators to Oppose School Sponsored Prayer Earlier this year the House of Representat

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Urge Senators to Oppose School Sponsored Prayer Earlier this year the House of Representatives voted to reauthorize the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) with an amendment which denies federal funds to school systems which prevent constitutionally protected prayer. This amendment was adopted even though there is little evidence that schools systems have infringed on religious practices of students which do not interfere with the educational process. The amendment fails to address in any way the well-documented problem of too many schools violating the rights of students by mandating prayer. One of the reasons for adoption of the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment was to assure that the United States would have no established, tax-supported church as did England and many of the American colonies. The Supreme Court held in Lee v. Weisman that the practice of prayers at a public school graduation violates the First Amendment because it amounts to compelled attendance and participation in a religious exercise. Similarly, schools that designate times and places for student prayer during the regular school day violate this principle. The issue of student-led prayer is currently being litigated in several courts that have reached contradictory conclusions. Write or call your Senators. Urge them to oppose the school prayer amendments offered by Senator Helms. It brings down the weight of the federal government to protect against a non-existent problem while ignoring the real and continuing one. ============================================================= ACLU Free Reading Room | A publications and information resource of the gopher://aclu.org:6601 | American Civil Liberties Union National Office ftp://aclu.org | mailto:infoaclu@aclu.org | "Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty"

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