AMERICAN ATHEISTS, INC. P O Box 140195 Austin, TX 78714-0195 (512) 458-1244 PRESS RELEASE

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AMERICAN ATHEISTS, INC. P O Box 140195 Austin, TX 78714-0195 (512) 458-1244 PRESS RELEASE June 24, 1992 Jon G. Murray, President of American Atheists Inc., today enthusiastically greeted the Supreme Court decision in "Robert E. Lee, et al., v. Daniel Weisman, et al." (90-1014) which outlawed graduation prayers at public schools. The current Supreme Court, to the surprise of state/church separation advocates, reaffirmed a long standing tradition of enforced exclusion of religion from the arena of U.S. public schools. The Reagan *and* Bush administrations have consistently lobbied the high court to sanction the return of religious ceremonies to the public schools. Anticipating that the Bush administration would be able to convince the Supreme Court to abandon its twenty-year-old criteria for state/church separation cases, a number of federal appellate courts throughout the land have been deliberately sitting on decisions in a variety of state/church cases brought by American Atheists. Three of these (Christian crosses in city seals) are now pending before the Supreme Court of the United States (on appeal from Illinois & Texas), two (Christian crosses on public lands and an elaborate nativity display on public land) are pending in California. In Illinois a law forcing an elementary school child to say the Pledge of Allegiance to "one nation under God" is also in the appellate process. In Texas the case of an Atheist being jailed for contempt of court for refusing to take a jury oath "so help me God" is also pending before the Supreme Court. In Utah, three cases are pending on prayers in city-council, and on graduation prayers in public schools. THESE ELEVEN CASES ARE ALL THOSE OF AMERICAN ATHEISTS. Mr. Murray opines that in light of today's decision in "Lee v. Weisman", American Atheists now stands a much greater chance of prevailing in its eleven current cases, either on the appellate or high court level. The Atheist community is pleased to learn from today's decision that the Supreme Court is not willing to abandon its legacy of support for the principle of separation of state and church in the public schools. The Court has in fact, *extended* its ban against classroom prayer to year-end graduation ceremonies -- broadening rather than narrowing the scope of Constitutional protection against the intrusion of religion. Generations of young Americans will applaud this decision when they as adults look back on their "school days," just as generations have found that they were better off for the Court's 1963 decision banning Bible reading and prayer recitation in "Murray v. Curlett." *********************************************************************** * * * American Atheists website: http://www.atheists.org * * PO Box 140195 FTP: ftp://ftp.atheists.org * * Austin, TX 78714-0195 * * Voice: (512) 458-1244 Dial-THE-ATHEIST: * * FAX: (512) 467-9525 (512) 458-5731 * * * * Atheist Viewpoint TV: avtv@atheists.org * * Info on American Atheists: info@atheists.org, * * & American Atheist Press include your name and mailing address * * AANEWS -Free subscription: aanews-request@listserv.atheists.org * * and put "info aanews" in message body * * * * This text may be freely downloaded, reprinted, and/other * * otherwise redistributed, provided appropriate point of * * origin credit is given to American Atheists. * * * ***********************************************************************

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