Freedom Writer - September 1995 [ref001] Conservatives push religious-equality amendment R

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Freedom Writer - September 1995 [ref001] Conservatives push religious-equality amendment Religious Right groups are urging Congress to add a so-called "Religious Equality Amendment" to the U.S. Constitution. Broad-based, the amendment would allow student-led prayers over school public address systems, preaching from the Bible at graduations, the teaching of "creation science," and tax monies for private religious schools. Section 3 of the amendment would assure that any activities initiated as a result of the amendment could not be construed as violating the constitutionally mandated separation between church and state. Students are currently allowed to practice silent prayer, to pray aloud among themselves, and conduct after-school Bible clubs. What the proposed amendment calls for are special exemptions from the guidelines established in the U.S. Constitution, specifically, the First Amendment, which already guarantees religious freedom. An early version of the proposed amendment reads: Section 1.__Neither_the_United_States_nor_any_State_shall_abridge_ the_freedom_of_any_person_or_group,_including_students_in_public_schools,_ to_engage_in_prayer_or_other_religious_expression_in_circumstances_ in_which_expression_of_a_non-religious_character_would_be_permitted;_ nor_deny_benefits_to_or_otherwise_discriminate_against_any_person_ or_group_on_account_of_the_religious_character_of_their_speech,ideas,_ motivations_or_identify._ Section 2.__Nothing_in_the_Constitution_shall_be_construed_to_forbid_ the_United_States_or_any_State_to_give_public_or_ceremonial_acknowledgement_ to_the_religious_heritage,_beliefs,_or_traditions_of_its_people._ Section 3.__The_exercise,_by_the_people,_of_any_freedoms_under_the_ First_Amendment_or_under_this_Amendment_shall_not_constitute_an_establishment_ of_religion._ Before an amendment becomes part of the Constitution it must receive the support of two-thirds of the House and Senate, and be ratified by three-fourths of the state legislatures. [ref002][ref003] Return to table of contents Copyright 1995 IFAS The Freedom Writer / ifas@crocker.com [ref001] ../banner.gif [ref002] index.html [ref003] ../../uparrow.gif This file is copywritten by the Institute for First Amendment Studies. Subscribe to The Freedom Writer and Walk Away news letters by writing to or telephoneing the Institute for First Amendment Studies: Post Office Box 589 Great Barrington, Massachusetts. 01230 Telephone: (413) 528-3800 E-Mail: ifas@crocker.com Web page: http://www.crocker.com/~ifas

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