ADL LAUDS CLINTON INITIATIVE ON SCHOOL PRAYER
New York, NY, July 12, 1995...The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) welcomed President
Clinton's announcement today concerning permissible forms of voluntary,
individual prayer in the public schools. In a speech delivered at James
Madison High School in Vienna, Virginia, the President announced that he
has issued a directive to the Department of Education (DOE) to provide written
guidance to school districts throughout the country on permissible forms
of school prayer.
"We are pleased the President emphasized all of the religious activities
already permissible in public schools," said David H. Strassler, ADL
National Chairman, and Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director. "By
so doing, he has demonstrated why the proposed `Religious Equality Amendment'
is misguided and unnecessary."
His directive draws from a document which ADL helped prepare that was subsequently
signed by a coalition of 35 religious groups. The document, "A Joint
Statement of Current Law," will guide the DOE in summarizing current
law on school prayer. In issuing the directive, President Clinton reaffirmed
his support for the First Amendment as currently written.
"We have no doubt that the President is deeply committed -- as all
Americans are -- to the religious freedom guaranteed by the Constitution,"
Strassler and Foxman added. "At the same time, we hope the Department
of Education's directive will underscore how important it is for public
schools to respect religious differences and to avoid religious coercion."
The Anti-Defamation League, founded in 1913, is the world's leading organization fighting anti-Semitism through programs and services that counteract hatred, prejudice and bigotry.