ADL JOINS RELIGIOUS GROUPS TO OPPOSE MISNAMED
"RELIGIOUS EQUALITY AMENDMENT"
Washington, D.C. July 22, 1996...The Anti-Defamation League
(ADL) joined with a coalition of religious groups today to express opposition
to a proposed constitutional amendment which would permit state-sponsored
school prayer and inevitably result in divisive competition among religious
groups for scarce government resources.
Following is the ADL statement:
The Anti-Defamation League is pleased to lend its voice to the chorus of
religious group opposition to this misnamed "Religious Equality Amendment."
This Amendment would require the government to subsidize religion -- entangling
church and state and rasing the specter of government restrictions on religious
Those who support this constitutional amendment are not promoting religious
freedom. Rather, they are seeking government support and funding for their
own religious views. They seek to impose their own religious views in public
schools -- and to do so in a way which would inevitably make children in
the religious minority feel conflicted or outcast.
ADL's opposition to organized school prayer stems from our deep conviction
that religion is too important and too precious to be left up to a government
drafting committee. It is the constitutionally-mandated separation of church
and state which has allowed not just our religion, but all religions to
flourish in this country.
Under current law, schoolchildren already have the right to engage in voluntary,
individual prayer, and many do. Children can seek inspiration or divine
guidance in school as long as they do so in a way that is not coercive to
others, and does not convey any message of endorsement by school officials
Those who support this amendment may see it as a means to address a perceived
moral vacuum in our society. We support teaching American children moral
values, but one such value must be respect for differences. In a religious
and ethnically diverse society, no matter how troubled it may be, an amendment
that would inevitably result in divisive competition among religious groups
for scarce government resources is not the answer.
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.