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Press ReleaseCivil Rights
RULE
ADL CALLS ON CONGRESS TO UPHOLD RELIGIOUS LIBERTY AND REJECT MISNAMED "RELIGIOUS EQUALITY AMENDMENT"

Washington, D.C., July 23, 1996...In testimony presented to the House Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution, the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) today called on Congress to reject a proposed "Religious Equality Amendment," asserting that the proposed Amendment would permit state-sponsored school prayer and inevitably result in divisive competition among religious groups for scarce government resources.

"We believe Congress and the American people will not be misled by a destructive constitutional amendment with an appealing name," said David H. Strassler, ADL National Chairman, and Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director. "This proposed amendment is nothing more than a cleverly-packaged effort to overturn numerous Supreme Court precedents on prayers in schools and church-state separation."

"This Amendment would require the government to subsidize religion -- entangling church and state and raising the specter of government restrictions on religious activity," said Mr. Strassler and Mr. Foxman. "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."

Last year, the Anti-Defamation League joined a broad religious coalition of 35 groups in releasing "A Joint Statement of Current Law" on religion in the public schools.

"Religion and religious views have not been banned from public school classrooms," said Mr. Strassler and Mr. Foxman. "The document released last year -- ironically signed by some of these same groups that are now publicly advocating a new constitutional amendment -- demonstrates clearly that there is no need for a constitutional amendment on school prayer or public religious expression.

"Indeed, this proposed constitutional amendment would threaten religious liberty by eroding the essential separation between church and state."

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.



 
 
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1996 Anti-Defamation League