MONDAY June 8, 1998 vol. 9, no. 110
NEWS & VIEWS
from a CATHOLIC perspective
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RELIGION AMENDMENT SUPPORTERS UPBEAT
WASHINGTON, DC (CWNews.com) - The proposed Religious
Freedom Amendment was defeated in the US House on Thursday
by 61 votes, but supporters were upbeat despite the loss
saying that just getting a vote was a kind of victory.
"We consider it a victory to have had this vote, the first
of its kind in the House in 27 years," said Randy Tate,
executive director of the Christian Coalition. Rep. Ernest
Istook, R-Oklahoma, sponsored the amendment which
specifically states that governments cannot endorse or
establish any religion, "but the people's right to pray and
to recognize their religious beliefs, heritage, or
traditions on public property, including schools, shall not
be infringed." The House voted 224-203 in favor of the
amendment, but short of the two-thirds majority necessary.
The Clinton administration opposed the amendment, saying it
was unnecessary since religious freedom, especially in
public schools, was already protected under federal
guidelines. But Istook said three decades of judicial
decisions and bureaucratic mandates have weakened the
ability to be publicly religious, and cited instances where
schools have forbade children from praying before meals or
carrying a Bible.
Istook said the amendment fell short because it usually
takes four or five attempts to win approval of a
constitutional amendment, and "the political correctness
movement has acquired a stranglehold on many members of
Congress." Rep. Merrill Cook, R-Utah, lamented: "We now
live in a world where birth control devices can be
dispensed at public schools but a voluntary moment of
silent worship is often forbidden."
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June 8, 1998
volume 9, no. 110
NEWS & VIEWS