House Committee Approves Prayer, Voucher Constitutional Amendment

     WASHINGTON, DC (CWN) - The House Judiciary Committee on Wednesday approved a constitutional amendment on freedom to pray in schools as well as allowing the use of public funds for students attending private schools.

      The committee voted along party lines to send the amendment to the full House of Representatives which will need to pass it by a two-thirds margin before sending it on to the Senate for another vote and then to the state legislatures. Sponsors of the Religious Freedom Amendment say it is designed to reverse recent court decisions that have impinged upon the free practice of religion in the United States by distorting the First Amendment. If Congress approves the measure, it must be approved by 38 state legislatures within seven years to become law.

      The amendment would prohibit infringement of "the people's right to pray" and recognize their religious beliefs and traditions on public property, including schools. It would prohibit the federal government or states from requiring anyone to join in prayers or religious activity or discriminate against religion. It would also require equal access to a benefit regardless of religion, allowing parents to use their tax money to send their children to private, religious schools.

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March 6-8, 1998 volume 9, no. 47         DAILY CATHOLIC