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June 21, 2005

Oklahoma Congressman to offer bill protecting religious rights

From The Hill:

Rep. Ernest Istook (R-Okla.) is expected to introduce a constitutional amendment to protect religious expression in schools and on other public property soon after the Supreme Court decides two landmark cases about the displaying the Ten Commandments on public grounds. The court is expected to announce its decision by Monday....

Istook’s amendment, the “Pledge and Prayer Amendment,” could be the next chapter in an ongoing battle over the propriety of religious expression on government-owned property. In seeking to establish a new constitutional protection for religious expression, it would also signal a new challenge of the federal judiciary by congressional Republicans....

The Pledge and Prayer Amendment “would allow the display of the Ten Commandments and other historical religious documents on public property,” “allow greater freedom for students who wish to pray” and “allow students to recite the entire Pledge of Allegiance” — including the line “one nation, under God” — according to bullet points put out by Istook’s office....

“I think we’re entering a fresh era where the bad court decisions are beginning to accumulate and weigh heavily on people’s minds,” Istook said last week.

The bill already has 45 co-sponsors, and Istook’s office has been circulating a “Dear Colleague” letter to build support for the legislation.

The two Supreme Court cases are Van Orden v. Perry and McCreary County v. ACLU. Both cases involve the mythical “Separation” clause that Liberal can somehow read in the US Constitution.

Istook has tried offering a similar proposed amendment before, which passed the House, but failed to get the 2/3's majority vote required for passage.

Posted by Danny Carlton at June 21, 2005 11:02 AM

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