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PEOPLE FOR THE AMERICAN WAY:
PRESS RELEASE

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Sponsored link.


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The PFAW Action Fund issued the following press release on 1997-MAY-8. They listed contact people as: Dave Cour, David Elliot, Christopher Gould, and Delisa Saunders at (202) 467-4999.

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Sponsored link:

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'CHRISTIAN NATION' AMENDMENT WOULD TRAMPLE RELIGIOUS LIBERTY, SAYS PEOPLE FOR THE AMERICAN WAY ACTION FUND PRESIDENT

People For the American Way Action Fund President Carole Shields said Thursday that a proposed constitutional amendment introduced by Rep. Ernest Istook (R-OK) would trample Americans' religious liberty by allowing government officials to advance one religion over another.

"Rep. Istook and his supporters like to call their amendment a 'religious freedom' amendment, but it would be more accurate to call it the 'Christian Nation' amendment," Shields said. "While Istook and his allies in the Religious Right say they seek religious freedom, in reality they want to impose their brand of Christianity on other Christians and non-Christians alike. Rather than protecting religion, this amendment would allow whatever the majority religion is at the time to impose itself on other religions. This would be a fundamental change in what the First Amendment has always stood for in our country -- and how, through the years and generations, it has defended religious liberty."

Shields said a recent controversy in Alabama serves as evidence of the pernicious effect the Istook Amendment would have on religious equality. In Alabama, a state judge defied a court order requiring that he alter his display of the Ten Commandments and stop leading organized prayer in the courtroom. The Istook Amendment -- in addition to allowing coercive prayer in classrooms and courtrooms -- would allow for the posting of religious symbols in public places. "The Alabama judge made it clear that the Ten Commandments are there to promote his religious views," Shields said. "He's also made it clear that while Christian prayers are allowed in his courtroom, the prayers of Buddhists, Hindus or Muslims are not."

Shields, an evangelical Christian and the daughter, granddaughter and niece of Southern Baptist ministers, said it should not be up to a judge to determine whether her form of prayer is worthy of state approval or not. "I wonder if he'd approve of my variety of Baptist prayer?" she asked. "The Constitution exists so I'm not supposed to worry about that if I need to seek justice in his courtroom."

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PFAWAF is a national and developing a culture of opportunity and tolerance of individual difference. For a more detailed analysis of the Istook Amendment, please call (202) 467-4999.

On the World Wide Web, please visit the following URLs for more information regarding the Istook Amendment and PFAWAF's positions on freedom of religion and expression:
bullet http://www.pfaw.org/pubs/news1-97/nrragend.htm
bullet http://www.pfaw.org/press/istook.htm
bullet http://www.pfaw.org/advo3.htm
bullet http://www.pfaw.org/relig3.htm
bullet http://www.pfaw.org/freeex.htm

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