Americans United Blasts House Passage Of 'pledge Protection Act'

'Court-Stripping' Measure Jeopardizes The Constitutional Rights Of Religious Minorities, Says Americans United's Lynn

The U.S. House of Representatives today passed a bill that would severely limit the rights of religious minorities, charges Americans United for Separation of Church and State.

By a vote of 260 to 167, the House approved the so-called “Pledge Protection Act of 2005.” H.R. 2389 would strip the Supreme Court and other federal courts of the authority to hear legal challenges dealing with the Pledge of Allegiance.

“This is a disgraceful measure that jeopardizes the rights of religious minorities,” said the Rev. Barry W. Lynn, Americans United executive director. “This is election-year pandering at its worst.

“The Pledge bill endangers the constitutional separation of powers,” Lynn continued. “It would seriously undercut the ability of federal courts to ensure that the rights of religious minorities are not trampled by the whims of the majority.”

In 1943, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in West Virginia Board of Education v. Barnette that Jehovah’s Witness children could not be forced by state law to salute the flag in public schools in violation of their religious convictions.

A wide array of religious and civil rights organizations oppose the bill, including the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights, American Jewish Committee, Baptist Joint Committee for Religious Liberty, Buddhist Peace Fellowship, Central Conference of American Rabbis, Disciples Justice Action Network (Disciples of Christ), Friends Committee on National Legislation, Hindu American Foundation, Jewish Council for Public Affairs, National Council of Jewish Women, Sikh Coalition, The Interfaith Alliance, Union for Reform Judaism and Unitarian Universalist Association.

Americans United is a religious liberty watchdog group based in Washington, D.C. Founded in 1947, the organization educates Americans about the importance of church-state separation in safeguarding religious freedom.

Americans United is a religious liberty watchdog group based in Washington, D.C. Founded in 1947, the organization educates Americans about the importance of church-state separation in safeguarding religious freedom.