AU Applauds House Vote Against The Istook Prayer Amendment

Religious Right Will Seek New Targets, Warns AU's Barry Lynn

Washington, D.C. — The Rev. Barry W. Lynn, executive director of Americans United for Separation of Church and State, applauded today's House vote against U.S. Rep. Ernest Istook's so-called "Religious Freedom Amendment." The final vote in favor of the amendment was 224 to 203, a majority but still far short of the two-thirds vote needed to pass a constitutional amendment.

"The religious freedom of all Americans is secure today, thanks to the House vote," observed Lynn. "Our Constitution and our cherished freedom of conscience remain uncompromised by crass politics.

"The Religious Right's Godzilla-like assault on the Constitution has finally been vanquished," Lynn continued. "Even the Christian Coalition's last-minute, big-bucks propaganda campaign couldn't buy enough votes to pass this disastrous amendment."

Lynn warned, however, that the battle to preserve church-state separation is far from over.

"The House vote was designed to identify which members of Congress support the Religious Right agenda," Lynn said. "Those who were brave enough to oppose this gambit will now face harsh and unfair attacks during the upcoming election season."

Lynn said the Christian Coalition's partisan "voter guides" will be used to falsely depict opponents of the Religious Freedom Amendment as anti-Christian and anti-God.

Lynn also warned that the Religious Right lobbying forces will now turn their attention to more achievable legislative goals. Abortion restrictions, shutting down the National Endowment for the Arts, Internet censorship, voucher aid to religious schools and attacks on gay people are sure to be high on their agenda, he said.

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.