The Pennsylvania House of Representatives is considering a resolution to recognize the 50th anniversary of a landmark 1963 U.S. Supreme Court decision banning school-sponsored Bible reading and prayer.
The resolution, proposed by state Rep. Mark Cohen (D-Philadelphia), would designate June 2013 as “Public School Religious Freedom Month” in honor of the Supreme Court decision in School District of Abington Township, Pennsylvania v. Schempp.
“You may recall that Pennsylvania schools were required by law to provide prayer even though it often conflicted with the personal religious perspectives of nonbelievers, agnostics, atheists and believers of many different faiths,” Cohen explained in April. “School-sponsored Bible reading and prayer also violated the First Amendment of the United States Constitution providing for separation of religion and government.”
The resolution is noticeably out-of-place in the Pennsylvania House, which has approved several explicitly pro-Christian resolutions. Last year, the Pennsylvania House declared 2012 as the “Year of the Bible.” Last month, the lawmakers approved an “American Religious History Week” to celebrate America’s Christian heritage and traditions.
A federal judge dismissed a lawsuit against the “Year of the Bible” resolution in October 2012, but strongly rebuked lawmakers for approving it.
[“Young Woman Praying With Rosary In Hand” on Shutterstock]