Professor Questions Proposed Religious Equality Amendment

April 11, 1996

The most recent edition of the Journal of Church and State features a commentary by Dr. Derek Davis, associate director of The J.M. Dawson Institute of Church-State Studies and associate professor of political science at Baylor University, on the proposed "Religious Equality/Liberties" amendment.

In his commentary, Davis argues that congressional proposals by U.S. Rep. Henry Hyde (R-Il.) and Rep. Ernest Istook (R-Okla.) would drastically alter the meaning of the First Amendment's religion clauses.

Hyde and Istook have drafted separate versions of a constitutional amendment to protect religious expression in public settings, especially in the nation's public schools, and to guard against religious discrimination.

While such claims are debatable, Davis states that the proposals actually go much further by permitting broad governmental endorsements and funding of religion. He believes that the motives of Hyde and Istook should not go unappreciated, but such an amendment is unnecessary. If enacted into law, Davis says, it would bring an abrupt end to the nation's commitment to religious liberty and the separation of church and state.

Other articles in the winter issue of the Journal of Church and State include "Collectivizing Death: Relative Vices V. Ultimate Virtues" by Irving Louis Horowitz; "The Supreme Court and the Story of American Freedom" by James L. Nolan Jr.; "Church, State, and the Rehnquist Court: A Brief for Lemon" by Tinsley E. Yarbrough; and "The Jehovah's Witnesses' Experience in the Nazi Concentration Camps: A History of Their Conflicts with the Nazi State" by Jerry Bergman.

The journal also includes the articles "The Changing of the Guard: Transformations in the Politico-Religious Attitudes and Behaviors of CEB Members in Sao Paulo, 1984-1993" by W.E. (Ted) Hewitt; "The Ecumenical Understanding of Religious Liberty: The Contribution of the World Council of Churches" by Ninan Koshy; and "An Examination of Church-State Curriculum in American Higher Education" by Davis and Robert H. Haener, III.

The journal contains more than 20 different book reviews and a calendar of events of interest to church-state scholars and others. The Journal of Church and State is published four times a year by The J.M. Dawson Institute of Church-State Studies at Baylor.

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