FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
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WASHINGTON -- The American Civil Liberties Union, alongside 33 other religious, civil rights, education, science and advocacy organizations celebrated today as Senator David Vitter (R-LA) withdrew an unconstitutional earmark that would have funded the teaching of creationism in public school science classes. The earmark was added on to the Fiscal Year 2008 Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education, and Related Agencies Appropriation Bill’s Committee Report.
Senator Vitter had proposed appropriating $100,000 of federal funding for the Louisiana Family Forum (LFF) “to develop a plan to promote better science education.” The LFF’s stated mission is to “persuasively present biblical principles in centers of influence.” United States federal courts, as well as the Supreme Court, have ruled that no variation of creationism can be taught in our public schools, stating that the “preservation and transmission of religious beliefs and worship is a responsibility and a choice committed to the private sphere.”
The following can be attributed to ACLU Senior Lobbyist Terri Schroeder:
“James Madison, the principal author of the First Amendment, believed that even a ‘three-pence’ tax to fund religious education was a violation of freedom of religion. As soon as religion begins to intrude into our government and the publicly funded arena, the ideals and principles of both become compromised. For the federal government to allow such funding to take place would have not only been unconstitutional, but also a waste of tax payer money and a degradation of our school curriculum. The ACLU is relieved that Senator Vitter came to his senses and withdrew this misguided proposal.”
To read the coalition letter opposing the earmark, go to: