.- The passage of the Public Expression of Religion Act in the House yesterday makes one step closer toward ensuring fewer attacks on religious freedoms in the United States, religious-rights groups say. The bill will now go to the Senate for a vote.
“The bill would require that parties in establishment-clause cases take responsibility for their own legal fees, thus making it more difficult for the ACLU, Americans United for Separation of Church and State and others to collect large sums of money in attorney’s fees when they win,” said Catholic League president Bill Donohue. “If the bill were to become law, it would go a long way towards ending the intimidation tactics of these bullies.”
Donohue also contrasted this effort to gain more religious rights for Christians and Jews with the success that accused Muslim terrorists have had in obtaining religious rights at Guantanamo.
“It is more than ironic — it is perverse — to note that while Christians and Jews are battling for their religious rights, accused Muslim thugs in the Guantanamo Bay detention camps are having no problem getting their religious rights honored during Ramadan,” Donohue said in a statement.
He cited a Los Angeles Times’ article which reports that the detainees at Guantanamo, which include 14 suspected Al Qaeda leaders among the more than 400 prisoners, are having their religious rights assured.
Detention center staff is reportedly working “around the clock” to provide “Ramadan-specific” meals.
“So while these Muslims are getting their nuts and honey, Christians and Jews are scratching for their religious crumbs,” said Donohue.
One U.S. Army official reportedly said the deference given to the detainees “under the guise of religion was unbelievable.”
“If this bill is voted on by the Senate and signed into law, citizens will have the confidence to pursue lawsuits in cases where their religious liberties have been violated,” said the CWA’s Lanier Swann.
“Americans who wish to contest violations such as the refusal to allow the display of the Ten Commandments, the denial for the Boy Scouts of America to meet on public property, the omission of the words ‘under God’ in the Pledge of Allegiance or the ban on student prayer at football games will have one less hindrance to protecting their rights,” she noted.
The measure was introduced by Rep. John Hostettler (R-Indiana).