Congressman Ernest Istook proposes constitutional amendment

Thursday, March 13th 2003, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

(Washington-AP) -- U-S Representative Ernest Istook is looking for co-sponsors for a constitutional amendment to protect school prayer, displays of the Ten Commandments and the reference to God in the Pledge of Allegiance.

Istook has pushed for a school prayer amendment for years but hadn't listed the measure among his legislative priorities.

He returned to the amendment following a court ruling saying the phrase ``under God'' in the Pledge of Allegiance is unconstitutional when recited in public schools.

The proposal seeks to secure the people's right to express their religious beliefs on public property without establishing an official religion or requiring anyone to join in prayer or religious activity.

Istook currently has 51 co-sponsors.

Opponents are concerned the measure strikes at the heart of the principle of church and state separation.