Congress passed the Equal Access Act August 11, 1984


Portrait Ronald Reagan public domainAmerican Minute with Bill Federer

AUGUST 11, 1984, by an 88-11 Senate vote and a 337-77 House vote, Congress passed the Equal Access Act, stating:

“It shall be unlawful for any public secondary school which receives Federal financial assistance and which has a limited open forum,

to deny equal access or a fair opportunity to, or discriminate against, any students who wish to conduct a meeting within that limited open forum on the basis of the religious, political, philosophical, or other content of the speech at such meeting.”

Regarding this, President Reagan commented August 23, 1984 at Reunion Arena, Dallas, Texas:

“We even had to pass a special law in the Congress just a few weeks ago to allow student prayer groups the same access to school rooms after classes that a Young Marxist Society…would already enjoy.”

The Supreme Court upheld the Equal Access Act by a vote of 8-1 in Westside Community Schools v. Mergens, June 4, 1990:

“If a State refused to let religious groups use facilities open to others, then it would demonstrate not neutrality but hostility toward religion.

The Establishment Clause does not license government to treat religion and those who teach or practice it…as subversive of American ideals.”

Ronald Reagan stated in a radio address, February 25, 1984:

“Former Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart noted if religious exercises are held to be impermissible activity in schools, religion is placed at an artificial and state-created disadvantage.

Permission for such exercises for those who want them is necessary if the schools are truly to be neutral in the matter of religion.

And a refusal to permit them is seen not as the realization of state neutrality, but rather as the establishment of a religion of secularism.”

U.S. District Court, Crockett v. Sorenson, W.D. Va,. 1983:

“The First Amendment was never intended to insulate our public institutions from any mention of God, the Bible or religion.

When such insulation occurs, another religion, such as secular humanism, is effectively established.”

This reaffirmed what George Washington wrote to the United Baptist Churches of Virginia, May 10, 1789:

“If I could have entertained the slightest apprehension that the Constitution framed by the Convention, where I had the honor to preside, might possibly endanger the religious rights of any ecclesiastical Society, certainly I would never have placed my signature to it.”

Ronald Reagan, on the National Day of Prayer, May 6, 1982, commented:

“Well-meaning Americans in the name of freedom have taken freedom away.

For the sake of religious tolerance, they’ve forbidden religious practice.”

On January 10, 1963, Democrat Congressman Albert S. Herlong, Jr., of Florida, read into the Congressional Record a list of Communist goals for America, (Vol 109, 88th Congress, 1st Session, Appendix, pp. A34-A35), which included:

“Eliminate prayer or any phase of religious expression in the schools on the ground that it violates the principle of ‘separation of church and state’…

Discredit American culture…Discredit the family as an institution. Encourage promiscuity and divorce…”

Rep. Herlong continued listing Communist goals:

“Present homosexuality, degeneracy and promiscuity as ‘normal, natural, healthy’…

Infiltrate churches and replace revealed religion with ‘social’ religion…

Discredit the Bible and emphasize the need for intellectual maturity which does not need a ‘religious crutch’…

Control schools. Use them as transmission belts for socialism and current Communist propaganda.

Soften curriculum. Get control of teachers’ associations. Put party line in textbooks… Control student newspapers…”

Ronald Reagan told the Annual Convention of the National Religious Broadcasters, January 30, 1884:

“I was pleased last year to proclaim 1983 the Year of the Bible. But, you know, a group called the ACLU severely criticized me for doing that.

Well, I wear their indictment like a badge of honor.”


Bill FedererThe Moral Liberal contributing editor, William J. Federer, is the bestselling author of “Backfired: A Nation Born for Religious Tolerance no Longer Tolerates Religion,” and numerous other books. A frequent radio and television guest, his daily American Minute is broadcast nationally via radio, television, and Internet. Check out all of Bill’s bookshere.

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