Va. Republicans Advance Religious Proposals

February 2, 2011

House Republicans advanced two proposed state constitutional amendments that benefit religion, but critics say they breach the separation between government and clergy.

On a 61-33 vote, Del. Bill Carrico's bill to grant protections to prayers made in such public forums as classrooms and school athletic events passed.

Carrico, R-Grayson, said the measure affirms the principle that voluntary prayer, even in public forums, is constitutionally protected.

Two Jewish delegates, Adam Ebbin and David Englin, said it imposes the majority religion, Christianity, on theirs and other minority faiths.

A bill to allow the state to help pay for private theological education for National Guard chaplains passed on a 62-32 vote.

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