Pa. House celebrates religious freedom in schools

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — The Pennsylvania state House of Representatives is recognizing the 50th anniversary of a landmark U.S. Supreme Court decision outlawing required Bible reading in public schools.

The resolution, approved unanimously Monday, designates June 2013 as “Public School Religious Freedom Month” to commemorate the court’s June 17, 1963 decision in a case that began in Pennsylvania.

Abington High School student Ellery Schempp sued in 1956 after he was reprimanded for reading a Quran in class to protest a Pennsylvania law requiring students to read 10 Bible verses each day, followed by a recitation of the Lord’s Prayer.

The House last year passed a resolution declaring 2012 to be the Year of the Bible. A federal judge threw out a lawsuit challenging it, but criticized its language as “proselytizing and exclusionary.”

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