Adams Opposes Federal Assistance To Religious Schools Before Senate

"We stand against the use of public funds to support religious institutions-- whether they be churches, schools, or hospitals," James Luther Adams, Edward Mallinckrodt Jr. Professor of Divinity, told the Senate Judiciary Committee's Subcommittee on Constitutional Law.

Adams placed the Unitarian-Universalist Association, the Civil Liberties Union of Massachusetts, and the Massachusetts Council of Churches on record in support of a bill which would allow judicial review of the constitutionality of certain federal grants of loans to religious institutions. The bill would give taxpayers the right to challenge federal spending acts.

First Amendment

Adams based his argument on the First Amendment's religion clause "Congress shall make no laws respecting an establishment of religion". He said that this clause aims to prevent religions from revoluntary and independent charity of auceiving the "coercive support" of the state.

Religious institutions should derive their support from private, free-will giving, Adams argued. He said that the collection plate in Protestant Sunday services is "an unmistakable symbol of the thentic religion."

An important aspect of this American tradition of voluntarism, Adams said, is the exclusion of religious elements from public-school education, and the denial of public funds to parochial and church-related schools.