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Mar 8 2005
Court OKs AmeriCorps Religious Ruling

Court OKs AmeriCorps Religious Ruling

Tue Mar 8,11:26 AM ET U.S. National - AP

WASHINGTON - A federal appeals court ruled Tuesday that AmeriCorps may continue financing programs that place volunteers in Catholic schools, overturning a lower court ruling that said such funding unconstitutionally crosses the line between church and state.

The American Jewish Congress had complained that instructors who teach secular subjects at religious schools under the AmeriCorps program may also teach religious subjects.

In a 3-0 decision, U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit Judge A. Raymond Randolph wrote the government is not promoting religion by funding the programs. The appeals court also said AmeriCorps creates no incentives for participants to teach religion.

"And if they do teach religious subjects, they are prohibited from wearing the AmeriCorps logo when they are doing so," Randolph wrote.

In a ruling last July, U.S. District Judge Gladys Kessler sided with the American Jewish Congress, which argued that federal money was being used improperly to pay for teaching of Christian values through programs such as the University of Notre Dame's Alliance for Catholic Education.

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