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House Passes Civil Rights Bill; Future of Bill in Senate is Uncertain

The House today passed a Civil Rights Bill which for the first time in Federal legislative history expressed concern over discrimination because of religion as well as color and race.

The bill, part of the Administration’s civil rights program, was passed by a vote of 286 to 126. It was sent to the Senate where it faces a stormy and uncertain future. The bill would authorize the U.S. Attorney General to take Federal court action in cases where voting or other civil rights were violated or threatened.

In the course of debate on the bill, a number of Congressmen sought to eliminate the reference to religion. Rep. Thomas G. Abernethy, Mississippi Democrat, told the House “religious bigotry in America is a myth. It does not exist.”