WASHINGTON (Feb. 19)
A proposal for a constitutional change to permit prayer and Bible reading in the public schools of the nation had the support today of the Republican Policy Committee of the House of Representatives.
Rep, John W. Brynee, Wisconsin Republican, said the policy committee had endorsed the proposal, which would negate the Supreme Court ruling last June holding that such sectarian activities in schools violated the constitutional ban on establishment of a religion.
Rep, Frank J. Hecker, New York Republican, said that 141 Representatives had signed his petition to pry the proposed amendment out of the House Judiciary Committee, headed by Rep. Emanuel Celler, New York Democrat, for a vote on the floor. A majority of the House membership, or 218 names, is required to make such a petition effective.
Rep. Celler, expressing surprise at the GOP policy committee action, disclosed that committee hearings were planned on some 170 proposals to amend the Constitution to offset or modify the Supreme Court ruling. Rep, Celler said the hearings would be held after staff members completed their study of the issues.
(The Corn wall-Lebanon joint school board, in Pennsylvania, yesterday dropped an earlier policy of permissive Bible reading in its schools, and voted to make daily Bible reading mandatory in all classrooms. Under the prior policy, the decision on such executives was left to the individual teacher.)