NEW ORLEANS (AP) - U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu has introduced a bill to forbid the federal government from withholding money from programs whose participants engage in voluntary religious activity.
The Louisiana Democrat introduced the Freedom to Pray Act on Thursday. Landrieu says she has been working on it since a constituent told her in 2012 that the Young Marines program in Bossier Parish might lose federal money because of voluntary prayer and references to God.
Young Marines describes itself as a private service program for boys and girls. It's run by the Marine Corps League.
Its national website says members must attend church and pledge not to dishonor God.
Marjorie Esman, executive director of the Louisiana American Civil Liberties Union, says that crosses the First Amendment line by requiring religious activity.
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