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Legal Beat

In March a federal appeals court ruled the AmeriCorps funding programs that place volunteers into Catholic schools do not violate the separation of church and state. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia said the government is not promoting religion in such situations. Judge A. Raymond Randolph said volunteers may teach religious subjects at such schools so long as they do not wear the AmeriCorps logo. Last July, a U.S. district judge agreed with the American Jewish Congress that such funding of programs at the University of Notre Dame is unconstitutional. Less than 1 percent of AmeriCorps's 75,000 participants teach in religious schools.

Churches Under Fire

For the third year in a row, North Korea has been named the worst persecutor of Christians, according to the Open Doors International "World Watch List." North Korea is followed by Saudi Arabia, Vietnam, Laos, Iran, Maldives, Somalia, Bhutan, China, and Afghanistan. Open Doors estimates that tens of thousands of Christians are languishing in North Korean prison camps. At least 20 Christians were killed in such camps last year.

Related Elsewhere:

CT coverage of the Americorps case includes:

Weblog: Federal Appeals Court Says Americorps Can Fund Catholic School Teachers | Religious neutrality beats hostility again (March 09, 2005)
Charitable-Choice Battle Brewing | Jewish group sues over AmeriCorps support for religious groups. (Feb. 26, 2003)

Open Door's World Watch List explains in detail the top 10 of the 50 nations on its list.

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