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LAWYERS AND LEADERS WRANGLE OVER CHURCH-STATE RELATIONSHIP

Various approaches to the perennially controversial relationship of government and religion were expressed at a conference of about 300 lawyers, religious leaders and church-state separationists.

University of Chicago law professor Michael McConnell said the free-exercise clause of the Constitution guarantees "protection for a particular kind of human activity."He said the government should not confer benefits on religion but accommodate it to the extent of "returning people to a state they would be in without government restrictions."

Professor Warren Nord of the University of North Carolina said studies have shown that public school textbooks largely ignore religious aspects of U.S. history and society.