Wednesday, May 5, 2010

NATIONAL DAY OF PRAYER RULED UNCONSTITUTIONAL


George Washington and our other founding fathers could scarcely have imagined that their idea for a National Day of Prayer would one day be declared against the very Constitution that many of them wrote. The Continental Congress called for "a day of public humiliation, fasting, and prayer" be observed in 1775.

Over 200 years later, on April 15, 2010, Judge Crabb ruled that the statute establishing the National Day of Prayer was unconstitutional as it is "an inherently religious exercise that serves no secular function". However, she stayed her ruling pending the completion of appeals.

She explains her position in her ruling, wherein she stated the following:

“In my view of the case law, government involvement in prayer may be consistent with the establishment clause when the government's conduct serves a significant secular purpose and is not a "call for religious action on the part of citizens." McCreary County, Kentucky v. American Civil Liberties Union of Kentucky, 545 U.S. 844, 877 (2005). Unfortunately, (section) 119 cannot meet that test. It goes beyond mere "acknowledgment" of religion because its sole purpose is to encourage all citizens to engage in prayer, an inherently religious exercise that serves no secular function in this context. In this instance, the government has taken sides on a matter that must be left to individual conscience. "When the government associates one set of religious beliefs with the state and identifies nonadherents as outsiders, it encroaches upon the individual's decision about whether and how to worship." McCreary County, 545 U.S. at 883 (O'Connor, J., concurring). Accordingly, I conclude that (section) 119 violates the establishment clause.”

“It bears emphasizing that a conclusion that the establishment clause prohibits the government from endorsing a religious exercise is not a judgment on the value of prayer or the millions of Americans who believe in its power. No one can doubt the important role that prayer plays in the spiritual life of a believer. In the best of times, people may pray as a way of expressing joy and thanks; during times of grief, many find that prayer provides comfort. Others may pray to give praise, seek forgiveness, ask for guidance or find the truth. "And perhaps it is not too much to say that since the beginning of th[e] history [of humans] many people have devoutly believed that 'More things are wrought by prayer than this world dreams of.'" Engel v. Vitale, 370 U.S. 421, 433 (1962). However, recognizing the importance of prayer to many people does not mean that the government may enact a statute in support of it, any more than the government may encourage citizens to fast during the month of Ramadan, attend a synagogue, purify themselves in a sweat lodge or practice rune magic. In fact, it is because the nature of prayer is so personal and can have such a powerful effect on a community that the government may not use its authority to try to influence an individual's decision whether and when to pray.”

Ultimately, there is massive misunderstanding between freedom OF religion and freedom FROM religion. America continues to turn her back on God.

See more articles on PeelLawFirm.com and DavidBPeel.blogspot.com. Mr. Peel maybe available to speak to your church or club.