National Day of Prayer does not violate the First Amendment
A federal court recently ruled that the federally recognized National Day of Prayer violated the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment, and thus unconstitutional.
On this, Bob Barr writes:
Not surprisingly, the religion separatists were able to find a federal judge – this one in Madison, Wisconsin – to agree with their myopic view of the First Amendment. Judge Barbara Crabb did just that in a ruling earlier this month. Graciously, the judge permitted this year’s National Prayer Breakfast in the nation’s capital (and ironically in the shadow of the National Cathedral) to go on as scheduled.
Reflecting the multi-front nature of the assault on prayer practiced by various First Amendment fanatics, another self-styled “watchdog” group, the Military Religious Freedom Foundation, campaigned successfully to have the Pentagon disinvite Franklin Graham, son of famed evangelist Billy Graham, to lead a military day of prayer May 6th. The entire prayer observance was then cancelled.
It may be that all these groups just have way too much time on their hands, with nothing to do but stir up lawsuits and forum shop for judges similarly inclined. Their motives, and the results of their efforts, however, are not so benign. By constantly sniping at virtually any activity in which government representatives engage that might fall into the category of “religious activity” – notwithstanding it be purely voluntary and in furtherance of nothing more than attempting to foster an atmosphere of greater civility and productivity in the public arena – these prayer police are diminishing the chances that public policy debates will actually soften and become more productive.
While I am an advocate of the separation of church and state and I will admit that I’m not very religious, I’m not going to get upset about the federal government recognizing the role religion plays in the lives of many of it’s citizens.
This is not a recognition of any particular religion or deity and no rights are violated.
The Department of Justice will appeal the ruling.