National Day of Prayer
A couple of items in the news lately have brought the judiciary back into the consciousness of the American public; the announced retirement of Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens, and the recent decision by federal judge Barbara Crabb in Wisconsin in which she ruled that the National Day of Prayer is a violation of the Establishment Clause of the U.S. Constitution. In the rulings of both justices we find an egregious disrespect for the plain meaning of the Constitution, and it is a failure of the American people to learn the Constitution that has allowed us to stray so far.
As a nation, we have reached a point where we bestow upon the courts an unjustified level of deference to their perceived wisdom. In fact, the Founding Fathers created the judiciary to be the weakest of the three branches, vested as they are with lifetime appointments.
Thomas Jefferson wrote (in a letter to William C. Jarvis, 1820) that “To consider the judges as the ultimate arbiters of all constitutional questions [is] a very dangerous doctrine indeed, and one which would place us under the despotism of an oligarchy. Our judges are as honest as other men and not more so.” Yet today we have allowed the courts to be elevated to the level of an oligarchy, where we accept rulings that are clearly unaligned with the Constitution without so much as a whimper.
“If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.” ~ The Holy Bible, 2 Chronicles, 7:14 (KJV)
It may be said that no other nation on the face of the Earth today has had so intertwined in its history the seeking of the Lord in prayer as does the United States of America. The writings of General George Washington are replete with instances where he called upon God to intercede on behalf of the ragtag Continental Army, which faced destruction at the hand the mightiest military force on the face of the Earth. Likewise, after winning the War for Independence, our nation faced a struggle no less formidable; namely, establishing a lasting peace in this land. The sovereign state governments, leery of a strong central government after being subjected to the abuses of King George, drafted the Articles of Confederation as the nation’s governing document. Sadly, the Articles were too weak to govern the nation, and strife and dissension was manifest throughout the states as one was pitted against another in a struggle for power and dominance.
Seeing the nation in danger of being torn asunder in its infancy, a convention was called to amend the Articles of Confederation. However, it soon became evident that the Articles of Confederation were simply inadequate, and our Founding Fathers launched a Constitutional Convention behind closed doors. Days and weeks passed without the convention coming any closer to a harmonious resolution to the issues plaguing them. Once again, it seemed that all would be lost and the bonds between the once united states would be dissolved, and the nation would fall into squabbling factions to be easily picked off one by one at the hands of the great world powers.
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.