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Appeals Court Affirms Government’s Right To Observe National Day Of Prayer

April 20, 2011 by  

Appeals court affirms government's right to observe National Day of PrayerA Federal appeals court has dismissed a lawsuit that challenges the government's observance of National Day of Prayer, which is set for May 5 this year.

The complaint was filed by the Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF), which claimed that the Federal government's participation in religious practices compromises the individual rights of Americans. Last year, United States District Judge Barbara Crabb ruled that the government's observation of prayer was unConstitutional.

Last week, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit overruled Crabb's decision, saying that the FFRF had no legal standing to bring the suit. The court concluded that "hurt feelings differ from legal injury."

The decision was praised by several groups, including the Liberty Institute, CitizenLink, Family Research Council, American Civil Rights Union and Liberty Counsel. They argued that observances of prayer were modeled by America's forefathers.

"Even Americans with a decidedly agnostic view of religion cannot refute the important role religious tradition has played throughout the history of this great nation," said Brad Miller, director of family policy council for CitizenLink. "The President's proclamation is simply a continuation of a long and deep tradition of urging and acknowledging prayer as a fundamental part of a healthy society."

Several past rulings by the U.S. Supreme Court have protected the traditions of religious invocations. In 1952, Congress passed a statute that called on the President to issue a proclamation on the National Day of Prayer, which is observed on the first Thursday of May. 

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  • Jeremy Leochner

    I as an agnostic can and do respect the role religous tradition played in our history. My only concern is that the day of prayer not be associated with any particular religion and that a national day of prayer not be unrepresentative of agnostic and atheist feeling. I worry about government recognizing a religious day in a more traditional sense due to a possible rejection of the views of those without specific, dogmatic or any real religious views. Its the great struggle to recognize and honor the rights of all be they atheist, agnostic or believers in any religion. We are not and cannot be a religious nation as that would go against the principles of our republic that recognize the rights of those without religious beliefs. Yet we cannot be a secular nation as that would equally go against the principles of the republic that recognize the rights of people who do have religious belief. In the end I dont know. If perhaps it is possible to pray without religous belief than I suppose it could represent everyone. If not than I would say not to have it observed by the government.

    • Peter

      Jeremy, you have every right to express your opinion in a free society, but you do NOT have the right to even suggest that the practice of the Christian religion, on which this land was founded, should in any way be reduced or sidelined just because you happen to be agnostic and some others in the US may follow other beliefs.
      I refer you to the following which, while it may or may not be true in its origin as claimed in the email in which I received it, still rings true for all of western society:

      BY A 15 yr. OLD SCHOOL KID

      who got an A+ for this entry

      (TOTALLY AWESOME)!

      Since the Pledge of Allegiance And The Lord’s Prayer

      Are not allowed in most Public schools anymore

      Because the word ‘God’ is mentioned…..

      A kid in Arizona wrote the attached NEW School prayer:

      “New Pledge of Allegiance”

      ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

      Now I sit me down in school

      Where praying is against the rule

      For this great nation under God

      Finds mention of Him very odd.

      If scripture now the class recites,

      It violates the Bill of Rights.

      And anytime my head I bow

      Becomes a Federal matter now.

      Our hair can be purple, orange or green,

      That’s no offense; it’s a freedom scene..

      The law is specific, the law is precise.

      Prayers spoken aloud are a serious vice.

      For praying in a public hall

      Might offend someone with no faith at all..

      In silence alone we must meditate,

      God’s name is prohibited by the state.

      We’re allowed to cuss and dress like freaks,

      And pierce our noses, tongues and cheeks…

      They’ve outlawed guns, but FIRST the Bible.

      To quote the Good Book makes me liable.

      We can elect a pregnant Senior Queen,

      And the ‘unwed daddy,’ our Senior King.

      It’s ‘inappropriate’ to teach right from wrong,

      We’re taught that such ‘judgments’ do not belong..

      We can get our condoms and birth controls,

      Study witchcraft, vampires and totem poles..

      But the Ten Commandments are not allowed,

      No word of God must reach this crowd.

      It’s scary here I must confess,

      When chaos reigns the school’s a mess.

      So, Lord, this silent plea I make:

      Should I be shot; My soul please take!

      Amen

      • homeboy

        this kid did a remarkable job. very talented to come up with somthing so true. if you want to know why these things are happening go to the bible to see who really is in control of our system that we live in . read 1john 5;19

      • Chief

        Excellent post need more good young men like this in our nation. May God bless and protect him.

      • Jeremy Leochner

        Peter my desire is not to sideline christianity. My desire is to believe in the republic as a nation founded on the principles that everyones views and beliefs are just as valid as any others. That cannot happen in a religiously based country just as it cant happen in a purely secular country. I love the pledge of allegiance and see no reason to keep it from schools. I think the child did a great job. I apologize for any insult to any religion. Religion should not be banned. All beliefs should be recognized equally is my point.

        • ValDM

          If you’re an agnostic and your friends are atheists, where do your morals come from? Also, if you’d like there to be no National Day of Prayer (bowing down to the wants of You and your friends), I’d like to ask you if you celebrate Christmas or Easter? If you do, then you’re a hypocrit.

          • Jeremy Leochner

            My morals come from the basic teachings of treat others as you want to be treated. I try to be a kind person, to follow the rules and laws. And honor people for the sack of being honorable. I simply choose to do it not in the name of god but simply in the name of doing whats right. As to Christmas and Easter though they have traditional religious roots they also have pagen and non religious ones as well. And bear in mind one does not have to believe in Santa to not like christmas or believe good is rewarded with good.

          • Karolyn

            One doesn’t have to be a Christian to have morals!

          • http://naver samurai

            Sorry Karolyn, but you’re wrong. I do respect what you and Jeremy posted, but western ways of morals and ethics are based on the Christian religion and it is a fact. Happy Easter! FOR GOD AND COUNTRY!

          • karolyn

            Samurai – Morals are morals, whether they be Christian, Buddhist, Taoist, Hindu or atheistic. Try seeing things from a different perspective for a change. Christians are not the only people in the world or in the US.

          • http://naver samurai

            Karolyn, I do agree that Christianity isn’t the only religion in the world or the U.S., but western civilizations are based on Christianity.
            Even our laws are based on the 10 Commandments. FOR GOD AND COUNTRY!

          • Vigilant

            karolyn,

            To say that morals are morals regardless of the belief system gets onto the slippery slope of moral relativism. America was not founded on Buddhist, Taoist, Hindu, Muslim, Shinto or atheistic value systems. It’s connection to Christian morality is unmistakeable, and it’s laws are based on it.

            The reverence for individual freedom and choice are hallmarks of Christianity. Do you seriously believe that if America had been predominantly Muslim during it’s founding that we would enjoy the freedoms we have today? Please don’t regale us again with your statement that Islam fosters a peaceful and tolerant mindset. If that were so, you wouldn’t see Christians being murdered by Muslims all over the world today.

            As for moral relativism, it leads to the very selfish picking and choosing of moral beliefs to fit the situation. Honor killings are against the law in this country for a good reason. Or should I be able to take the law into my own hands with impunity if the law doesn’t happen to fit my moral standards?

            No karolyn, the moral relativism of the secular humanists, by and large, is based on a very fluid morality based on whatever the human “experts” declare to be in vogue. The guarantee of a good and virtuous life, not an easy and rationalized life, is based on a firm, unwavering moral anchor.

          • Vigilant

            Jeremy, I would consider you to be a very thoughtful and conscientious person, and I respect that.

            I was once agnostic myself because I couldn’t come to grips with the Bible as an infallible work, for a number of reasons. I have gone through a metamorphosis in my life, returning part way to my Christian roots by accepting the Deist point of view. I would like nothing better than to have the certainty of belief that I observe in many Christians, but I haven’t progressed that far yet. Some have told me, as long as I am seeking, I will one day find it. Time will tell. I have no shame in asking Christians to pray for me, that I will find the answer some day.

            One thing I have come to grips with is the necessity to have an unwavering, authoritative moral standard for action. Simply to say that I know the difference between right and wrong is not sufficient. Each person, under that view, would come to different ethical and moral conclusions based on how they were brought up or upon the particular genetic predispositions they inherited.

            Moreover, the wonderful appeal to natural law in the Declaration of Independence, and upon which the Constitution is based, would have no authority in the absence of the “Creator.” If life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness is based on a purely ephemeral human idea, it would not carry any real authority with it, would it?

      • CJ

        Maybe if Christians hadn’t messed everything up with preachy hypocritical morals, inquisitions, attacks on the freedoms of others. Promoting Hitler and anti-semitic sentiment, forcing dogmatic fiction into every aspect of people’s lives and generally more akin to a virus than an ethical organization people wouldn’t be so up in arms. So many Christians are like a plague to the rest of us that SOMETHING needs to be top keep you in check. As to the poem, real nice, but if a 15 year old got an A+ for that I have serious reservations about the sanctity of education in that school.

        • http://?? Joe H.

          CJ,
          I am a Christian and I have never, in any way, supported what Hitler did. In fact, I despise his very memory! I have several family members that fought against him, and have quite a few that have passed, both from age and from Hitlers troops!! so why don’t you take your sanctimonius, holier than thou, bull$hit attitude and shove it as far as it will go!!

        • http://naver samurai

          Maybe it is the rest of you that are a plague on this Christian nation. Remember, we were founded a Christian nation. Get your facts straight before you post. I had uncles who fought against Japan and Germany in WWII. I’ve studied a lot about Hitler and the Nazis, but I abhor what they did to people just because they were a different religion or race. People like you are a disgrace to this great country, moron! FOR GOD AND COUNTRY!

        • Peter

          CJ, It was not Christianity that did all the things you accuse it of. It was sinful people using the veil of respectability offered by a dominant religious facade, who committed all those hideous things. If you can’t see that and wish to hold on to your bigotry against Christians at all costs, then there is little hope for you. I hope that’s not the case.

          • Vigilant

            Peter, you’re absolutely correct.

            I’ve often marvelled at the naivete of non-believers who can’t separate the precepts of Christianity from the very brutal and unChristian acts of frail humankind.

            They seem to have no ability to condemn the purely human acts of charlatans who used religion to obtain their nefarious ends, while lauding the very moral and virtuous aspects of Christ’s teachings. They throw the baby out with the bathwater.

            Jefferson himself revered and honored the teachings of Christ, even though he rejected the supernatural aspects of Christianity. If more people could make this distinction, we might have fewer atheists.

      • Paul McGlade

        Irrespective of the content of the poem, it’s pretty certain that it wasn’t a 15 year old who wrote it. And if one did, they’re not 15 now.

        Versions of this poem have been reported on the internet from as early as 1999.

        http://www.snopes.com/politics/soapbox/newprayer.asp

        It makes me sad to see people taking the claims of origin at face value, and hailing as inspirational an unattributed and clearly heavily politicised and weasel-worded text like this.

        Argue based on facts, not fictions. Try to see when you are being used by people with an agenda who feel that lying serves that agenda. You don’t need this poem or the bogus claims of authorship which support it.

    • karolyn

      My question, Jeremy, is why does everybody have to be so thin-skinned? How does it violate anyone’s rights for a group of people to pray? I do not believe in the traditional God; however, I believe in God as universal intelligence and am a spiritual person. I could care less if prayer is recited anywhere, as long as I’m not forced to pray in a certain manner. It ‘s a matter of respect. When I was an agnostic, I was not anti-religion; and when I was a Christian, I did not force my beliefs on anyone. If everyone just minded their own business in matters of personal choice, we’d be a lot better off.

      • Jeremy Leochner

        I dont know Karolyn. I suppose the issue is when government gets involved. It seems to somehow suggest religious views or a specific religious view is more significant or more important than another religious view or those without religious view. I respect you for being genuine in your views of christianity and not pushing it on others. I guess the desire is simply to honor everone equally.

        • http://?? Joe H.

          Jeremy,
          Then the answer is obvious!! Keep the government the hell out of the rights of people to worship as they please!!!

          • Jeremy Leochner

            Joe I dont want government to interfere with rights of people with religious beliefs. I just want all nationally observed days to be something that can represent everyones views or interests.

      • http://naver samurai

        Then why are Christians arrested for sitting 50 meters behind a gay pride parade praying? Are they bothering anyone? FOR GOD AND COUNTRY!

    • Vigilant

      Jeremy says, “We are not and cannot be a religious nation as that would go against the principles of our republic that recognize the rights of those without religious beliefs. Yet we cannot be a secular nation as that would equally go against the principles of the republic that recognize the rights of people who do have religious belief.”

      We are, as a nation, a religious nation by and large. The Founders knew this, and it went without saying that our Republic would not last in the absence of a firm moral guide to action. Thus, Jefferson revered the moral teachings of Jesus but rejected the supernatural aspects of Christianity as a revealed religion.

      None of the important Founders were atheists. The very basis of our government rests upon Jefferson’s iteration of the principles of Natural Law. One cannot, at will, expunge the word “Creator” when talking about the endowment of unalienable rights. The Constitution itself is a document that formalized the expressions of life, liberty and property (Locke’s words).

      Any serious student of history cannot deny that Christianity imbued many aspects of everyday life in the early Republic. The writings of the Founders, the inscriptions on our memorials and currency, the placement of the Ten Commandments in courthouses (including the SCOTUS), observance of Christmas and Easter, school prayers and the pledge of allegiance, etc., bear witness to the ubiquitous nature of religion in our lives.

      As long as the statistics hold true, we are a Christian nation. That’s not to say that we are a theocracy, it’s not to say that Christians seek to impose their unique values on everyone else. Freedom of religion (not freedom FROM religion) is as basic a natural right as you can have.

      Jeremy, we are indeed a secular nation by design. The framers of the Constitution recognized that the best course was to keep the Federal government out of our business as much as possible, including religious beliefs. The First Amendment is a guarantee of that.

      Traditional “separation of church and state” arguments exclude the second part of the sentence in the Constitution, “nor prohibit the free exercise thereof.” It has been the nefarious aim of the FFRF, ACLU and others to eradicate that very freedom. A day of national prayer in no way indicates that the Congress has passed a law respecting an establishment of religion.

      • Jeremy Leochner

        I can understand the views of the founders. My belief is in the comparitive ambiguity of their wording with “creator” and the use of words like “divine providence” rather than a specific refrence to the divine. For me I follow the Declaration with an almost religious devotion perhaps as a replacement since I am an agnostic. I devote myself to the idea of a republic and its principles. And since a republic recognizes everyone I divide a republic from religion because for me to connect a republic to religion rejects those without religious belief or those like me who give loyalty to the republic rather than to god. I know perhaps the terrible nature of my choice but it is my choice. If it is any pentance I also follow the republic principle of respect and recognition of all views. I strive to honor and respect holy places and books and to respect those of genuine sincere belief in their religious or non religious views. All I hope in return is respect for respect.

        • Vigilant

          “I can understand the views of the founders. My belief is in the comparitive ambiguity of their wording with “creator” and the use of words like “divine providence” rather than a specific refrence to the divine.”

          Jeremy, the terms “Creator” and “Divine Providence” were the words of Deism, not Christianity per se.

          All of the Founders had been brought up as Christians. The few “movers and shakers” (Franklin, Washington, Jefferson, Adams and Madison) modified their views as a result of the Enlightenment philosophies, and Deism played a very important role in the founding of universities at that time. These founders continued to attend Christian church services throughout their lives because the moral aspects of Christianity were compelling. Moreover, regardless of their modified philosophies, they recognized that the Christian moral codes provided a framework for the ordinary people, a blueprint for the virtuous life. Deism recognized the belief in God but rejected the supernatural aspects of the “revealed” religions.

          It would be interesting to know how the specifics of the Declaration and Constitution would have turned out if they had not been Deists. One could speculate that government and Christianity would have had a much closer relationship than it enjoys now. We have the Founders to thank for the fact that the Constitution does indeed stipulate the freedom of religious belief, or non-belief, as the case may be.

          • American Patriot

            I noticed that you forgot to mention that many of them were Mason’s. Now, there is one EVIL Group of secret squirrels. Playing the role as conservative Christian’s. If they are so good. Why all the secrecy? I will tell you why. Evil hate’s light. Expose these Demonic people before they ruin our beautiful country. Do some research on this group. And, see for yourself how evil they are. And, what they are really into.

        • American Patriot

          Good post!

          • Jeremy Leochner

            Thank you

    • wandamurline

      If you actually read the Constitution, it states that the government cannot create a religion and require the citizens to join. So where does separation of church and state….if the government is no “creating” their own religion and requiring us to join, why can’t we say a pray wherever we want. The Supreme Court got this one wrong…every religion should be allowed their freedoms. I am sorry that you are an atheist because you are soulless and will spend an eternity in hell. You are free to choose your afterlife, but as a Christian, I will pray for you that you may become one of God’s children before it is too late. God Bless You.

    • http://al@bellaproducts.com al metcalf

      And my prayer is that we see the last of Obama and all of his Chicago Thugs ASAP

  • homeboy

    funny how the president likes triditions but wants to destroy the constitution and our way of life.

    • Eddie47d

      I’m going to assume that the National Day of Prayer was enacted with good intentions but more favored by the religious right. I see no harm in a special day of prayer especially since no one is forced to participate.That in it’s self is true freedom. We also have Thanksgiving Day which far more people embrace and even agnostics bow their heads in silent prayer for the bounty in our great nation.

  • Bert Cundle

    GOVERNMENT INVOLVED RELIGION … LIKE IT OR NOT!!!

  • Bert Cundle

    The older Laws, were more like Right!
    Prayers & God, Keept out of sight.
    (ZAN-TI-MOW)

  • http://www.wewanttotakeamericaback.com David

    Thing is Jereme, you have a day set aside to honor agnostics and atheist. We just celebrated April Fools Day!

    Ps 14:1 “The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God.”

    • Bert Cundle

      yOU ARE BLINDED BY A BOOK AS GOD!

      • Chief

        Your words Bert not mine you made them you will have to stand by them Right or Wrong.May God have mercy on us all.

    • Jeremy Leochner

      Perhaps I am a fool David. But I strive to respect everyones views. Even a fool desires and deserves respect if respect he shows.

      • BJgrams

        Jeremy, You’re no fool. I commend you for your belief that everyone should respect others’ rights. Indeed, we should all do the same. I am a Christian and am very happy to see that Christianity or any religion has a right to abide by a National Day of Prayer in our Nation. As an American who values the Constitution, I believe that we should be able to celebrate our own beliefs and not be subjugated into following any one practice of religion or lack of such. I do believe that the seperation of church and state was put in place to prevent the government from interferring with anyone’s beliefs as long as they don’t harm anyone else.

        • http://naver samurai

          I challenge you to show me the paragraph in the Constitution that says seperation of church and state. It isn’t there! FOR GOD AND COUNTRY!

  • smilee

    Ruling that they do not have standing means they did not make any decision on the issues involved, they simple dismissed it because they could plaintiff failed to show any personal injury or loss which is required in any civil suit. This article fails totally is making this point and leads you to believe they ruled on it which they did not. This action does not effect the issue in any way.

  • http://com i41

    Remember the muslim marxist moron cancelled the National Day of prayer and then had the the mulism pedohiles in for a rug romp in the WH, must have a load of goats and young boys shipped in. Seperation of governemnt and religion doesn’t count for the goat abusing muslim, they get foot baths and time off to stick their rears in the air like a she cat in heat 5 times a day. Either the bastards can live under our standrad not some 3rd world puke sewer they come from, if they want that crap, leave and shut up. David so can we change April Fools Day as the new Democrap Fools Day! Good Job and such a true Ps.

  • Bob

    Christians do not need the permission of our marxist/atheist government to observe a day of prayer any more than the early Christians needed the approval of the pagan Romans to worship Christ. In a way, it almost seems a little hypocritical to ask for approval from our satanic courts and our satanic president. Let’s just pray and if the government doesn’t like it, that’s just too bad.

    • http://?? Joe H.

      Bob,
      I suggest you try to pray out loud in a city council meeting!!!

  • American Patriot

    Let’s see if Joe Biden puts on his bunny costume and Obama put’s on his Chicken costume for the up and coming Easter egg hunt on the White House lawn this weekend with our fine GOP and Dem. members of Congress and Senate looking on with excitement in their eyes. while firmly holding their little Easter baskets in their greedy little hands waiting oh so eagerly to snag up all the sweet candy coated goodies before the children can. While chanting loudly “YES WE CAN” “YES WE CAN”. OH! wait. I forgot. The left leaning radical, Jewish, socialist, Marxist, New World Order establishment’s people in Washington DC only observes Kwanzaa, passover, Hannakaa, as well as the Gay parades, Just to name a few. While the rest of our nation and the world takes up the rear. Now “REMEMBER” Obama’s new slogan for next year’s election will be “COMPASSION” OH! OH! The warm and Fuzzy feeling I get when I hear that. But, What I think he really means is CON-passion. A Passion to CON the Masses.

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