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

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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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