Prayer proclamation defended after ruling

By The Associated Press

Published: April 22, 2010

WASHINGTON — About two dozen members of Congress on Wednesday condemned a federal judge’s ruling that the National Day of Prayer is unconstitutional, saying prayer has long been part of the country’s history.

“The American people believe in prayer. The American people believe that prayer changes things,” said Rep. Mike Pence, R-Ind., as he urged the Obama administration use “all means at its disposal” to challenge the court’s decision.

Several of the lawmakers also called on the Justice Department to appeal the ruling.

A federal judge in Wisconsin ruled last week that the National Day of Prayer is unconstitutional because it amounts to a call for religious action. The judge did not bar any observances until all appeals are exhausted.

Congress established the day in 1952 and in 1988 set the first Thursday in May as the day for presidential proclamations asking Americans to pray.

Matt Lehrich, a spokesman for President Barack Obama, said Wednesday the president still plans to issue that proclamation.

The Freedom From Religion Foundation, a Madison, Wis.-based group of atheists and agnostics, filed a lawsuit against the federal government in 2008 arguing the day violated the separation of church and state. The administration has countered that it simply acknowledges the role of religion in the United States.

In her ruling, U.S. District Judge Barbara Crabb wrote that the government can no more enact laws supporting a day of prayer than it can encourage citizens to fast during Ramadan, attend a synagogue or practice magic.

Rep. Mike McIntyre, D-N.C., said the proclamation doesn’t force anyone to pray.


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One Response to Prayer proclamation defended after ruling

  1. Lynn says:

    “When Your people Israel are defeated before an enemy because they have sinned against You, and when they turn back to You and confess Your name, and pray and make supplication to You in this temple, then hear in heaven, and forgive the sin of Your people Israel, and bring them back to the land which You gave to their fathers…
    When Your people go out to battle against their enemy, wherever You send them, and when they pray to the Lord toward the city which You have chosen and the temple which I have built for Your name, then hear in heaven their prayer and their supplication, and MAINTAIN THEIR CAUSE….
    May the Lord our God be with us, as He was with our fathers. May He not leave us or forsake us that He may incline our hearts to Himself, to walk in all His ways, and to keep His commandments and His statutes and His judgments, which He commanded our fathers. And may these words of mine, with which I have made supplication before the Lord, be near the Lord our God day and night, that He may MAINTAIN THE CAUSE of His servant and the cause of His people Israel, as each day may require, that ALL the peoples of the earth may know that the Lord IS God; there is no other. Let your heart therefore be loyal to the Lord our God, to walk in His statutes and keep His commandments, as at this day.”
    1 Kings 8: 33, 44-45, 57-61

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