Legislative Prayers Constitutional?

Lord, stir the hearts of Your people to engage in these issues – may our freedom to pray and worship You be protected in every way.

The Rutherford Institute is urging the Fourth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to affirm legislative prayers in Forsyth County, North Carolina, as constitutional.

The Board of Commissioners in Forsyth County has a practice of opening its twice-monthly meetings with prayers from various local clergy, but John Whitehead, founder of the Rutherford Institute, tells OneNewsNow the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) filed a lawsuit to prohibit the prayers.

“We’re arguing that, especially since this [policy] is so broad — allowing basically anybody to pray — this is clearly constitutional,” he explains. “It’s very much a historic practice. The people who wrote the First Amendment, who put in the Establishment Clause — the clause that’s been interpreted as the so-called ‘separation of church and state’ clause — they allowed chaplains to pray. These are Christian chaplains.”

The ACLU’s complaint is that the majority of prayers are Christian, although that is reflective of the county’s population. But Whitehead argues that “as long as it’s open to other religious viewpoints, and anybody can participate in terms of their religion, it’s so broad that I think this is one case that should be constitutional.”

Even though a lower court ruled the county’s policy unconstitutional, the Rutherford Institute founder hopes the Supreme Court will hear this case and “finally put…to rest” the doctrine that says individuals cannot pray before a city council meeting.



About CPCFoundation

An unprecedented, nationwide movement of praying Legislators and citizens who are taking action to protect our Judeo-Christian heritage and religious liberty.
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One Response to Legislative Prayers Constitutional?

  1. chris reuter says:

    These people who have been trying to remove prayer, crosses, the ten commandments, and God himself from the public make me so mad! If the American people would just take the time to read the truth of America’s founding, this silliness would stop, or at least groups like the ACLU would be powerless, and they would be the ones on defense. Instead, here we are, with all evidences on our side, and we are playing defense. That should not be! We must restore the upper hand! We must always keep speaking the truth, and the truth will set us free!
    Patrick Henry said;
    “It cannot be emphasized too strongly or too often that this great nation was founded, not by religionists, but by Christians; not on religions, but on the Gospel of Jesus Christ. For this very reason peoples of other faiths have been afforded asylum, porsperity, and freedom of worship here.”

    Prior to the Revolution, many elected officials such as Samuel and John Adams appointed chaplains to open legislations with prayer. Even Congress’s first recorded business in York, on October 1, 1777 was to note the appointment of two chaplains. One was an Anglican, William White, and the other a Presbyterian, George Duffield. Less than a week later, on October 6, Congress appointed a third chaplain, the Congregationalist Timothy Dwight, to serve as a brigade of the Connecticut troops.

    In 1892, the United States Supreme Court, Church of the Holy Trinity v. United States, said that;
    “……..no purpose of action against religion can be imputed to any legislation, state or national, because this is a religious people. This is historically true. From the discovery of this continent to the present hour, there is a single voice making this affirmation.”

    The court then laid out a list of proofs, from Christopher Columbus, the Mayflower Compact, The fundamental orders of Connecticut, the charter of privileges granted by William Penn to the province of Pennsylvania, all the way to the Declaration of Independence;

    “Coming nearer to the present time, the declaration of independence recognizes the presence of the Divine in human affairs in these words:
    “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that thet are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights.”

    The court then examined State Constitutions;

    “If we examine the constitutions of the various states, we find in them a constant recognition of religious obligations. Every Constitution of every one of the forty-four states (in 1892) contains language which, either directly or by clear implication, recognizes a profound reverence for religion, and an assumption that its influence in all human affairs is essential to the wellbeing of the community…….
    “Even the Constitution of the United States, which is supposed to have little touch upon the private life of the individual, contains in the First Amendment a declaration common to the constitutions of all the states, as follows: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,” etc., and also provides in Article I, Section 7, a provision common to many constitutions, that the executive shall have ten days (Sundays excepted) within which to determine whether he will approve or veto a bill.
    There is no dissonance in these declarations. There is a universal language pervading them all, having one meaning. They affirm and reaffirm that this is a religious nation. These are not individual sayings, declarations of private persons. They are organic utterances. They speak the voice of the entire people……we find that in Updegraph v. Commonwealth, 11 S. & R. 394, 400, it was decided that
    “Christianity, general Christianity, is, and always has been, a part of the common law of Pennsylvania; . . . not Christianity with an established church and tithes and spiritual courts, but Christianity with liberty of conscience to all men…..
    And in People v. Ruggles, 8 Johns. 290, 294-295, Chancellor Kent, the great commentator on American law, speaking as Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of New York, said:
    “The people of this state, in common with the people of this country, profess the general doctrines of Christianity as the rule of their faith and practice, and to scandalize the author of these doctrines is not only, in a religious point of view, extremely impious, but, even in respect to the obligations due to society, is a gross violation of decency and good order. . . . The free, equal, and undisturbed enjoyment of religious opinion, whatever it may be, and free and decent discussions on any religious subject, is granted and secured; but to revile, with malicious and blasphemous contempt, the religion professed by almost the whole community is an abuse of that right. Nor are we bound by any expressions in the Constitution, as some have strangely supposed, either not to punish at all, or to punish indiscriminately the like attacks upon the religion of Mahomet or of the Grand Lama, and for this plain reason, that the case assumes that we are a Christian people, and the morality of the country is deeply engrafted upon Christianity, and not upon the doctrines or worship of those impostors………
    These, and many other matters which might be noticed, add a volume of unofficial declarations to the mass of organic utterances that this is a Christian nation.”

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