Thursday, April 15, 2010

National Day Of Prayer Unconstitutional

April 15, 2010 - 4:49 PM | by: Mike Levine

The National Day of Prayer is unconstitutional according to a federal judge in Wisconsin.

In a 66-page opinion issued Thursday, U.S. District Judge Barbara Crabb said the holiday violates the "establishment clause" of the First Amendment, which creates a separation of church and state.

"I understand that many may disagree with that conclusion and some may even view it as a criticism of prayer or those who pray," Crabb said in her opinion.

"That is unfortunate. A determination that the government may not endorse a religious message is not a determination that the message itself is harmful, unimportant or undeserving of dissemination."

The National Day of Prayer was first established by Congress in 1952, with a more specific date for the holiday set in 1988. It is now observed on the first Thursday in May.

The ruling result from a lawsuit filed by members of the Freedom From Religion Foundation, a Madison, Wisconsin group founded in 1976. The group is pledged to promote the concept of separation of church and state. It also seeks to educate the public on matters of “nontheism.”

The Rev. Barry Lynn, executive director of Americans United for Separation of Church and State, praised the ruling.

“This decision is a tremendous victory for religious liberty,” he said. “Congress has no business telling Americans when or how to pray.”

Rightardia has long contended that the Founders intentions about the separation of church and state were clear in the Treaty of Tripoli. This treaty was signed by President John Adams and ratified by all of the members of the US Senate. 

Article 11 of the Treaty of Tripoli states: 
As the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion,—as it has in itself no character of enmity against the laws, religion, or tranquility, of Mussulmen,—and as the said States never entered into any war or act of hostility against any Mahometan nation, it is declared by the parties that no pretext arising from religious opinions shall ever produce an interruption of the harmony existing between the two countries.
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