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Old 04-17-2010, 09:35 AM   #1
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National Day Of Prayer Is Unconstitutional

Federal judge rules Day of Prayer unconstitutional

By TODD RICHMOND (AP)

MADISON, Wis. — A federal judge in Wisconsin ruled the National Day of Prayer unconstitutional Thursday, saying the day amounts to a call for religious action.

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.

"In fact, it is because the nature of prayer is so personal and can have such a powerful effect on a community that the government may not use its authority to try to influence an individual's decision whether and when to pray," Crabb wrote.

Congress established the day in 1952 and in 1988 set the first Thursday in May as the day for presidents to issue proclamations asking Americans to pray. The Freedom From Religion Foundation, a Madison-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.

President Barack Obama's administration has countered that the statute simply acknowledges the role of religion in the United States. Obama issued a proclamation last year but did not hold public events with religious leaders as former President George W. Bush had done.

Crabb wrote that her ruling shouldn't be considered a bar to any prayer days until all appeals are exhausted. U.S. Justice Department attorneys who represented the federal government in the case were reviewing the ruling Thursday afternoon, agency spokesman Charles Miller said. He declined further comment.

Obama spokesman Matt Lehrich said in an e-mail to The Associated Press the president still plans to issue a proclamation for the next prayer day.

"As he did last year, President Obama intends to recognize a National Day of Prayer," Lehrich said.

The American Center for Law and Justice, which represented 31 members of Congress who joined the federal government as defendants, called Crabb's ruling flawed and promised to appeal.

"It is unfortunate that this court failed to understand that a day set aside for prayer for the country represents a time-honored tradition that embraces the First Amendment, not violates it," ACLJ Chief Counsel Jay Sekulow said in a statement.

The Alliance Defense Fund, an Arizona-based group of Christian lawyers, issued a statement saying Crabb's ruling undermines American tradition dating back to the nation's birth.

Freedom From Religion Foundation attorney Richard Bolton didn't immediately return a message seeking comment.

Crabb wrote that her ruling was not a judgment on the value of prayer. She noted government involvement in prayer may be constitutional if the conduct serves a "significant secular purpose" and doesn't amount to a call for religious action. But the National Day of Prayer crosses that line, she wrote.

"It goes beyond mere 'acknowledgment' of religion because its sole purpose is to encourage all citizens to engage in prayer, an inherently religious exercise that serves no secular function in this context," she wrote. "In this instance, the government has taken sides on a matter that must be left to individual conscience."
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Old 04-17-2010, 09:51 AM   #2
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From my understanding, the National Day of Prayer is a "call" to pray - not a "mandate" to pray.

Still, I don't see why the government needs to be involved with us - it could easily become an established tradition between the different religions.
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Old 04-17-2010, 12:48 PM   #3
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We should could use a National Day of Common Sense.
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Old 04-17-2010, 12:50 PM   #4
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Perfect replacement for that day, I agree.
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Old 04-17-2010, 12:57 PM   #5
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Old 04-17-2010, 03:17 PM   #6
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probably chalk this up as a net loss

more fuel on the fire for rhetoric of, activist judges, war on Christmas, etc.

could get a couple more out to the polls, to take their country back,
also some independents be may swayed
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Old 04-17-2010, 05:29 PM   #7
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What about a National Day of Service?

Prayer without action is kind of like faith without fruits...
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Old 04-17-2010, 05:36 PM   #8
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fruits and vegetables are the most beneficial,

I say a day for both!
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Old 04-17-2010, 05:45 PM   #9
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Actually, you don't need much faith to eat fruits, since you're pretty much guaranteed to live longer.

McDonald's, on the other hand...I pray like crazy when I go there.
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Old 04-17-2010, 05:48 PM   #10
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I lost 15 pounds eating my lunch at McDonalds every day

oh ye, of little faith.
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Old 04-17-2010, 05:50 PM   #11
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the runs will do that to you
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Old 04-17-2010, 05:57 PM   #12
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Hamburger - 250 calories
Side Salad - 20 calories
Newmans Vinaigrette Balsamic Dressing - 40


Total - 310

a 1200- 1300 calories a day diet plus praying 3 times a day
and the weight comes right off - all praise to Jesus
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Old 04-17-2010, 08:35 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nathan1977 View Post
What about a National Day of Service?
That would spark accusations that the government is imposing socialism!
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Old 04-17-2010, 10:50 PM   #14
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Yeah, I'm not the most religious person in the world, but I don't see a problem really with a national day of prayer. It would only be unconstitutional if the President was ordering everyone to pray, and to pray to a specific God or obey a specific faith. And I don't think that's what the point of the day is, and to my knowledge, no president has actively done anything like that yet. It's just simply there for those who wish to pray if they so choose. I've never observed this national day (heck, didn't even know when it was), and nobody's yelled at me or rounded me up or anything yet, so...

Little bit of an overreach here, I'd say.

Angela
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Old 04-18-2010, 12:20 AM   #15
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i can't get excited over this, either way.
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