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Old 04-17-2010, 08:35 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, 08:51 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, 11:48 AM   #3
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We should could use a National Day of Common Sense.
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Old 04-17-2010, 11:50 AM   #4
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Perfect replacement for that day, I agree.
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Old 04-17-2010, 11:57 AM   #5
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Old 04-17-2010, 02:17 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, 04:29 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, 04:36 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, 04:45 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, 04:48 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, 04:50 PM   #11
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the runs will do that to you
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Old 04-17-2010, 04:57 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, 07:35 PM   #13
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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, 09:50 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 04-17-2010, 11:20 PM   #15
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i can't get excited over this, either way.
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Old 04-18-2010, 01:11 AM   #16
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as a christian and a liberal, it seems my faith is often at odds with my religious beliefs. but i've got to agree with the ruling. there's nothing wrong with christian groups and denominations saying today is a national day of prayer, but to involve the government in declaring such a day is unconstitutional.
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Old 04-18-2010, 02:07 AM   #17
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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.
This.

Don't want to pray? Don't.
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Old 04-19-2010, 07:47 AM   #18
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What about a National Day of Service?

Prayer without action is kind of like faith without fruits...
Yes-and we already have two. MLK day already was, and President Obama designated 9/11 as a national day of service and remembrance by signing the Kennedy Serve America act (it was a bipartisan bill). Of course there were actually people who said that Obama was "desecrating" 9/11 by doing that-Rush Limbaugh was one. And he did actually call it socialist.

Obama did not have the ecumenical prayer service at the WH on the National Day Of Prayer last year that Bush held every year.

We have many national days of ____. Who actually participates or feels any pressure to participate? So anyone can have his/her own freedom from religion on that day, and I would agree that it's an overreach to file lawsuits over it and to act as if you're being forced into anything and/or offended. But I don't think it's any "war" on Christmas or Christians or religion. I still pray when and where I want to.
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Old 05-06-2010, 12:54 PM   #19
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I don't feel slapped in the face


By Cathy Lynn Grossman, USA TODAY

WASHINGTON — If President Obama fails to intervene to allow controversial evangelist Franklin Graham to lead a National Day of Prayer event Thursday inside the Pentagon, "it will be a slap in the face of all Christians," Graham said Tuesday.

And invited or not, he'll stand in front of the Pentagon and pray, Graham said in an interview.

The Pentagon had invited a private national evangelical group, the National Day of Prayer Task Force, of which Graham is 2010 honorary chairman, to lead an official prayer service there. The prayers are for the U.S. military; Graham's son is on his fourth tour in Afghanistan.

But the invitation was rescinded after mainline Protestants, Muslims and Jews complained that Graham offends and excludes many believers because of his strict views on Christianity and his comments that Islam is "evil."

The Task Force requires organizers and prayer leaders to sign a statement of beliefs agreeing that salvation is only through Christ and that the Bible is inerrant — views not shared by all Christians, including Catholics and many mainline Protestants.

In an interview Tuesday with USA TODAY, Graham reiterated his belief that "Muslims do not worship the same 'God the Father' I worship." He laughed at Hinduism's many manifestations of God: "No elephant with 100 arms can do anything for me. None of their 9,000 gods is going to lead me to salvation.

"We are fooling ourselves if we think we can have some big kumbaya service and all hold hands and it's all going to get better in this world. It's not going to get better," Graham said.

He also said Obama pays attention only to black charismatic and Pentecostal pastors, such as his spiritual adviser, Joshua Dubois. Dubois heads the White House Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships, which has dozens of advisers from a wide spectrum of denominations.

Obama invited scores of pastors to an Easter breakfast, attended the National Prayer Breakfast, and signed the annual proclamation for the National Day of Prayer. The administration is appealing a federal court ruling that the National Day of Prayer is unconstitutional.

"The president is a committed Christian who is proud of his engagement with people of faith," White House spokesman Shin Inouye said Tuesday.

Still, Graham said, he "warned" Dubois that Obama is losing millions of "mainstream evangelicals" because he appears to be "soft on Islam" and he doesn't stand up for the "rights of the historic Christian majority." (Dubois declined to respond about a private conversation.)

Graham told USA TODAY that when Obama visited his father, 91-year-old evangelist Billy Graham, last month, the younger Graham asked the president to intercede with the Pentagon to restore his invitation. He said Obama replied that he would "look into it."

On Tuesday, Task Force spokesman Michael Calhoun said there had been no word from the White House on the matter.

The Task Force holds its main services Thursday morning at a House of Representatives office building. Graham says after he prays at the Pentagon, he'll join the group on Capitol Hill. Everyone, of any faith, is welcome to join their Christian prayers.
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Old 05-06-2010, 01:05 PM   #20
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I don't feel slapped in the face
That's because you aren't a "real" christian.


Franklin Graham is such a nasty, whiny little bastard. I will never understand why anyone would want to be associated with him in any way whatsoever. Ugh.
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