Friday, October 29, 2010

Judge Finds Prayer Proclamation NOT Unconstitutional

Denver judge rules against atheists charging Colorado governor proclamation of National Day of Prayer unconstitutional

-- From "Denver judge rejects suit against Day of Prayer" by The Associated Press 10/28/10

District Judge R. Michael Mullins issued a decision today saying that people suing didn’t show that their civil or political rights were violated. He says the governor’s proclamations don’t have the force of law, but simply asserted individuals’ right to practice religion.

The foundation won a similar lawsuit against the federal government earlier this year in Wisconsin. That decision is being appealed.

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From "State judge rejects prayer proclamation challenge" by Mark Barna, The Gazette (Colorado Springs) 10/29/10

In 2008 the Freedom from Religion Foundation, a Madison, Wis.-based organization that supports the separation of church and state, sued Gov. Bill Ritter and the state of Colorado, arguing that the governor’s National Day of Prayer proclamations violates the First Amendment.

Colorado governors have issued honorary proclamations on the National Day of Prayer, which occurs annually on the first Thursday of May, since 2004.

Last April, a federal judge in Wisconsin ruled in favor of the Freedom from Religion Foundation, writing in her decision that the government has no right to endorse prayer, just as it has no right to “encourage citizens to fast during the month of Ramadan, attend a synagogue, purify themselves in a sweat lodge or practice rune magic.”

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From "A Madison group that supports the separation of church-and-state loses a court battle in Denver" posted at Pierce County Herald 10/29/10

A district judge said Colorado Governor Bill Ritter did not violate the constitution when he issued a proclamation for the National Day of Prayer. Madison’s Freedom from Religion Foundation challenged the proclamation, saying it amounts to a government endorsement of religion. But Judge Michael Mullins said the proclamations do not have the force of law – and they only re-affirm people’s right to practice religion.

Foundation co-president Annie Laurie Gaylor said the judge was wrong, and she expects her group to appeal the ruling. . . .

Governors throughout the country have joined the president in proclaiming the National Day of Prayer ever since Congress established it in 1988. . . .

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