Sunday, May 13, 2012

'Day of Prayer' Ruled Unconstitutional in Colorado

A three-judge panel of the Colorado Court of Appeals has ruled unanimously in favor of the atheist Freedom From Religion Foundation, saying that governors' proclamations of a state Day of Prayer are unconstitutional.

UPDATE 12/2/14: Prayer IS Constitutional! Colorado Supreme Court Overturns Appeals Court

To read about the previous Colorado ruling in this case against the atheists, CLICK HERE.

For background, read Under Attack: National Day of Prayer and also read Atheists Lose: 'National Day of Prayer' Ruled Constitutional in Federal Appellate Court

-- From "Appeals court rules on Colorado Day of Prayer" by The Associated Press 5/10/12

The court said the proclamations in question sometimes included biblical verses and religious themes and were effectively a government endorsement of a religion in violation of the state constitution.

The appeals judges sent the case back to a trial court to decide whether any other Colorado governor should be barred from making similar proclamations. They said they didn't consider presidential National Day of Prayer proclamations in their ruling and noted people can still pray. [Wasn't that nice of the judges?!]

To read the entire article above, CLICK HERE.

From "Colorado appeals court declares Day of Prayer unconstitutional" posted at 5/11/12

[By their prayer proclamations, the governors] "undermine the premise that the government serves believers and nonbelievers equally," Judge Steven Bernard wrote in a 73-page decision.

The six Day of Prayer proclamations – from 2004 to 2009 -- are "predominantly religious," wrote Judges Alan Loeb and Nancy Lichtenstein.

The office of Gov. John Hickenlooper, a Democrat, said it would talk with the state attorney general before considering an appeal to the state Supreme Court

To read the entire article above, CLICK HERE.

From "Colorado Day of Prayer is unconstitutional, state appeals court rules" by Electa Draper, The Denver Post 5/11/12

The content of six Colorado Day of Prayer proclamations, 2004 to 2009, is "predominantly religious," lacking a secular context or purpose, and the effect is "government endorsement of religion over nonreligion," Bernard wrote. Judges Alan Loeb and Nancy Lichtenstein concurred.

The appeals court sent the case back to the trial court to consider whether a permanent injuntion should be entered against the state prayer event held the first Thursdays in May.

The legal challenge to the Colorado Day of Prayer was made in 2008 against Gov. Bill Ritter by the Wisconsin-based Freedom from Religion Foundation. The foundation also won a federal case in 2010, FFRF v. Obama, in which a U.S. district court ruled the National Day of Prayer unconstitutional. In 2011, however, the 7th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals found the foundation had lacked standing to make the case. Yet the Colorado appellate court affirmed FFRF's standing.

To read the entire article above, CLICK HERE.

Also read National Day of Prayer: Hidden Faith, or Public?