Tuesday, December 02, 2014

'Day of Prayer' Ruled Legal—Colorado Supreme Court

A six-year battle in the Colorado court system over prayer ended last week when the state's highest court ruled 5-2 that atheists suffer no "psychic harm" from the governor's annual "Day of Prayer" proclamation.

For background, read 'Day of Prayer' Ruled Unconstitutional by Colorado Court of Appeals also read Atheists Lose: 'National Day of Prayer' Ruled Constitutional

And read National Day of Prayer: Hidden Faith, or Public? as well as Atheists Told, Army Will Support National Day of Prayer

Also read Atheists, Liberals Lament Recent Supreme Court Religious Liberty Rulings including the ruling that Christians Are Free to Pray in Jesus' Name at Government Meetings

-- From "Colorado Supreme Court upholds Day of Prayer proclamations" by The Associated Press 11/25/14

. . . the state Supreme Court said opponents don't have the right to sue partly because they weren't forced to participate in the prayer day and didn't suffer any negative consequences from the government.

In a dissenting opinion, two justices said the court should have considered the merits of the case as it did over 30 years ago in a challenge to the Christmas decorations at Denver's City and County Building.

To read the entire article above, CLICK HERE.

From "Colorado Supreme Court upholds Day of Prayer proclamations, reversing appeals court ruling" by The Associated Press 11/2/14

The Colorado justices ruled that the Freedom from Religion Foundation, including four of its Colorado members, do not have the right to sue because the government spent only nominal amounts to issue the annual proclamations. Opponents also weren't forced to participate in the prayer day and didn't suffer negative consequences from the government, the court said.

Prayer day foes had argued that the proclamations amounted to an endorsement of religion that creates "a hostile environment for non-believers" who are "made to feel as if they are political outsiders." But the court said that was not enough of an injury to justify suing the government and that ruling otherwise would open up the government to lawsuits from anyone who felt politically marginalized.

Congress established a National Day of Prayer in 1952, and most states hold statewide days of prayers to coincide with the national event.

To read the entire article above, CLICK HERE.

From "Colorado Atheists Lose Day-of-Prayer Protest" by Jamie Ross, Courthouse News Service 11/25/14

Though the Colorado Court of Appeals agreed with the Freedom From Religion Foundation in 2012 that the state's Day of Prayer proclamations violate a constitutional bar on a religious preference, a five-justice majority for the state Supreme Court ordered the case against Gov. John Hickenlooper, a Democrat, dismissed on Monday.

"Even assuming that the governor used public funds to pay for the paper, hard-drive space, postage, and personnel necessary to issue one Colorado Day of Prayer proclamation each year, such incidental overhead costs are not sufficiently related to respondents' financial contributions as taxpayers to establish the requisite nexus for standing," Chief Justice Nancy Rice wrote for the majority. "If such costs were sufficient to confer taxpayer standing, any and all members of the public would have standing to challenge literally any government action that required the use of a computer, basic office supplies, or state employee time."

Justice Gregory Hobbs Jr. joined a dissent by Justice William Hood that says the proclamations are more like speech than law.

To read the entire article above, CLICK HERE.

From "Day of Prayer upheld in Colo." by Peter Marcus, The Durango Herald Denver Bureau 11/25/14

Justices William W. Hood III and Gregory J. Hobbs Jr. offered the dissenting opinions.

“By rejecting both taxpayer and individual standing, we abdicate our responsibility to consider a matter of great public importance – a matter where Colorado citizens allege that the state’s executive branch has violated an individual constitutional right that goes to the heart of who we are as people,” they said.

Incoming Attorney General Cynthia Coffman, a Republican, said the ruling provides adequate clarity.

“This decision by the state’s high court means that like the president of the United States and other governors around the country, Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper and future Colorado governors are free to issue honorary proclamations without fear of being tied up in court by special interest groups,” Coffman said. “It was the correct ruling by the justices after careful consideration of the issues.”

The battle over National Day of Prayer proclamations is not new. But with state supreme court reversing an appeal’s court ruling, the road for continued challenges is cut short, leaving the nonreligious with little recourse.

To read the entire article above, CLICK HERE.

From "Court says [Gov.] Hickenlooper can declare a day of prayer" Editorial at Colorado Springs Gazette 12/1/14

The anti-religion, anti-free speech lawsuit was filed by a usual suspect: The Freedom From Religion Foundation. The foundation previously sued President Barack Obama for declaring a national day of prayer and lost in the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals.

Based in Wisconsin, the FFRF filed suit on behalf of Colorado residents Mike Smith, David Habecker, Timothy G. Bailey and Jeff Baysinger, who all claim they are damaged when the governor declares an annual day of prayer.

The key problem with the Freedom From Religion Foundation and its routine nuisance lawsuits can be seen in the organization's name. This country was founded to protect freedom "of" religion, which cannot be done if government also protects Americans "from" religion.

Freedom "from" religions would involve preventing religious leaders from telling believers to vote for candidates who support biblical principles. The FFRF has attempted this and failed. Freedom "from" religion would involve scouring society of religious sights and sounds in public space. The FFRF has tried and failed. Freedom "from" religion would involve forbidding politicians from openly praying or mentioning God. The FFRF has tried and failed.

To read the entire editorial above, CLICK HERE.

Also read the long list of states enacting laws to bring prayer back into public view.

. . . and yet the Liberal Media Ignore 40,000 National Prayer Events