By Susan Brinkmann, OCDS
Lawmakers from both sides of the aisle joined together yesterday to denounce the recent decision by a federal judge declaring the National Day of Prayer to be unconstitutional and announced plans to call on Attorney General Eric H. Holder to appeal the ruling.
The Washington Times is reporting that Rep. Frank R. Wolf (R-VA), the man who co-sponsored the original legislation in 1988 that designated the first Thursday in May as the National Day of Prayer, is one of 20 lawmakers who have issued a House resolution calling on the Attorney General to appeal the decision.
“What brings us together today is a misguided court decision which threatens the long-standing tradition of this country,” said Rep. Frank R. Wolf (R-VA). “I urge the Obama administration to appeal this decision and to dedicate the best and brightest minds of the Justice Department to this case.”
U.S. District Judge Barbara Crabb of Wisconsin issued a ruling on April 15 in favor of the Freedom From Religion Foundation in a lawsuit in which they contended the day violated the separation of church and state.
“The National Day of Prayer 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,” Judge Crabb wrote in her ruling. “In this instance, the government has taken sides on a matter that must be left to individual conscience.”
However, Rep. Mike McIntyre (D-NC) disagreed, saying the original law states that people “may” turn to God on that day.
“The last time I knew ‘may’ didn’t mean ‘you shall,’ ” he said. “I think that three-letter word clears that up.”
Rep. Todd Tiahrt (R-KS) said that in spite of what President Obama and some in his administration may say, “America is and always has been a nation of Christian values. I am calling on my colleagues to join us in fighting this nefarious ruling. Given the lengthy precedent set by the Supreme Court on this and related issues, we have no doubt this ill-advised ruling will be overturned.”
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