Wednesday, April 21, 2010

A Tragically Misinformed Ruling

Last week, we were given yet another WTH moment as in a move of judicial alchemy, Federal District Judge Barbara Crabb issued an opinion that ruled 36 U.S.C. 119 unconstitutional. This is the federal statue directing our nation’s President to proclaim the first Thursday in May as a “National Day of Prayer”. In short, this statue simply states:

“The President shall issue each year a proclamation designating the first Thursday in May that a National Day of Prayer on which the people of the United States may turn to God in prayer and meditation at churches, in groups and as individuals.”

Judge Crabb, in addressing 36 U.S.C. 119 opined:

“(The Statue) 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 added, “Recognizing the importance of prayer to many people does not mean that the government may enact a statute in support of it, any more than the government may encourage citizens to fast during the month of Ramadan, attend a synagogue, purify themselves in a sweat lodge or practice rune magic.”

This case was brought to the Bench by the Freedom from Religion Foundation, a minority group that has busied itself in attempting to eradicate any and all expression of faith in American public life. Taking the foundation’s stated goals, it would appear that they’re bent on not only erasing 400 years of history, and using judicial tyranny as a weapon against communities of faith.

Though the Justice’s ruling may have passed the Political Correctness muster, its an abysmal failure as standing up to both a constitutional and common sense muster. In this statue, there is neither “establishment” of a “state religious body”, nor preference shown to an existing faith community. It simply invites and encourages those whose faith ethos includes prayer to a Divine personage to lift up prayer on behalf of our Republic. If this proclamation were to encourage turning to the Bible, Torah, Koran, Book of Common Prayer, Talmud, Catholic Missal, et al, then the statue would fall on its face before the establishment clause. Too, there is absolutely no coercion in this proclamation. Justice Crabb’s assertion that such a statement may be seen as “threatening” to the atheist is little more than a straw man. The idea that this minority group might be discriminated against is simply claptrap.

Considering the tense atmosphere that has gripped our nation in these recent months, preventing the Chief Executive from issuing a “call to prayer” simply leaves on scratching their head. The Cuban Missile Crisis aside, I know of no more perilous days than the ones where we find ourselves. If ever there was a time to pray for our Republic, now would certainly be the time.

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