Beliefnet
Lynn v. Sekulow

Jay,

I find your arguments regarding the National Day of Prayer decision highly unpersuasive, and quite frankly, wrong.

First, our country does not have “a long history of recognizing the national day of prayer dating back to the late 1700’s,” as you claim. The National Day of Prayer was created by Congress less than 60 years ago. James Madison, considered the Father of the Constitution, regretted the few instances when he issued a few prayer proclamations at the behest of Congress during the war of 1812 and later wrote that presidential prayer proclamations “nourished the erroneous idea of a national religion.” 

It’s also clear that Thomas Jefferson believed that the decision to pray should be left up to the individual. They would have scoffed at the notion of a “National Day of Prayer.” In her decision, U.S. District Judge Barbara Crabb held true to our Founding Fathers’ vision of church-state separation and she should be applauded. 

You are also inaccurate when you claim Crabb’s intention with this decision is to “purge all religious references and observances from Americans’ public life.”


In her opinion, Crabb writes,
“No one can doubt the important role that prayer plays in the
spiritual life of a believer. In the best of times, people may pray as
a way of expressing joy and thanks; during times of grief, many find
that prayer provides comfort. Others may pray to give praise, seek
forgiveness, ask for guidance or find the truth.

“However,” she continued, “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. In fact, it is because the nature
of prayer is so personal and can have such a powerful effect on a
community that the government may not use its authority to try to
influence an individual’s decision whether and when to pray.”

I don’t see what is so difficult to understand about that basic
concept. Prayer is inherently a religious practice and our Constitution
makes it clear that our government must remain neutral on the subject. Yet you and your allies don’t seem to get it.

Take lawyer and Fox News reporter Megyn Kelly. I appeared
on Fox News a couple days ago to talk with Kelly about the National Day
of Prayer decision. Kelly asserted that the National Day of Prayer
doesn’t have to be about religion. She asked, “Why can’t it be a day
where we take a moment and we stop and we acknowledge the role that God
has played in the formation of this country and its laws? What’s so
promotional about religion there?”

Jay, correct me if I’m wrong, but wouldn’t you say God and prayer just MAY have something to do with religion?

I think most people would. And that’s why it’s time you just accept this court’s decision. It was a good one.

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