Last Friday’s standing-room only hearing before the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission was among the most dramatic I’ve witnessed. There was outrage – outrage not just from me as I declared the State Department “AWOL” in our quest to free an American Pastor, Saeed Abedini — a U.S. citizen — captured by Iran’s Revolutionary Guard […]
Across America, there will be observances this day – with the 60th annual National Day of Prayer being celebrated coast-to-coast. That is certainly great news. But what is especially gratifying is that the atheist organization, the Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF), has failed to put a stop to this national observance.
Just last month, a federal appeals court overturned a decision by a federal district court in Wisconsin that declared the National Day of Prayer presidential proclamation unconstitutional – a proclamation that is issued annually by the president. The 2011 proclamation issued by President Obama is posted here.
In the decision issued by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit, the Court’s Chief Judge Frank Easterbrook rejected an argument by FFRF that they could bring a federal lawsuit because the National Day of Prayer made them feel excluded and unwelcome. Echoing an argument made by the ACLJ in our amicus brief, the court concluded: “Hurt feelings differ from legal injury,” and all plaintiffs ultimately allege is “disagreement with the President’s action.” The decision is posted here. Our amicus brief, in which we represented nearly 70 members of Congress, is posted here.
The appeals court correctly concluded that FFRF does not have the right to silence the speech they don’t agree with and that the organization lacked legal standing to challenge the National Day of Prayer.
While this decision represents a victory for this time-honored tradition, FFRF has already said it plans to appeal that decision.
And, you should know, that FFRF is currently challenging the constitutionality of the phrase ‘under God’ in the Pledge of Allegiance. FFRF is asking the U.S. Supreme Court to take a case out of New Hampshire and overturn a lower court decision upholding the constitutionality of the Pledge.
So, FFRF wants to get rid of the National Day of Prayer and the Pledge of Allegiance with the phrase ‘under God.’
This is absurd. These challenges not only are legally flawed, but clog our court systems and represent a waste of judicial resources.
We’re standing up for the National Day of Prayer and the Pledge. We will file briefs backing the National Day of Prayer and the Pledge of Allegiance as these flawed challenges and appeals continue.
On this National Day of Prayer, I want you to know that we’re standing up to groups like FFRF, the ACLU, and others – groups that want to re-write our nation’s history and heritage.
Check out this year’s theme for the National Day of Prayer with this video produced by the National Day of Prayer Task Force.