Thursday, April 15, 2010

No More Prayer Day - Hurray!

Freedom From Religion Foundation's Dan Barker et. al., and that includes me and you if you subscribe also, has had a great day in the sunshine.  By court decision, today marked the end of the National Day of Prayer.  The 1952 Congressional decision to direct the President to call upon all Americans to recognize God through prayer is no more.  And good riddance.

I have a scant recollection of small-screen black and white images of the Reverend Billy Graham's week long 1952 televised revival meeting from Washington DC.  It was likely the only program being aired on WGN in Chicago at that time and my family huddled up in front of the Phillco to watch and listen.  I recall that my dad was interested.  I wasn't.

I had no idea then that I would be so pleased now by the turn of events.  What began in '52 at the recommendation of a single preacher has since its beginning been a growing infection of division in our nation.  Yet, I payed it little mind until soon after the Regan years when it became the established law for the first Thursday of each May to be dubbed "Prayer Day" while my own atheist sensibilities and the first amendment were snubbed and ignored completely.

But, no more.  The National Day of Prayer can finally be swept into the rubble of history, a past problem solved.  Thank goodness.  And thanks ffrf.
. No More Prayer Day - Hurray!

Post script: 
By Annie Laurie Gaylor
Freedom From Religion Foundation

First, a personal note. When our litigation attorney Rich Bolton phoned Thursday shortly before lunchtime to give our our office the happy news that FFRF had won our legal challenge of the National Day of Prayer, the office exploded in whoops. I had to put the phone down so we wouldn't deafen Rich. I realized I was jumping up and down as I passed on the news to staff. Katie, one of FFRF's executive assistants, actually did a little dance.
This was a hard-won decision. The case was difficult and time-consuming, and was unusual for involving a lot of staff input, not just attorney's time. There was onerous discovery by the Obama Administration and we worked very hard to prove the Foundation's standing to sue, based on years of efforts to deal with the numerous complaints and repercussions of this unconstitutional act of Congress. The case seemed to hinge as much on (bad) history as on (bad) law. Several staff, our staff attorney, Dan, I, interns and clerical staff spent much of February 2009 doing research on the case, with lots of additional work in the summer (not to mention an all-day videotaped deposition I went through in December!) So this is also a very sweet victory for all involved.
We truly appreciate that a vitally important constitutional question was taken seriously on its merits by the District Court. We knew the Constitution was on our side. We know it is simply wrong for the President to dictate to Americans that they should pray, and set aside an entire day for prayer once a year. But being right doesn't always mean you can get your foot in the door these days. We are celebrating the fact that at least for now, reason really has prevailed. Hooray for FFRF, hooray for the judge's ruling, hooray for our litgation attorney Rich Bolton, hooray for justice!
I certainly agree with Annie Luarie's excitement...

No comments:

Post a Comment


Join the best atheist themed blogroll!