The First Amendment to the to the U.S. Constitution was included by the Founders to separate the Federal government from religion and to prevent the establishment of a national religion. Most of them had fled England where the head of the church was the King.
Congress established a National Day of Prayer in 1952, but the 1988 law formalized its observance on the first Thursday in May, which falls on May 6 this year. The law was originally passed in 1952 and signed by former U.S. President Harry Truman. Congress amended the law in 1988 and former President Ronald Reagan signed it to make the first Thursday in May the National Day of Prayer.
The Freedom From Religion Foundation, based in Madison, Wisconsin brought a lawsuit against the National Day of Prayer, which argued that it violated the Separation of Church and State. On April 15, Wisconsin Judge Barbara Crabb issued a 66-page ruling that said the law violates the U.S. Constitution by mandating a religious activity.
The text of U.S. Public Law 324 reads: "The President shall issue each year a proclamation designating the first Thursday in May as 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."
Well, I read that they are now celebrating this holy day with activities that are held in National Parks, at the Pentagon and Past Presidents have had ceremonies in the White House.
The usual groups say they will fight the Wisconsin court's decision and that the case could end up at Supreme Court. No doubt about that, and I read that they have already collected a half a million dollars for this noble cause. Not to save the planet or the fishies in the Gulf of Mexico, but to Nationalize prayer.
Several blogs I read had posts from people claiming that President Obama had canceled the National Day of prayer. No, he has not canceled the National Day of Prayer. The 1988 Act of Congress setting the observance on the first Thursday of every May, the U.S. National Day of Prayer will take place as usual on May 6, 2010. I read that the reason was to not offend anyone. Well, if that was the reason having it should offend everyone. I knew that was too good to be true. In the in-between time, President Obama is weighing his options for replacing retiring Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens, the most liberal member of the high court.
Declaring a national day of prayer does nothing to protect the rights of all Americans, and it is an affront to the Constitution that many people have died to defend. I do not believe that any President should have ever supported an unconstitutional establishment of a National Day of Prayer. One of Fascism's biggest strengths was its position as the National Religion. "When fascism comes to America, it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying the cross." - Sinclair Lewis, 'It Can't Happen Here'.
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The ACA Lecture Series continues Sunday, March 8th at 12:15pm at the Austin History Center, 9th and Guadalupe. The building opens at noon. Ryan Bell will talk on "My Year Without God: Now a Permanent Condition."