Tuesday, April 20, 2010
By Pete Winn, Senior Writer/Editor
The humanist group praised last week’s ruling by U.S. District Court Judge Barbara B. Crabb that the 1952 statute creating the National Day of Prayer was unconstitutional because its “sole purpose is to encourage all citizens to engage in prayer, an inherently religious exercise that serves no secular function” – to quote from the judge’s ruling.
“The government should not be directing citizens to pray. In addition to being unconstitutional, it’s also especially offensive to people who don’t believe in a god and are made to feel excluded by the observance,” AHA Executive Director Roy Speckhardt said.
Those defending the National Day of Prayer, however, say that even if an atheist were to be recognized, that would not justify ending public recognition for National Day of Prayer.
“The American Humanist Association and their allied groups have every right to try to promote a new celebration if they want to -- and if they can persuade people to participate voluntarily, that’s fine, but I don’t think they have a right to do away with a long-standing tradition that is deeply rooted in our nation’s history – which is calling the people to prayer,” Peter Sprigg, senior fellow for policy studies at the Family Research Council, told CNSNews.com.
The National Day of Prayer is actually quite “inclusive,” Spriggs argued.
“It’s inclusive of the vast majority of Americans, who do believe in a Supreme Being and who do pray, and it is inclusive of the vast majority of Americans throughout the history of our country – and the vast majority of the leaders of our country though our history,” Spriggs said.
Read the full article at CNSNews
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