According to a recent poll by NBC News, 77% of Americans still believe that prayer is an important part of Government meetings. On May 5th, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the American tradition of public prayer does not violate the Constitution. This is what the ruling establishes:
• Preserves the public prayer tradition that began with our founding.
• Protects the freedom of community volunteers to pray according
to their faith in a public setting, without censorship.
• Defends the prayer giver’s freedom of speech.
For many, praying is an instinctive, soul-deep reaction to times of great joy, deep distress, and crushing grief, and permeates all aspects of life.
America’s Founding Fathers wove religious protections into our laws and government and took time to pray together publicly as they set about writing our Constitution. Even today, our own government leaders pray before launching a day’s legislative work, inaugurating a governor or president, or speaking to families reeling from natural disasters and brutal terrorist attacks.
This decision from the Supreme Court affirms that Americans are free to pray. The Court reaffirmed the 1983 case Marsh v. Chambers, which upheld funding a chaplain to lead legislative prayer as permissible under the First Amendment. The Court today held that “it is not necessary to define the precise boundary of the Establishment Clause where history shows that the specific practice is permitted. Any test the Court adopts must acknowledge a practice that was accepted by the Framers and has withstood the critical scrutiny of time and political change.”
In other words, traditional intersections of religion and government cannot possibly be prohibited by the First Amendment. Legislative prayer, for example—even aggressively religious prayers that invoke Jesus or ask the audience to participate—has been a part of our nation since the Founding. The very Congress that passed the First Amendment, for example, opened its sessions with legislative prayer by a paid chaplain.
But many elected officials still fear to protect this institution due to intimidation and misinformation. So, show your Support for Public Prayer.
Report by: Nationaldayofprayer.org and The Heritage Network
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