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post #1 of 64 (permalink) Old 04-17-2010, 04:32 AM Thread Starter
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The ban on National Day of Prayer ..


Federal judge rules Day of Prayer unconstitutional
By TODD RICHMOND (AP) – 19 hours ago

MADISON, Wis. — A federal judge in Wisconsin ruled the National Day of Prayer unconstitutional Thursday, saying the day amounts to a call for religious action.

U.S. District Judge Barbara Crabb wrote that the government can no more enact laws supporting a day of prayer than it can encourage citizens to fast during Ramadan, attend a synagogue or practice magic.

"In fact, it is because the nature of prayer is so personal and can have such a powerful effect on a community that the government may not use its authority to try to influence an individual's decision whether and when to pray," Crabb wrote.

Congress established the day in 1952 and in 1988 set the first Thursday in May as the day for presidents to issue proclamations asking Americans to pray. The Freedom From Religion Foundation, a Madison-based group of atheists and agnostics, filed a lawsuit against the federal government in 2008 arguing the day violated the separation of church and state.

President Barack Obama's administration has countered that the statute simply acknowledges the role of religion in the United States. Obama issued a proclamation last year but did not hold public events with religious leaders as former President George W. Bush had done.

Crabb wrote that her ruling shouldn't be considered a bar to any prayer days until all appeals are exhausted. U.S. Justice Department attorneys who represented the federal government in the case were reviewing the ruling Thursday afternoon, agency spokesman Charles Miller said. He declined further comment.
Obama spokesman Matt Lehrich said in an e-mail to The Associated Press the president still plans to issue a proclamation for the next prayer day.
"As he did last year, President Obama intends to recognize a National Day of Prayer," Lehrich said.

The American Center for Law and Justice, which filed a friend of the court brief supporting the government on behalf of 31 members of Congress, called Crabb's ruling flawed and promised to back an appeal if one is filed.
"It is unfortunate that this court failed to understand that a day set aside for prayer for the country represents a time-honored tradition that embraces the First Amendment, not violates it," ACLJ Chief Counsel Jay Sekulow said in a statement.

The Alliance Defense Fund, an Arizona-based group of Christian lawyers, issued a statement saying Crabb's ruling undermines American tradition dating back to the nation's birth.

Freedom From Religion Foundation attorney Richard Bolton didn't immediately return a message seeking comment.

Crabb wrote that her ruling was not a judgment on the value of prayer. She noted government involvement in prayer may be constitutional if the conduct serves a "significant secular purpose" and doesn't amount to a call for religious action. But the National Day of Prayer crosses that line, she wrote.

"It goes beyond mere 'acknowledgment' of religion because its sole purpose is to encourage all citizens to engage in prayer, an inherently religious exercise that serves no secular function in this context," she wrote. "In this instance, the government has taken sides on a matter that must be left to individual conscience."

(This version CORRECTS that the American Center for Law and Justice filed a brief in the case but did not represent defendants and will join an appeal but cannot file one by itself.)

Copyright © 2010 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.


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post #2 of 64 (permalink) Old 04-17-2010, 04:42 AM
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Originally Posted by VIncymon View Post
"It goes beyond mere 'acknowledgment' of religion because its sole purpose is to encourage all citizens to engage in prayer, an inherently religious exercise that serves no secular function in this context," she wrote. "In this instance, the government has taken sides on a matter that must be left to individual conscience."
makes sense to me.
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post #3 of 64 (permalink) Old 04-17-2010, 05:56 AM
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This calls for celebration. Finally a win for Atheists, an exceptionally rare event.

I'm familiar with The Freedom From Religion Foundation. Annie Gaylor who runs FFRF contacted me last fall regarding an editorial I got published in a Madison paper.
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post #4 of 64 (permalink) Old 04-17-2010, 08:03 AM
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post #5 of 64 (permalink) Old 04-17-2010, 08:09 AM
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It is a little misleading to say there is a "ban" on the National Day of Prayer. You can still have a National Day of Prayer, it just can't be endorsed by the government. It's a ban on government declaration of the National Day of Prayer, not the National Day of Prayer itself. I'm sure there will be an appeal it will be tied up in the courts for a few more years.

It is the same for prayer in schools. The teachers and staff of the school cannot lead or endorse the prayer, but the students are allowed to pray on their own.

http://www2.ed.gov/policy/gen/guid/r..._guidance.html
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post #6 of 64 (permalink) Old 04-17-2010, 08:09 AM
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This calls for celebration. Finally a win for Atheists, an exceptionally rare event.
You just wait and see how all those christian coalitions gonna start whining about how they are sick and tired of being oppressed by those damn non-believers.
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post #7 of 64 (permalink) Old 04-17-2010, 10:11 AM
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Sounds... Good. *scratches head*
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post #8 of 64 (permalink) Old 04-17-2010, 10:45 AM
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Just one question -

Why now?

I think there are many possible answers to that question but I don't think you can treat these things as though they're happening in a vacuum. I can't help but look at all of the other stuff that's going on right now for clues as to why this comes right now and not last year or 10 years ago or ten years from now.

(For the record, I'm an agnostic)
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post #9 of 64 (permalink) Old 04-17-2010, 10:52 AM
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Perhaps we should institute a "National Day of Spiritual Contemplation".

Actually, I was unaware that the National Day of Prayer was a government event.

......
It is ironic, how often one comes across an atheist with a "holier than thou" attitude.
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post #10 of 64 (permalink) Old 04-17-2010, 02:47 PM Thread Starter
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Perhaps we should institute a "National Day of Spiritual Contemplation".

Actually, I was unaware that the National Day of Prayer was a government event.
I am glad I am not the only one scratching my head. Maybe i am just too young, but I don't remember any presidents making a big deal about national day of prayer. In fact I do not even remember seeing it on TV !

I don't see the significance of the ban, other than too simply annoy theists.
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post #11 of 64 (permalink) Old 04-17-2010, 03:10 PM
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Originally Posted by PickleNose View Post
Just one question -

Why now?

I think there are many possible answers to that question but I don't think you can treat these things as though they're happening in a vacuum. I can't help but look at all of the other stuff that's going on right now for clues as to why this comes right now and not last year or 10 years ago or ten years from now.

(For the record, I'm an agnostic)
I heard tinfoil hats are cheap these days.
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post #12 of 64 (permalink) Old 04-17-2010, 03:12 PM
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Originally Posted by VIncymon View Post

I don't see the significance of the ban, other than too simply annoy theists.

Well, you can be fairly certain there's a point somewhere. You might need to ask a legal expert just what it might be (I wouldn't trust the ones on TV) but this stuff never happens for no good reason.
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post #13 of 64 (permalink) Old 04-17-2010, 03:25 PM
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You just wait and see how all those christian coalitions gonna start whining about how they are sick and tired of being oppressed by those damn non-believers.
Yeh, they're really going to "crabb" about it!


As a very spiritual (dare I say religious) person, I'm in total agreement. Good for that judge!
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post #14 of 64 (permalink) Old 04-17-2010, 03:26 PM Thread Starter
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The only Theists it could possibly annoy would be the ones who want theocracy.

If you are talking theocracy in the most literal sense of the word .. then name for the big holiday we celebrate in December should be legally changed to X-mas.
After all, isn't calling a national holiday Christmas an infringement of separation of Church from state ? and in fact favours Christians over Jews and other faiths which celebrate a feast at that same time ?

It should be obvious that what we celebrate in December has very little to do with Christmas anymore...
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post #15 of 64 (permalink) Old 04-17-2010, 03:32 PM
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If you are talking theocracy in the most literal sense of the word .. then name for the big holiday we celebrate in December should be legally changed to X-mas...
Actually...


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Abbreviations used as Christian symbols have a long history in the church. The letters of the word "Christ" in Greek, the language in which the New Testament was written, or various titles for Jesus early became symbols of Christ and Christianity. For example, the first two letters of the word Christ (cristoV, or as it would be written in older manuscripts, CRISTOS) are the Greek letters chi (c or C) and rho (r or R). These letters were used in the early church to create the chi-rho monogram (see Chrismons), a symbol that by the fourth century became part of the official battle standard of the emperor Constantine.
Another example is the symbol of the fish, one of the earliest symbols of Christians that has been found scratched on the walls of the catacombs of Rome. It likely originated from using the first letter of several titles of Jesus (Jesus Christ Son of God Savior). When combined these initial letters together spelled the Greek word for fish (icquV, ichthus).
The exact origin of the single letter X for Christ cannot be pinpointed with certainty. Some claim that it began in the first century AD along with the other symbols, but evidence is lacking. Others think that it came into widespread use by the thirteenth century along with many other abbreviations and symbols for Christianity and various Christian ideas that were popular in the Middle Ages. However, again, the evidence is sparse.
In any case, by the fifteenth century Xmas emerged as a widely used symbol for Christmas. In 1436 Johannes Gutenberg invented the printing press with moveable type. In the early days of printing typesetting was done by hand and was very tedious and expensive. As a result, abbreviations were common. In religious publications, the church began to use the abbreviation C for the word "Christ" to cut down on the cost of the books and pamphlets. From there, the abbreviation moved into general use in newspapers and other publications, and "Xmas" became an accepted way of printing "Christmas" (along with the abbreviations Xian and Xianity). Even Webster’s dictionary acknowledges that the abbreviation Xmas was in common use by the middle of the sixteenth century.

So there is no grand scheme to dilute Christianity by promoting the use of Xmas instead of Christmas. It is not a modern invention to try to convert Christmas into a secular day, nor is it a device to promote the commercialism of the holiday season. Its origin is thoroughly rooted in the heritage of the Church. It is simply another way to say Christmas, drawing on a long history of symbolic abbreviations used in the church. In fact, as with other abbreviations used in common speech or writing (such as Mr. or etc.), the abbreviation "Xmas" should be pronounced "Christmas" just as if the word were written out in full, rather than saying "exmas." Understanding this use of Christian symbolism might help us modern day Xians focus on more important issues of the Faith during Advent, and bring a little more Peace to the Xmas Season.
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post #16 of 64 (permalink) Old 04-17-2010, 04:45 PM
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then name for the big holiday we celebrate in December should be legally changed to X-mas.

It should be obvious that what we celebrate in December has very little to do with Christmas anymore...
Not this again...*sigh* I'll explain:

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Xmas Look up Xmas at Dictionary.com
"Christmas," 1551, X'temmas, wherein the X is an abbreviation for Christ in Christmas, from first letter of Gk. Christos "Christ" (see Christ). The earlier way to abbreviate it was Xp- or Xr-, corresponding to "Chr-," and the form Xres mæsse for "Christmas" appears in the "Anglo-Saxon Chronicle" (c.1100).

So "xmas" goes back to at least 1551. That's 458 years!

If you count the earlier (for the longer "christmas" from the "Chronicle") then we're talking ~900 years.
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post #17 of 64 (permalink) Old 04-17-2010, 05:43 PM Thread Starter
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--face..palms ok you got me on the X- mas ...

Still, I don't see the need for the federal judge to waste time, putting a ban on something that does not inherently affect you.

It is like if a family pays to have a crucifix erected on their father's Grave. Even if the grave in in a public cemetery how does the crucifix in anyway oppress the casual atheist bystander ?

We can argue on the semantics of the constitution all day long, but when all is said and done, "a moment of silence to pray if you so wish" is not the significant infringement on our freedom, as so many atheists make it out to be.
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post #18 of 64 (permalink) Old 04-17-2010, 06:20 PM
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Still, I don't see the need for the federal judge to waste time, putting a ban on something that does not inherently affect you.
What is the need for the President to waste time making a proclamation every year calling for people to pray? If the President wants to say a prayer on the National Day of Prayer, that is fine, but why is it his job to call upon everyone else to pray?
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post #19 of 64 (permalink) Old 04-17-2010, 06:27 PM
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This really bothers me. It's like saying, "It's not okay to be religious."

Look, I accept that some people don't believe in God. I believe, though, and I think God should be celebrated. If you don't agree, simply just don't pray on that day.

Next, it'll be illegal to sell bibles.



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post #20 of 64 (permalink) Old 04-17-2010, 06:39 PM
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It absolutely is. What if there was a national "moment of silence to summon a spirit if you so wish"? Wouldn't that be infringing on a Christian's religion, and forcing them to do something they believe is wrong? According to The Bible, a Christian is not supposed to even be in the same room as someone who is doing that.
Its so nice to see someone quoting the Bible and believing it as truth, although you're wrong, I commend you for standing up for the Word.
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