|Koster Prays the Ruling Gets Reversed|
Joining attorneys general from 28 other states, Missouri AG Chris Koster
is now fightin
' to keep the National Day of Prayer constitutional.
The observance, first established by President George Washington
, was put in legal jeopardy last April when a federal judge in Wisconsin sided with the Freedom From Religion Foundation Inc.
and ruled that the National Day of Prayer violates the separation of church and state. (Read that decision here
The federal government disagreed and appealed. Now Koster and the other state AGs have jumped in to lend support with their amicus brief
, arguing that the Day of Prayer is actually less intrusive than, say, the prayers that begin sessions of Congress, which the Supreme Court has previously upheld.
Read the original full
district court ruling
, or check out the excerpt below, both written by Judge
Barbara B. Crabb
"[The National Day of Prayer]
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. In
this instance, the government has taken sides on a matter that must be
left to individual conscience....
[This is] not a judgment on the
value of prayer or the millions of Americans who believe in its power.
No one can doubt the important role that prayer plays in the spiritual
life of a believer.
....However, recognizing the importance of
prayer to many people does not mean that the government may enact a
statute in support of it, any more than the government may encourage
citizens to fast during the month of Ramadan, attend a synagogue, purify
themselves in a sweat lodge or practice rune magic."