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Atheists to Federal Appeals Court: public prayer makes us sick


Pastor Rick Warren prays at President Obama's inauguration.

A lawsuit challenging prayer at Presidential inauguration is currently before the federal D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals and could be ruled on soon, according to a legal group defending the tradition.

The lawsuit, filed by hundreds of atheists and atheist groups, led by frequent litigant Michael Newdow, was thrown out by the lower federal court. The two pastors who offered prayers at President Obama’s inauguration, Dr. Rick Warren and Dr. Joseph Lowery, are named defendants in the lawsuit and are being represented by Pacific Justice Institute.

Last week, the Pacific Justice Institute countered the legal arguments of atheists who said public prayer traumatized them to the point of illness.

One plaintiff declared, “When Chief Justice Roberts asked the President to say, ‘So help me God,’ I felt threatened and sick to my stomach.”

Another plaintiff stated in court documents, “As I watched this inauguration, I cringed with disgust as I witnessed this special secular event again being poisoned with sectarian religious nonsense.”

The plaintiffs include numerous individuals, and groups such as the Freedom From Religion Foundation, The American Humanist Association, Atheists United, Atheists for Human Rights, and Military Association of Atheists & Freethinkers.

“Prayers designed to solemnize public events have a long and venerable history in our nation. The Constitution simply does not demand that our public institutions be amoral or atheistic,” said PJI Chief Counsel Kevin Snider, who authored the opposition brief submitted last week on behalf of Drs. Warren and Lowery.

“The First Amendment cannot be divorced from common sense. While atheists, humanists and freethinkers are a tiny minority in America, they are free to express and practice their lack of faith as they please." Brad Dacus, president of Pacific Justice Institute, stated. "That does not mean, however, that the vast majority of God-fearing citizens and public officials must be silenced in order to appease them.”

Source: The Pacific Justice Institute.

More articles by Alex Murashko at LA Church & State Examiner.

Comments

  • Carrie 4 years ago

    <<“The First Amendment cannot be divorced from common sense. "While atheists, humanists and freethinkers are a tiny minority in America, they are free to express and practice their lack of faith as they please." Brad Dacus, president of Pacific Justice Institute, stated. "That does not mean, however, that the vast majority of God-fearing citizens and public officials must be silenced in order to appease them.”>>

    Ehh, true. It's the establishment clause that does that. It is unconstitutional to establish or respect any particular religion (or religion as a whole) in a federal event. Gross.

  • Carrie 4 years ago

    And yea, freethinkers! =)

  • Melissa 4 years ago

    Hope I can express this coherently without sounding like I'm trying to be facetious: Scripture shows us many times pictures of those who cannot face the Saviour because of the sin in their lives--I'm not really surprised that His name can cause feelings of illness or of being threatened. Darkness cannot accept the light without a great deal of discomfort.

  • Karen - Louisville Christian Examiner 4 years ago

    Sad to say but I'm sure these atheist foundations will no doubt garner enough attention on the matter that someone will obtain a government grant in order to study whether or not public prayer has a 'scientifically proven' ill effect on those who do not believe in God! IF they did become ill then it was no doubt a spiritual conviction within that caused them to react so harshly to the prayers.

  • Kimmer 4 years ago

    What a shame. It's very difficult to believe that there are really evil people out there like this. All I can do is pray for them.

  • c.estes 4 years ago

    Must have gotten ill from the demons being thrown out of them by the presence of Holy Spirit being so near during the prayers... Wish I were kidding. Matthew 8:28-33 28 When He had come to the other side, to the country of the Gergesenes,[a] there met Him two demon-possessed men, coming out of the tombs, exceedingly fierce, so that no one could pass that way. 29 And suddenly they cried out, saying, “What have we to do with You, Jesus, You Son of God? Have You come here to torment us before the time?”
    30 Now a good way off from them there was a herd of many swine feeding. 31 So the demons begged Him, saying, “If You cast us out, permit us to go away[b] into the herd of swine.”
    32 And He said to them, “Go.” So when they had come out, they went into the herd of swine. And suddenly the whole herd of swine ran violently down the steep place into the sea, and perished in the water.

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