The United States Congress will continue opening sessions with prayer after a challenge to the tradition by an atheist. A federal court ruled against a lawsuit brought by Daniel Barker, co-president of the Freedom from Religion Foundation. Barker argued he was denied the opportunity to give an opening invocation in Congress while other guest chaplains were allowed to do so. U.S. District Judge, Rosemary M. Collyer, said in her decision that House rules didn’t allow Barker to lead the prayer because he had left his faith.
Barker claimed he met all the requirements, but the chaplain denied his request because he was ‘ordained in a denomination in which he no longer practices’ and ‘is not a religious clergyman’. In a ruling Wednesday, Collyer dismissed Barker’s claims that he had been discriminated against. Collyer also pointed out, opening prayer has been a part of Congress for more than two centuries and doesn’t conflict with the establishment clause according to the United States Supreme Court. House Speaker, Paul Ryan, was quick to applaud the decision. “Since the first session of the Continental Congress, our nation’s legislature has opened with a prayer to God.
Today, that tradition was upheld and the freedom to exercise religion was vindicated. The court rightfully dismissed the claims of an atheist that he had the right to deliver a secular invocation in place of the opening prayer,” Ryan said. He continued, “Recently, especially following the return of Majority Whip Steve Scalise, this institution has been reminded about the power of prayer. I commend the District Court for its decision, and am grateful the People’s House can continue to begin its work each day, as we have for centuries, taking a moment to pray to God.” Scalise also responded to the decision on Twitter saying, “Our rights come from God, so it’s only fitting the House begins each day united in prayer.” Barker says Collyer’s decision was tainted by her “personal bias against nonreligious people.” Collyer was appointed to the court under George W. Bush.
Source: Christian Post
Bible Study: Psalm 2:10-11
DECEMBER PRAISE God an atheist attempt to detract from the tradition of prayer was thwarted. ~
PRAY there will continually be a Christian prayer witness in the US Congress.