April 16, 2010
The Center for Inquiry (CFI) applauds the
April 15 ruling
by U.S. District Court Judge Barbara B. Crabb of the Western District of Wisconsin striking down the federal statute designating a yearly National Day of Prayer. CFI believes this ruling represents an important step toward achieving a secular state in which the government takes no position on religious issues, which is one of the purposes of the First Amendment’s Establishment Clause.
Judge Crabb’s decision granted summary judgment to the plaintiffs in
Freedom From Religion Foundation v. Obama
. FFRF originally filed the lawsuit in 2008 against the Bush administration to prevent the government from declaring the National Day of Prayer.
CFI’s president and CEO Ronald A. Lindsay called the decision “a long overdue recognition by the federal courts that the government should stay out of the prayer business entirely,” adding further that “determining which religious exercises to engage in—if any—is a matter best left to the conscience of the individual. The government should not tell us to pray—or tell us not to pray. We can decide for ourselves.”