By Jeremy Fejfar, April 21, 2011
I was disappointed to see that a court overturned Judge Barbara Crabb’s finding that the National Day of Prayer is unconstitutional. It’s clear to me that this practice is unconstitutional.
The recurring national day of prayer is a fairly recent phenomenon. It was made an annual observance in 1952 and was officially assigned to the first Thursday in May 1988 at the behest of the Rev. Billy Graham.
The First Amendment of the Constitution states “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion,” yet this is exactly what this government-mandated day does.
The president, whether he likes it or not, is required by a law passed by Congress to proclaim this day “on which the people of the United States may turn to God in prayer …”
There was no prayer at the Constitutional Convention, despite frequent claims to the contrary, and Thomas Jefferson was quoted as saying, “civil powers alone have been given to the president of the United States and no authority to direct the religious exercises of his constituents.”
Prayer is exclusively a religious practice and has no secular purpose. While I would applaud Graham or other religious leaders to proclaim a day of prayer, the president has no business compelling me to participate in religious rituals.
Substitute the word prayer for another religious exercise (meditation, fasting, chanting, animal sacrifice), and it becomes apparent how improper this proclamation is.