Group sues Texas governor for 'unconstitutional' participation in prayer rally

whiskeyguy

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Group sues Texas governor for 'unconstitutional' participation in prayer rally
By the CNN Wire Staff

(CNN) - A national organization focused on ensuring the separation of church and state challenged Wednesday the involvement of Texas Gov. Rick Perry in an upcoming evangelical Christian prayer rally.

The Freedom From Religion Foundation is asking the Southern District Court of Texas in Houston to declare Perry's connection to a "Day of Prayer and Fasting" unconstitutional and stop any further participation on his part, the foundation said.

Perry's office says the governor still looks forward to the event.

"He believes it will serve as an important opportunity for Americans to gather together and pray to God," said Catherine Frazier, deputy press secretary of Perry's office. "The pending litigation does not affect plans for the prayer event to move forward as planned."

Perry asked that other governors make a similar proclamation and invite their constituents to join in the day, according to the announcement of the rally.

The lawsuit claims that the event sends a message that nonbelievers are "political outsiders" and that Perry's actions violate the First Amendment's Establishment Clause, which prohibits the government from making any law that favors one religion over another.

The foundation charges in its statement that Perry's connection to the event gives official recognition to a devotional event and tries to encourage people to pray and non-Christians to convert to Christianity.

The Madison, Wisconsin-based foundation calls itself the nation's largest atheist/agnostic membership group.

In June, Perry made the proclamation that August 6 would be a "Day of Prayer and Fasting for Our Nation to seek God's guidance and wisdom in addressing the challenges that face our communities, states and nation."

The meeting, hosted by the American Family Association at Reliant Stadium in Houston, will be "a non-denominational, apolitical, Christian prayer meeting," the governor's announcement said.

According to its website, the American Family Association's mission is to "inform, equip, and activate individuals to strengthen the moral foundations of American culture, and give aid to the church here and abroad."
Eh, not sure what I think here. My initial reaction was to agree with the lawsuit, but I don't know now. He's basically instating a national day of prayer (non-denominational), and then he is attending the services/event that he associates with. Based on the article I can't see there being any benefit/downfall to any group. It's not a mandate to pray, and it's not like deciding to pray gives you anything special.

If it's truly nondenominational, and just a name put on a date, I don't really care. If it were the "Christian day of prayer", then I would be against it. "Separation of church and state" is not in the Constitution literally, it's an interpretation of the constitution.

Edit:

...stop any further participation on his part, the foundation said.
One of the demands of the lawsuit. You can't stop a person, politician or otherwise, from participating in their religious events. That would be unconstitutional.
 

Party Rooster

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I wish I lived in Texas. I'd show up with a Muslim prayer mat just to test their "non-denominational" sensibilities. :icon_mrgr
 

Falldog

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I wish I lived in Texas. I'd show up with a Muslim prayer mat just to test their "non-denominational" sensibilities. :icon_mrgr
I was hoping to show up with a hooker and get blown.
 

BIV

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He is a private citizen attending a privately held event. No legislation is being passed and it is not being held on government property.

Move on.
 

whiskeyguy

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He is a private citizen attending a privately held event. No legislation is being passed and it is not being held on government property.

Move on.
The participation cannot be questioned... that's his right. The only questionable thing is this:

In June, Perry made the proclamation that August 6 would be a "Day of Prayer and Fasting for Our Nation to seek God's guidance and wisdom in addressing the challenges that face our communities, states and nation.
It sounds like he made an official Texas "Day of Prayer". I could maybe see some people getting pissed off about this, but if it's nondenominational and carries no other benefits, then I don't think it's unconstitutional.
 

BIV

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In June, Perry made the proclamation that August 6 would be a "Day of Prayer and Fasting for Our Nation to seek God's guidance and wisdom in addressing the challenges that face our communities, states and nation.
Again, as long as nothing is actually put to paper and made official, I have no problem with it. It's when it's official or held on government property (that is not normally rented out for events) that it becomes an issue.
 

Party Rooster

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It sounds like he made an official Texas "Day of Prayer". I could maybe see some people getting pissed off about this, but if it's nondenominational and carries no other benefits, then I don't think it's unconstitutional.
I agree. But his bible-thumpiness is probably going to alienate more people than it draws closer to him.

I think this same group tried suing over Obama's National Day of Prayer and it was dismissed on appeal at the federal level. I would think that would be good enough precedent for these guys, but even their foundation name can't seem to get the whole "freedom from/freedom of thing" right constitutionally.
 

CousinDave

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I think I read that Perry used to be a Democrat
 

Don the Radio Guy

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Replace "good guys" with "attention seeking assholes", and this thread isn't even necessary.
 

BloodyDiaper

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Houston Chronicle:

Employing deeply religious language that national experts say affords both power and peril for his political career, Gov. Rick Perry in late May told a group of East Texas business leaders that he was "called to the ministry" at age 27, suggested that the governor's office was his pulpit and that God put him "in this place at this time to do his will."

According to a transcript of the private meeting, organized to raise funds for Perry's Aug. 6 "day of prayer and fasting" at Reliant Stadium, the governor stated that property rights, government regulation and a "legal system that's run amok" were threatening the American way of life and "it's time to just hand it over to God and say 'God, you're gonna have to fix this.' "
Oh please God, help Rick Perry win the GOP nomination.
 

whiskeyguy

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I think this same group tried suing over Obama's National Day of Prayer and it was dismissed on appeal at the federal level. I would think that would be good enough precedent for these guys, but even their foundation name can't seem to get the whole "freedom from/freedom of thing" right constitutionally.
Wait, Obama did this also? Unconstitutional! Fucking Unconstitutional!

:action-sm
 

Stig

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I think I read that Perry used to be a Democrat
They probably found out he was religious and kicked him out. Diversity, multiculturalism, tolerance... all that stuff.
 
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Is he using tax payer money? Is some sort of law being created forcing people to pray to Jesus? They got nothing.
 

BIV

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Here we go again...

Even Biv thinks these people are assholes. You're whining up the wrong tree this time.
According to a transcript of the private meeting, organized to raise funds for Perry's Aug. 6 "day of prayer and fasting" at Reliant Stadium, the governor stated that property rights, government regulation and a "legal system that's run amok" were threatening the American way of life and "it's time to just hand it over to God and say 'God, you're gonna have to fix this.' "
Not that this guy doesn't fail at life, he just has the right to be an asshole.
 

Warfarer

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Why is this a story anywhere? Some governor decided to name a day "national prayer day" and people go ape shit. If you don't like it, then don't worry about it. I really don't give a shit what someone else does as long as they don't try to push it on me, and I wouldn't feel that this was being pushed on me. Now if I went into a restaurant and ordered a burger on August 6 and they told me I needed to find god because it is fasting and prayer day, then I got some issues with it.

While religious people are assholes for the most part shoving their beliefs on others, atheists and non-believers are becoming as bad.
 
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Why is this a story anywhere? Some governor decided to name a day "national prayer day" and people go ape shit. If you don't like it, then don't worry about it. I really don't give a shit what someone else does as long as they don't try to push it on me, and I wouldn't feel that this was being pushed on me. Now if I went into a restaurant and ordered a burger on August 6 and they told me I needed to find god because it is fasting and prayer day, then I got some issues with it.

While religious people are assholes for the most part shoving their beliefs on others, atheists and non-believers are becoming as bad.
The liberal left have taken the place of the religious. You can't say anything in public without some left wing group crying about it.
 

whiskeyguy

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Is he using tax payer money? Is some sort of law being created forcing people to pray to Jesus? They got nothing.
The liberal left have taken the place of the religious. You can't say anything in public without some left wing group crying about it.
I just want to point out that if Kirk is taking the side of a government, you know they did nothing wrong.
 

Begbie

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Why is this a story anywhere? Some governor decided to name a day "national prayer day" and people go ape shit. If you don't like it, then don't worry about it. I really don't give a shit what someone else does as long as they don't try to push it on me, and I wouldn't feel that this was being pushed on me. Now if I went into a restaurant and ordered a burger on August 6 and they told me I needed to find god because it is fasting and prayer day, then I got some issues with it.

While religious people are assholes for the most part shoving their beliefs on others, atheists and non-believers are becoming as bad.
Right on. It's really nothing to get all worked up over. If they were forcing people to pray and fast, then fine, you got an argument. Otherwise, leave them the fuck alone and go about your business. But they can't do that since they're a scumbag organization whose sole intent is to meddle and create these issues. They're no different than these other scumbag organizations on the left and right who claim they're mission is to prevent people from forcing their beliefs on others, when all they're really doing is forcing they're own beliefs on the people and limiting our freedoms. Fuck'em.
 

Southpaw

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Why is this a story anywhere?
Probably because Perry is a potential presidential candidate who happens to believe God has called upon him to enact a right wing agenda.


While religious people are assholes for the most part shoving their beliefs on others, atheists and non-believers are becoming as bad.
Given the head start religion has had it will take a while for non-believers to be just as bad, nevermind the false equivalence between politicians using their positions in the government to organize religous observances and the citizens asking them to stop.
 

Von Maestro

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Freedom OF Religion not Freedom FROM Religion.

What a non-fucking story.
 

Don the Radio Guy

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Given the head start religion has had it will take a while for non-believers to be just as bad.
In the past hundred years, they're hanging right in there. Just ask anyone who lived in the USSR, Cambodia, North Korea or China.