Public Prayer cited as cause of physical illness?

For Immediate Release: Wednesday, October 7, 2009
Contact: President Brad Dacus (916) 857-6900

Atheists Tell Federal Appeals Court: Public Prayer Makes Us Sick

Washington, D.C. – Briefing is nearing a close in a high-profile case challenging prayer at Presidential inaugurations, currently before the federal D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals. 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 ministers 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.

In its Opposition Brief filed last week, Pacific Justice Institute countered the legal arguments of atheists who said public prayer traumatized them to the point of illness. Among the more dire claims, one plaintiff declared, “[W]hen 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 in this case 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.

PJI Chief Counsel Kevin Snider, who authored the opposition brief submitted last week on behalf of Drs. Warren and Lowery, commented, “Prayers designed to solemnize public events have a long and venerable history in our nation.

Are you familiar with this symbol?

Are you familiar with this symbol?

The Constitution simply does not demand that our public institutions be amoral or atheistic.”

Brad Dacus, president of Pacific Justice Institute, stated, “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. That does not mean, however, that the vast majority of God-fearing citizens and public officials must be silenced in order to appease them.”


Comments

  1. Well, watching the thug from Chicago getting inaugurated made me sick, too, so I just turned off the TV. Problem solved.

  2. I’ll pray for you GOP Boomer Gal.

  3. I don’t think this case has much of a chance. Lowery and Warren have free speech rights. The only thing really questionable is Roberts (and previous justices) changing the oath to include ‘So help me God.’ However, there is no requirement for a Supreme Court justice to do this so it doesn’t even seem this is part of official duties.

    All that being said, I have read the actual lawsuit and it seems to me the Pacific Institute has completely mischaracterized what the arguments being made are. This seems to be their standard MO.

  4. Veritas Vincit says

    Amazing Todd, the article was just posted here and, you’ve already read the actual entire lawsuit! You are indeed gifted!

    Maybe the Democrats in Congress could employ your speed reading skills for those thousand page bills they never manage to read?

    Or, perhaps you’re a ‘free-thinker’ and are already quite aware of the case?

  5. VV,
    The complaint is 39 pages in typical format with few words per page. Not very hard to read.

    I did not know of the lawsuit before but I will gladly accept the label of ‘free-thinker.’

  6. Veritas Vincit says

    Todd, you are aware of the meme ‘freethinker’ and its current connotation? If so then fine. But check the meme first.

    Also, explain to us what you consider a ‘mis-characterization’ by PJI please. I understand the issue is prayer at solemn public events such as the inauguration of a president. Invoking a higher authority usually serves to remind the individual being installed in office that there is a higher authority that they are accountable to.

    What’s wrong with that? Whatever that authority may be… in the country we invoke the Judeo-Christian “G_d”.

  7. The point they are trying to argue is not that the reading imposes physical sickness but that they should not be forced to witness to religious indoctrination in order to watch a function of our secular government.

    I have no idea what you think freethinker means or how it means anything different now that what it has always meant.

  8. VV – still wondering what is the problem with ‘freethinker’. Is it the ‘free’ or the ‘thinking’ part that your object to?

  9. Horst Kraus says

    It is both, todd, that is the way I read vv.

  10. “but that they should not be forced to witness to religious indoctrination in order to watch a function of our secular government.”
    ………….
    There’s difference between religious indoctrination and religious expression. They are not the same thing at all. The inauguration has many traditional ceremonial elements that society likes and wants to maintain to represent orderly tranfers of power which are supported by a majority consensus of the People, and not a soul on the planet is “forced” to participate or even watch.
    It’d be preposterous to stand as an American ambassador to the opening ceremony of Parliament and start turning all green, bile and spitty at the sight of the royal-robed Queen on the self-righteous grounds that Americans don’t support monarchial institutions.

    “My way or the highway” doesn’t make for general society harmony. Most people do not realize how much out there irritates folks, because they don’t broadcast it, gracefully shrugging it off, carrying on and saying nothing. But, forcing one’s religious beliefs on another – indeed all of society -by the use of the courts is a form of tyranny. Just because athiests claim they don’t believe God exists doesn’t mean they are without religion or don’t worship the idols of self or even the State – the things they value above all else. They operate under a belief system that has rules and assumptions. It’s just pretty pathetic that their argument in this case is based on they were so annoyed they got “sick.”
    Wow. The definition of “wussies.”

  11. “It’d be preposterous to stand as an American ambassador to the opening ceremony of Parliament…”

    Of course it would, because it is not our country! But atheists, agnostics, freethinkers, non-christians, etc. are citizens of this country and have some reasonable expectation to voice concerns about how our secular government functions.

    “It’s just pretty pathetic that their argument in this case is based on they were so annoyed they got “sick.””

    Of course that isn’t in fact the argument they are putting forth but is instead the argument the Pacific Justice Institute is attempting to wrongly claim they are putting forth.

  12. Of course it would, because it is not our country! But atheists, agnostics, freethinkers, non-christians, etc. are citizens of this country and have some reasonable expectation to voice concerns about how our secular government functions.
    ……………….
    If they were actually being persecuted instead of just being annoyed.

  13. wanumba,
    You assume this is about personal discomfort when it is clearly based on an actual principle of having a secular government, which we are in fact suppose to have.

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