SCOTUS allows lower court to ban prayer from public square

Daniel Horowitz – June 29, 2018

In case you thought that the potential to flip Justice Kennedy’s seat alone will bring us back to the constitutional promised land, think again. So long as the lower courts are not restrained, we will never return to the Constitution and the principles of the Declaration of Independence.

There is nothing more radical than a lower court granting standing to random plaintiffs to sue against non-coerced public prayer in county government meetings, prayers that have been going on since our founding. Yet a district judge in 2015 and the en banc decision of the radical Fourth Circuit in 2017 barred Rowan County, North Carolina, from opening council sessions with a prayer, similar to what our federal Congress does every day. Yesterday, the Supreme Court refused to grant certiorari to the appeal from Rowan County, despite three years of being under a tyranny that the judges know is unconstitutional.

We shouldn’t even need to get into court precedent to understand our heritage and the true meaning of the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment. But just four years ago, in Town of Greece v. Galloway, Justice Kennedy wrote for the majority that as long as the prayer “comports with our tradition and does not coerce participation by non-adherents,” there is no room for judicial intervention. “To hold that invocations must be non-sectarian would force the legislatures sponsoring prayers and the courts deciding these cases to act as supervisors and censors of religious speech,” Kennedy wrote in the 2014 case.

New Ten Commandments Lawsuits Filed in Arkansas

TruNews – May 25, 2018

A pair of “freethinking” atheist groups have been joined by an “interfaith” group to file a lawsuit aimed at removing a Ten Commandments display on the Arkansas state capitol grounds.

The Freedom From Religion Foundation is suing Arkansas Secretary of State Mark Martin to seek the removal of the marble monument, claiming it is an unconstitutional violation of the First Amendment’s “establishment clause.” It is joined by the American Humanist Association, the Arkansas Society of Freethinkers, and a number of “individual plaintiffs who are religious and nonreligious citizens of Arkansas.”

According to a press release, the FFRF says its lawsuit:

“seeks a declaration that the monument is unconstitutional, an injunction directing the defendant to remove the monument, and costs and attorneys’ fees. The state could be on the hook for a substantial amount of money when it loses the case.”

Prayer of Thanks Removed From Elementary School’s Thanksgiving Program Following Complaint

-November 23, 2017

JONESBORO, Ark. — A prayer thanking God for life’s blessings was recently removed from an Arkansas elementary school’s Thanksgiving program after one of the nation’s most conspicuous atheist activists groups lodged a complaint.

The Wisconsin-based Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF) sent a letter to the superintendent of the Westside Consolidated School District on Nov. 10 after being informed by a parent that students at Westside Elementary School were sent home with lyrics to memorize for the program, which included a prayer of thanks to God.

“Thank You for the world so sweet/Thank You for the food we eat/Thank You for the birds that sing/Thank You, God, for everything,” the poem was to have read.

FFRF contended that the prayer is a violation of the Establishment Clause of the U.S. Constitution, which reads, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion.”

Feds fund ‘how to be a good Muslim’ lessons for U.S. schoolkids

Leo Hohmann – April 6, 2017

A Christian organization has sent a letter to U.S. Department of Education Secretary Betsy DeVos demanding the department pull its support for what it calls “an Islamic Sunday School program” for public-school students.

If DeVos does not respond within 60 days, the Christian Action Network says it will file a federal lawsuit against the DOE and the producer of the “Access Islam” lesson plans.

CAN sent the letter to DeVos March 28 claiming the “Access Islam” program is a gross violation of the First Amendment of the Constitution’s “establishment clause” because it promotes one religion over the others in lesson plans used throughout the country by teachers in grades five through 12.

CAN says it is not aware of any federal funding of comparable programs on Christianity, Hinduism, Judaism or any other major religion. But the “Access Islam” program teaches students how to convert to Islam and how to practice its “Five Pillars.”

Obama Judge Rules School Field Trips to Christian Sports Complex Violate Constitution

– March 13, 2017

JOPLIN, Mo. — A federal judge appointed to the bench by then-President Barack Obama has ruled that local public schools who took students on field trips to a Christian sports complex in Missouri violated the U.S. Constitution.

M. Douglas Harpool opined on Thursday that the voluntary trips to Victory Ministries and Sports Complex were “an impermissible entanglement of government, government funding, and government authority with a particular religion and religious message in violation of the Establishment Clause.”

According to reports, various schools within the Joplin School District visited the facility in 2014 and 2015, including North Middle School, which conducted the trip after students were provided an opportunity to vote on three options for their outing. School officials state that the majority of youth chose the sports complex. Students in the district also visited the facility for abstinence-only sexual education.