Defeat House Bill 4135 (Establishes WV Day of Prayer)

Reasons for signing

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Braham Singh
7 years ago
I'm signing because my country is a secular republic and it is unconstitutional for any government or state agency funded by tax payers, to institutionalize any religious rituals.

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Frances Welte
8 years ago
We must keep the government free from religion and religion (or lack thereof) free from the government. Anything less will result in a state of tyranny.

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Kyle Conrad
8 years ago
I'm an atheist, and last time I checked, there was desperation of church and state.

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Colin Lempriere
8 years ago
The concoction of religion and politics should not come into play in the American culture. We are not talking about Tibet, we are talking about this absolutely free and supposedly open minded country.

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Bruce E Carney
8 years ago
Article I of the Bill of Rights to the United States Constitution clearly establishes that "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion." The U.S. Constitution applies to the States as well. The proposed WV bill compels all future Governors of West Virginia: "The Governor shall, by proclamation, declare the first Thursday in May as the West Virginia Day of Prayer. The West Virginia Day of Prayer corresponds with the National Day of Prayer, 36 U.S.C. §119, on which the people of West Virginia may turn to God in prayer and meditation at churches, in groups, and as individuals." The Federal version of this law, 36 U.S.C. § 119, was passed in 1952 and signed into law by Harry S. Truman, a Southern Baptist Christian. By using the word 'shall,' the law compels all future Presidents of the United States: "The President shall issue each year a proclamation designating the first Thursday in May as a National Day of Prayer on which the people of the United States may turn to God in prayer and meditation at churches, in groups, and as individuals."

As explained in Wikipedia, the Federal law was challenged by the Freedom From Religion Foundation, and District Judge Barbara Crabb declared the statute unconstitutional, as it is "an inherently religious exercise that serves no secular function." However on appeal, the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals overturned Crabb's decision, not on the basis of constitutionality, but based on a technical ruling that the FFRF did not have standing to sue because the National Day of Prayer had not caused them harm and "a feeling of alienation cannot suffice as injury." The court went on to say, "the President is free to make appeals to the public based on many kinds of grounds, including political and religious, and that such requests do not obligate citizens to comply and do not encroach on citizens' rights." The court also cited Abraham Lincoln's second inaugural address because Lincoln's address referenced God seven times and prayer three times.

This is a non sequitur, as Abraham Lincoln was not compelled by law to proclaim a National Day of Prayer to God in churches. Lincoln chose the words in his address of his own free will. All future Presidents are not just "free to make appeals to the public based on many kinds of grounds, including political and religious." The President is compelled to ("shall") appeal to the public to "turn to God in prayer and meditation at churches."

The decision by the Court of Appeals was praised by the "Family Research Council," an innocuous sounding conservative Christian lobbying and anti-gay hate group based in Washington, D.C. http://www.splcenter.org/get-informed/intelligence-files/groups/family-research-council

This law is an overtly Christian appeal and it is unconstitutional. It is not as if Christians need the President to proclaim that they are allowed to ("may") turn to God in prayer and meditation at churches on the first Thursday of May every year. All citizens of the United States are free under the constitution to pray when and wherever they want to, as the Constitution clearly says "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof." But now, let us define what the prayer aspect of the free exercise of religion means. An individual citizen is free to pray when and wherever they want to, according to their personal belief. The Supreme Court has already ruled that no person is free under the Constitution to lead a prayer whenever and wherever they want to because this infringes on the rights of others who do not believe as they believe or pray as they pray. As soon as a person says, "Let us pray," the person is no longer just praying, the person is conducting a prayer for a larger group. And that is what places of worship all across the United States are for, where people can come together in a common belief. It is not within the purview of Legislative Power, Executive Power or Judicial Power to compel the President of the United States or any Governor or other holder of public office, that the President or Governor or other office holder "shall" declare or proclaim that citizens may turn to God in prayer and meditation at churches, in groups, and as individuals on the first Thursday of May every year, or any other day of the year. As District Judge Barbara Crabb declared, it is "an inherently religious exercise that serves no secular function." And that is why this law, as well as the proposed West Virginia House Bill 4135, is unconstitutional.

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Elizabeth Lindsay
8 years ago
I do NOT want to live under a theocracy!!

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Walter Lindsay
8 years ago
I feel there is no room for religion in government, nor should there be.

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Laura Mahony
8 years ago
Religion has no place in government, except for government to protect the right to practice or not as individuals see fit.

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Chuck Anziulewicz
8 years ago
Why do we need a West Virginia Day of Prayer?

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Bruce E Carney
8 years ago
Article I of the Bill of Rights to the United States Constitution clearly establishes that "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion." The U.S. Constitution applies to the States as well. The proposed WV bill compels all future Governors of West Virginia: "The Governor shall, by proclamation, declare the first Thursday in May as the West Virginia Day of Prayer. The West Virginia Day of Prayer corresponds with the National Day of Prayer, 36 U.S.C. §119, on which the people of West Virginia may turn to God in prayer and meditation at churches, in groups, and as individuals." The Federal version of this law, 36 U.S.C. § 119, was passed in 1952 and signed into law by Harry S. Truman, a Southern Baptist Christian. By using the word 'shall,' the law compels all future Presidents of the United States: "The President shall issue each year a proclamation designating the first Thursday in May as a National Day of Prayer on which the people of the United States may turn to God in prayer and meditation at churches, in groups, and as individuals."

As explained in Wikipedia, the Federal law was challenged by the Freedom From Religion Foundation, and District Judge Barbara Crabb declared the statute unconstitutional, as it is "an inherently religious exercise that serves no secular function." However on appeal, the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals overturned Crabb's decision, not on the basis of constitutionality, but based on a technical ruling that the FFRF did not have standing to sue because the National Day of Prayer had not caused them harm and "a feeling of alienation cannot suffice as injury." The court went on to say, "the President is free to make appeals to the public based on many kinds of grounds, including political and religious, and that such requests do not obligate citizens to comply and do not encroach on citizens' rights." The court also cited Abraham Lincoln's second inaugural address because Lincoln's address referenced God seven times and prayer three times.

This is a non sequitur, as Abraham Lincoln was not compelled by law to proclaim a National Day of Prayer to God in churches. Lincoln chose the words in his address of his own free will. All future Presidents are not just "free to make appeals to the public based on many kinds of grounds, including political and religious." The President is compelled to ("shall") appeal to the public to "turn to God in prayer and meditation at churches."

The decision by the Court of Appeals was praised by the "Family Research Council," an innocuous sounding conservative Christian lobbying and anti-gay hate group based in Washington, D.C. http://www.splcenter.org/get-informed/intelligence-files/groups/family-research-council

This law is an overtly Christian appeal and it is unconstitutional. It is not as if Christians need the President to proclaim that they are allowed to ("may") turn to God in prayer and meditation at churches on the first Thursday of May every year. All citizens of the United States are free under the constitution to pray when and wherever they want to, as the Constitution clearly says "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof." But now, let us define what the prayer aspect of the free exercise of religion means. An individual citizen is free to pray when and wherever they want to, according to their personal belief. The Supreme Court has already ruled that no person is free under the Constitution to lead a prayer whenever and wherever they want to because this infringes on the rights of others who do not believe as they believe or pray as they pray. As soon as a person says, "Let us pray," the person is no longer just praying, the person is conducting a prayer for a larger group. And that is what places of worship all across the United States are for, where people can come together in a common belief. It is not within the purview of Legislative Power, Executive Power or Judicial Power to compel the President of the United States or any Governor or other holder of public office, that the President or Governor or other office holder "shall" declare or proclaim that citizens may turn to God in prayer and meditation at churches, in groups, and as individuals on the first Thursday of May every year, or any other day of the year. As District Judge Barbara Crabb declared, it is "an inherently religious exercise that serves no secular function." And that is why this law, as well as the proposed West Virginia House Bill 4135, is unconstitutional.