US District Judge Barbara Crabb of Wisconsin ruled in favor of the Freedom From Religion Foundation last Thursday in the Foundation's suit seeking to force the federal government to stop declaring national days of prayer.
Reason: Such declarations go "beyond mere acknowledgment of religion" because their "sole purpose is to encourage all citizens to engage in prayer, an inherently religious exercise that serves no secular function in this context."
"Recognizing the importance of prayer to many people does not mean the government may enact a statute in support of it," she concluded, "any more than the government may encourage citizens to fast during the month of Ramadan, attend a synagogue, purify themselves in a sweat lodge, or practice rune magic."
"This decision is a tremendous victory for religious liberty," said the Rev. Barry Lynn, executive director of Americans United for Separation of Church and State. "The Constitution forbids the government to meddle in religious matters. Decisions about worship should be made by individuals without direction from elected officials. That’s what freedom is all about."
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