Wisconsin Group Files Suit, Claiming Perry's Prayer Event Has "No Secular Rationale"

Wisconsin Group Files Suit, Claiming Perry's Prayer Event Has "No Secular Rationale"

Now this is a response: Perhaps you've heard that a Wisconsin-based "state/church watchdog" group opposed to mixin' government and religion today filed for a temporary injunction down in Houston, asking a federal court to put the kibosh on Gov. Rick Perry's star-studded prayer rally scheduled for August 6 at Reliant Stadium. And the lawyers all said: Hallelujah!

Seems the Freedom From Religion Foundation believes that proclamation announcing the "Day of Prayer and Fasting" bearing the seal of The Great State of Texas may have violated the First Amendment clause separating church and state. Another sticking point: a couple of verses from the Books of Joel and John on Perry's announcement, lending the distinct impression that the prayer rally won't be accommodating those wearing yarmulkes or toting prayer rugs.

"Governor Perry's initiation of a Christian prayer rally at Reliant Stadium on August 6, 2011, is intended to and does have the effect of giving official recognition to the endorsement of religion; the event has no secular rationale; the purpose of the prayer rally is to encourage individual citizens to pray; persons who are not already Christian, moreover, will be fair game for conversion," says the complaint, which you can read in its entirety here. "Governor Perry's actions have been deliberately made public and directed at the citizens of Texas."

Can't say you didn't see some kind of litigation coming. From the jump, those opposed to the event have pointed not only to its overtly Christian message but to the event's deep-rooted connection to, among others, the American Family Association, the International House of Prayer and other groups preaching more than The Good Word, let's say.

Then, of course, there's the video:

From the FFRF's press release announcing today's filing:

"We always say, 'Beware prayer by pious politicians,' " says Annie Laurie Gaylor, who co-directs FFRF with husband Dan Barker, a former evangelical minister who is now an atheist. "Nothing fails like prayer. It's the ultimate political cop-out."

"The answers for America's problems won't be found on our knees or in heaven, but by using our brains, our reason and in compassionate action," adds Barker, author of Godless. "Gov. Perry's distasteful use of his civil office to plan and dictate a religious course of action to 'all citizens' is deeply offensive to many citizens, as well as to our secular form of government."

The group says it hopes to have a judge appointed to the case before week's end.

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