It’s high time someone asked: where in the U.S. Constitution are so many angry people finding the legal right not to be offended?
The assumption that this imaginary protection exists is everywhere – and is usually invoked to suppress the much-more-demonstrable religious rights clearly secured by the First Amendment. Groups like the American Civil Liberties Union, Americans United for Separation of Church and State, and American Atheists all make their headlines and their reputation by demanding the right never to be faced with any sight, symbol, or idea with which they disagree.
They want Bibles out of schools and crosses off of veterans’ memorials. They want religious symbols removed from public markers and political issues removed from pastors’ sermons. They want a guarantee, in writing, from our federal government that they’ll be able to walk through life without ever being confronted by the barest wisp of suggestion that God exists or that people believe in Him.
That’s not so unreasonable is it? After all, in the immortal words of Frank Burns, “Unless we all conform, unless we follow our leaders blindly, there is no possible way we can remain free.” How long can America really be the land of liberty if people insist on walking around living their convictions and praying whenever they feel like it?
Well, the Freedom From Religion Foundation wants to find out. And their latest tactic is a lawsuit designed to eradicate the National Day of Prayer from the first Thursday of May on the federal calendar. (People who want to support the effort to defend the National Day of Prayer against this lawsuit and protect their First Amendment right to religious liberty can visit www.savethendop.org.)
Basically, this suit is just FFRF’s way of stamping its restless legal foot at hundreds of years of American history and tradition. After all, Americans have been encouraged by their leaders to pray since the Pilgrims first waded ashore. In 1775, the Continental Congress made it official by calling on the colonists to beseech the Almighty’s guidance on the forming of a new nation. Members of the Constitutional Convention prayed fervently over their historic efforts.
Lincoln proclaimed Thanksgiving a national holiday in 1863, and wartime presidents, up to and including George W. Bush, have urged citizens to intercede for their soldiers and their nation.
Alan Sears, a former federal prosecutor in the Reagan Administration, is president and CEO of the Alliance Defending Freedom, a legal alliance employing a unique combination of strategy, training, funding, and litigation to protect and preserve religious liberty, the sanctity of life, marriage, and the family.