Ken Klukowski

People are praying in a city hall in Michigan, and atheists are up in arms. People of faith should hope the secularists push this into court, because this time the believers should win.

There’s something happening in Warren, Michigan. This town has been hit hard by layoffs, like the rest of the state. (Michigan’s unemployment rate is over 14%—the worst in the nation, thanks in no small part to Democratic Gov. Jennifer Granholm imposing big-government taxes, entitlements and union labor policies on the people there.)

Learning the hard way that government cannot meet every need, many in Warren are turning to the ultimate source for help. They’re praying. They’re asking God to provide for their material needs, and to comfort their families as they seek work.

Local church leaders have set up a booth in the atrium of city hall in Warren, where people can stop by and have someone pray with them. It’s a textbook example of churches ministering to those in need, going to the place where people in need are going for assistance.

But the local militant atheists will have none of that. They’re insisting on the city allowing them to set up a nearby booth in the atrium to be able to pass out literature hostile to religious faith.

That’s charity for you. Nothing says, “I’m here to help you” like a pamphlet telling you there is no afterlife, no ultimate justice, and that you’ll be rid of the burdens you bear only once your life ends, at which point you cease to exist.

Thanks, atheists. I feel better already.

If the city doesn’t allow them to set up their instant-downer booth, these atheists may sue. People of faith should hope that they do.

Nothing is a more predictable dividing line between liberal and conservative judges than religious actions in public. On some religious issues, this predictability allows experts to predict results before they happen.

Church-and-state issues are based on the Establishment Clause. That provision of the First Amendment says that Congress cannot establish a national religion. In 1947, a narrowly-divided Supreme Court held that this prohibition also applies to cities and states.

There are two schools of thought on what the Establishment Clause means. The first is strict separation: religious expression should be strictly separate from any public places or government-supported activity. The other is accommodation: Government should be benevolently neutral toward all peaceful expressions of faith made in good will, and accommodate as much as possible those wishing to express their faith.

Ken Klukowski

Ken Klukowski is a bestselling author and Townhall’s legal contributor covering the U.S. Supreme Court, and a fellow with the Family Research Council, American Civil Rights Union, and Liberty University School of Law.