The Freedom From Religion Foundation filed a lawsuit in federal court yesterday against Governor Jan Brewer for declaring on May 6, 2010, the “Arizona Day of Prayer.” Governor Brewer issued the declaration in conjunction with President Barack Obama and elected leaders across the country respecting the National Day of Prayer.
Millions of Americans and thousands of local leaders have traditionally prayed for the nation and its leaders during the annual event, which was codified by Congress in 1952.
“The First Amendment and the Arizona Constitution allow public officials to acknowledge our nation’s religious heritage,” said Cathi Herrod, President of Center for Arizona Policy (CAP). “The Freedom From Religion Foundation’s claims that Gov. Brewer’s actions are suddenly unconstitutional are a radical misinterpretation of the First Amendment.”
CAP has been actively involved in defending the National Day of Prayer. In June, they joined family policy councils across the country in filing a friend-of-the-court brief supporting the National Day of Prayer in the Freedom From Religion Foundation v Obama district court case.
“At a time of economic crisis and a historic budgetary shortfall, it is absolutely appropriate and prudent for our elected officials to call for prayer,” said Herrod.
Congress and President Harry Truman instituted the National Day of Prayer in 1952 in a joint resolution. In 1988, President Ronald Reagan signed an amendment specifying that the annual event would be observed on “the first Thursday in May each year.”