Atheists hungry to end prayer breakfast tradition in Miss.
Attorney sound bite: Austin R. Nimocks
The Mayor’s Annual Prayer Breakfast, set for May 2, coincides with the National Day of Prayer, a yearly event in which national, state, and local leaders of all faiths are invited to pray for the nation. The National Day of Prayer was created in 1952 by a joint resolution of the U.S. Congress, and was signed into law by President Harry S. Truman.
The Alliance Defending Freedom letter sent Friday explains that “the United States Supreme Court has repeatedly acknowledged that presidential proclamations of thanksgiving and prayer, including the National Day of Prayer, are indeed a part of our culture and tradition and are in no way a violation of the Constitution.”
The letter also notes that “historically, all governors from all 50 states, along with the president of the United States, have issued proclamations in honor of the Nation Day of Prayer. There is no basis to suggest that a mayor or city council member could not do the same.”
“In no way does holding the Mayor’s Annual Prayer Breakfast constitute as an establishment of religion,” added local counsel Sharkey Burke, one of more than 2,200 allied attorneys with Alliance Defending Freedom. “Local observances of the National Day of Prayer are constitutional and appropriate, particularly since the event simply provides all Americans an opportunity to pray voluntarily according to their own faith–and does not promote any particular religion or form of religious observance.”
- Pronunciation guide: Nimocks (NIM’-ucks)