ACLU Warns On Prayers At State Legislative Sessions

The North Carolina chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union wants the state's General Assembly to refrain from opening its sessions with prayers that favor one religion over others.

In a letter sent Thursday to Attorney General Roy Cooper, the civil liberties group says federal courts have repeatedly affirmed that such sectarian prayers are unconstitutional.

In the most recent example, the U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear an appeal of a lower court's ruling that Forsyth County commissioners could not begin meetings with Christian prayers.

Katy Parker, legal director of the state ACLU, says the group has received multiple complaints about the use of Christian prayers to open sessions of the General Assembly.

Calls to leaders in the House and Senate were not immediately returned Thursday.

(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)


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  • by Obama Snake Oil Co Location: Washington on Feb 6, 2012 at 11:35 AM
    This is an absurd perversion of the concept of separation of church and state. When Thomas Jefferson wrote that (it’s not found in American law), he meant that the church should not dictate to the State on law — and that the state should not dictate to the church on doctrine. Jefferson wanted to avoid establishing a state religion run by Parliament that had the power to manipulate the spiritual for the sake of the secular. That is exactly what Obama proposes to do in this case: dictate to the Catholic Church and its organizations that its doctrine on contraception, abortion, and sterilization are incorrect and force them to fund those practices that violate their most deeply held beliefs on the sanctity of life, all to satisfy Obama’s political needs.
  • by saywha? Location: Washington on Feb 3, 2012 at 06:38 AM
    I just want to congratulate Truth. You, sir or madam, are fighting the good fight and making foolish those who are arguing with you. Now, that isn't exactly a high hurdle to clear with the rightists who post here, but you are showing great stamina by taking on each one. Kudos, and keep up the good work.
    • reply
      by Truth on Feb 3, 2012 at 08:02 AM in reply to saywha?
      Hey, thanks! Just tryin' to get people to think about stuff, that's all. I know I'm not gonna convert anyone right off the bat, but hopefully they will go searching for rebuttals to my arguments and figure it out for themselves. I guess some might say I'm the kid that found out Santa is not real and I'm telling all my buddies! Most don't believe it, I mean, after all, how else do those presents get there - but eventually, they find out The Truth.
      • reply
        by bruce Whitaker jr on Feb 3, 2012 at 04:09 PM in reply to Truth
        Hi Truth not converting me in anyway. Think about this Aclu makes its money off of sueing. Its all about money. They can really care less of whom it involves. You my friend are trying real hard to not to support the aclu and raging all comments. carry on. Truth is The Government started with God and will end with God. You sir don't have to pray but don't try and stop anyone who does.
        • reply
          by Truth on Feb 3, 2012 at 04:22 PM in reply to bruce Whitaker jr
          Since you assert it, it must be true, huh? The ACLU is a non-profit and makes nearly all of its money through charitable donations. Like 1.8% is from legal fees rewards. There goes another of your arguments, I guess. I wonder if you knew they fought for christian rights too? http://www.aclufightsforchristians.com/
    • reply
      by Obama Snake Oil Co on Feb 6, 2012 at 11:42 AM in reply to saywha?
      Oh, you comrads should get along just fine. You both believe and post as libterdial communists that want government control over you and yours.
  • by anonymous on Feb 3, 2012 at 05:51 AM
    They don't want to remove GOD from prayers, they just want them to not pray to Jesus because many religions do not believe in praying to Jesus. Don't go by this article because it's very incomplete and meant to inflame.
    • reply
      by Obama Snake Oil Co on Feb 6, 2012 at 11:41 AM in reply to anonymous
      You mean those other religions that would cut your head off if you violate their religious sharia laws? Do they still stone you to dealth for being a christian or just a simple head cutting ceremony? Do they still allow women to burn in a building if not allowed to come outside without the proper garb?
  • by GODS child Location: Stantonsburg on Feb 2, 2012 at 11:10 PM
    This should not even be discussed as an option, how do they think we got here in the first place. If you don't like the way this country is and stands for, which is GOD of course then catch the next plane to another country, they leave everyday I'm quite sure. What is this world coming to, an end one day and I would not want to be some people. GOD Bless america and every one in it.
  • by ginny f Location: warsaw n c on Feb 2, 2012 at 08:11 PM
    One nation under god says it. Lectaiga
  • by farmlife on Feb 2, 2012 at 07:49 PM
    Hey members of aclu you are needed in Iraq please take the first plane headed that way
  • by anonymous on Feb 2, 2012 at 07:39 PM
    There's a much more complete article about this on www.nbc14.com. The ACLU is not saying that all praying needs to stop. “We recommend that you adopt a policy to ensure that the NCGA halts the practice of opening sessions with sectarian invocations,” wrote Katy Parker, Legal Director of the ACLU-NCLF, in today’s letter to Attorney General Cooper. Parker pointed out that “the NCGA is still permitted to open its sessions with a prayer, so long as the prayer is nonsectarian.” Using God's name is still ok in the prayer, so calm down, haters. Or is that still not good enough?
  • by ECU student on Feb 2, 2012 at 07:35 PM
    how can you be for civil liberty if you are for banning prayer? That is a contradiction.
  • by AJ Location: High Country on Feb 2, 2012 at 07:01 PM
    I am by no means a religious person, but I find all this nonsense silly.
  • by bruce whitaker Location: Bear Grass on Feb 2, 2012 at 06:49 PM
    What the forefathers wanted and fought for. ONE NATION UNDER GOD. Believe it or not thats how government started. So, please get over it. I am a man whos stands on this and not making considerations for anything else.
    • reply
      by To bruce on Feb 2, 2012 at 07:04 PM in reply to bruce whitaker
      Which God does it name?
      • reply
        by bruce on Feb 2, 2012 at 11:50 PM in reply to To bruce
        There is only one.
    • reply
      by Truth on Feb 2, 2012 at 07:05 PM in reply to bruce whitaker
      Yeah, funny thing, that whole "One nation under God" thing didn't really come about until the mid-1950s. You may want to find a more stable platform to stand on next time!
      • reply
        by History Teacher on Feb 2, 2012 at 07:39 PM in reply to Truth
        funny that the separation of church and state is not in the constitution.
        • reply
          by Truth on Feb 2, 2012 at 09:06 PM in reply to History Teacher
          I never said "One nation under god" wasn't in the constitution either, did I? The separation of church and state is a concept, much like the concept of the right to privacy or the separation of powers. They are all concepts that have been made into various laws, just like the law placing "One nation under god" on our currency. They are based on constitutional amendments or interpreted ideals. Bruce's claim seemed to be that the government originally intended for us to be one nation under god. The first amendment flies in the face of this notion and the motto didn't make the big time until the 1950s, not 1776.
        • reply
          by City Citizen on Feb 2, 2012 at 10:09 PM in reply to History Teacher
          No law enforcing "separation of church and state" either!
      • reply
        by bruce on Feb 2, 2012 at 11:49 PM in reply to Truth
        It is nice you can google. If you would of had read more the saying was changed four times never was God name not mention. If you can understand it was mention that government without god could not function.
        • reply
          by Truth on Feb 3, 2012 at 05:32 AM in reply to bruce
          The motto remained "E Pluribus Unum" until the 1950s. Likewise it was added to the Pledge of Allegiance then also. We've had it on various coins (some of which went out of circulation decades ago) at different times. It was part of the national anthem. Neither of these things existed in 1776. References to "In God We Trust" didn't occur until 36 years later.
      • reply
        by farm1 on Feb 3, 2012 at 06:00 AM in reply to Truth
        sounds like you need to get on that plane with the aclu on the way to iraq then you wont have to worry about it
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