For too long, secular humanists and atheists were on a winning streak against America’s traditional Christian culture.
But after overplaying their hand, things are beginning to change.
And one Federal Circuit Court just dealt these atheists a crushing blow with this decision.
A group of secular humanists, “Unitarian Universalists,” and so-called “free thinkers” sued the Pennsylvania House of Representatives to overturn a policy that prevented atheists from “praying” before the legislature opened.
After winning in a lower court, the Third Circuit Court of Appeals overturned the ruling, with Judge Thomas L. Ambro declaring in the majority opinion that “only theistic prayer can satisfy all the traditional purposes of legislative prayer.”
The U.S. Third Circuit Court of Appeals, in a 2-1 decision, upheld the policy of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives, which requires that the person who prays must be “a member of a regularly established church or religious organization.” The policy further says the prayer’s purpose is “to seek divine intervention” in the work and lives of House members.
It was the second such decision this year by an appeals court. The D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals in April ruled the chaplain of the U.S. House of Representatives could bar atheists from praying.
The majority opinion pointed to the Founding Fathers and noted that a day after proposing the First Amendment during the 18th century, Congress “urged President Washington to proclaim ‘a day of public thanksgiving and prayer, to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts, the many and signal favours of Almighty God.’”
The court quoted Supreme Court precedent and argued that, historically, legislatures prayers “seek ‘divine guidance’ in lawmaking” and “allow the legislature to ‘acknowledge the place religion holds in the lives of many private citizens.’” Such prayers also “connect [lawmakers] to a tradition dating to the time of the Framers” — one that “has always included a higher power.”
It also cited the Supreme Court’s recent decision upholding the constitutionality of a 40-foot cross.
These court decisions have stemmed the tide of the atheists push to rid American culture of any resemblance to its Christian heritage, for now.
It’s a welcome relief for many Americans who hold traditional values dearly.
But though they’ve been dealt a crushing defeat with this ruling, radical atheists aren’t going to give up any time soon.
What are your thoughts?
Do you think the Third Circuit Court made the right ruling in this case?
Let us know in the comments below.