Judge Roy Moore & Foundation Defend NY Town Prayer in Appeals Brief
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Judge Roy Moore, former Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice, and the Foundation for Moral Law (http://www NULL.morallaw NULL.org/), a religious liberties legal organization in Montgomery, Alabama, filed an amicus curiae brief in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2d Circuit, defending public prayer at town board meetings in Greece, NY. Plaintiffs claimed the prayers “offended” them and demanded that town official censor the content of the prayers given by local clergy and citizens by preventing, for instance, prayers “in the name of Jesus.” In May, a 3-judge panel of the appeals court reversed that decision and held that the prayer was unconstitutional. Now the Town is appealing to the full appeals court.
Judge Moore noted:
“In a blatant case of judicial activism, the 3-judge panel in this case has relied on its own opinion as to what the law should be, rather than what the text of the First Amendment actually provides. Our Founding Fathers who wrote the First Amendment frequently prayed at public events and would never expect the Constitution to be used to censor divine invocation. We will continue to support the Town of Greece, New York, as they fight for the right to freely acknowledge God and to sincerely seek His favor and guidance.”
The legal brief filed by Judge Moore and the Foundation argues that judges should abide by the words of the First Amendment as they were originally understood by the Founders who wrote them. In that view, public prayer is not a “law respecting an establishment of religion,” which is all the Establishment Clause prohibits. Moreover, requiring judges and town officials to discern which prayers are “non-sectarian” versus “sectarian,” as plaintiffs want, is outside the jurisdiction and expertise of the government. Public prayer acknowledges the belief of many in towns and cities across the country that our nation relies upon Almighty God. Prayer was not ever and is not now a violation of the First Amendment to the United States Constitution.
Radical secularist groups like Americans United for Separation of Church and State continue to challenge these rulings in their attempt to censor all public reminders of Almighty God. But the right to publicly acknowledge God is not forbidden by the Constitution–it is protected by it. As long as judges abide by the words of the Constitution and not their own personal opinions, this freedom will not be taken away.
The Foundation for Moral Law (http://www NULL.morallaw NULL.org/), a national non-profit legal organization, is located in Montgomery, Alabama, and is dedicated to restoring the knowledge of God in law and government through litigation and education relating to moral issues and religious liberty cases.