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Appeals court rules House chaplain can reject secular prayers 
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 Appeals court rules House chaplain can reject secular prayers
This discussion could go in our Politics, Current Events & History forum just as easily as this Belief, Religion & Philosophy forum. What are your thoughts in this ruling?

Appeals court rules House chaplain can reject secular prayers

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A federal appeals court handed a legal victory to House Rev. Patrick J. Conroy on Good Friday when it ruled he cannot be forced to let an atheist offer a secular prayer on the chamber floor.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit dismissed a claim brought by Dan Barker, co-president of the Freedom From Religion Foundation and a former minister, that his rights were violated when Conroy said he could not serve as a guest chaplain.

Judge David S. Tatel, writing on behalf of the three-judge panel, focused the court’s ruling not on Barker’s atheism but rather on the content of the prayer.


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Robert Tulip
Thu May 02, 2019 9:19 pm
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Post Re: Appeals court rules House chaplain can reject secular prayers
Hi Chris, I read through the link including the comments. Having read some of Dan Barker's book when it was up for discussion at Booktalk, I think he is very superficial and distorted in his views, with a massive chip on his shoulder about religion, and that his campaign against Christianity fails to engage with the ethical themes in theology.

Exploiting a time set aside for prayer for the purpose of excluding religion from public view is clearly open to the charge of mendacity. And the fact that politics allows Christian language does not at all violate the separation of church and state, despite atheist whinging to the contrary. Unlike real theocracies, the USA hardly institutionalises Christianity. I personally like atheism for its focus on the high values of evidence and logic, but Barker is not a good advocate of these values in my opinion.

This appeal ruling was based on the conflict between Barker's intent and the existing regulation that prayers must have a religious purpose. As several commenters noted, that opens the way for various mock anti-religions to try to get accepted to offer House prayers. That will require conservatives to seek to ban them for insincerity, since anyone claiming to believe in Pastafarianism is just a liar seeking to denigrate faith on principle.


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Post Re: Appeals court rules House chaplain can reject secular prayers
"the House permissibly limits the opening prayer to religious prayer. "

Doesn't seem possible to get around that. I wonder how broadly they define religion. I expect Buddhist, Wiccan, Shinto, Sikh, or Australian aboriginal religious prayers have not been offered...


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Post Re: Appeals court rules House chaplain can reject secular prayers
I'd like to know if there is some sort of approved religion list for opening prayers. Is LaVeyan Satanism acceptable?



Fri May 03, 2019 11:46 pm
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