Monday, May 3, 2010

Illinois Responds to 9-11 with Day of Prayer

On this blog you can find many references to mistaken limitations on prayer in public venues because of a belief that our Founders actually intended "separation of church and state" to mean that public officials may not invoke religion in any public way or even use it to help them make decisions about policy. But consider the following.

In 2001, then-Governor George Ryan of Illinois declared a "Day of Prayer and Remembrance" in support of the American people (due to the attacks of 9/11/2001). The wording of the proclamation refers to prayer OR meditation, but it certainly officially encourages prayer. And we have also seen "separation of church and state" used to say that schools may not have a moment of silence during the day, because such might make students feel compelled to pray or feel left out if they do not. But wouldn't a state-wide event with "prayer" actually in the title do the same thing?

If you think such a think is unconstitutional, does it become less so after a national heartbreak like 9/11? Or did objectors not speak up because the outrage would have been overwhelming and might have set them back on their mission to strip prayer from civic occasions?

Governor Ryan Declares Day of Prayer and Remembrance in Illinois

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