Washington, D.C. – House Judiciary Committee Ranking Member Lamar Smith (R-Texas) today called for Members of Congress to join him in affirming the constitutionality of the National Day of Prayer. Last month, U.S. District Judge Barbara Crabb ruled that the congressionally-established National Day of Prayer is unconstitutional. Ranking Member Smith, along with Congressional Prayer Caucus Co-Chair Randy Forbes (R-Va.), introduced a resolution (H.Res.1273) criticizing the decision, saying that Congress has the constitutional authority to recognize the role of prayer in our nation’s history. The resolution has 87 cosponsors.
Ranking Member Smith: “Setting aside a day for prayer and thanksgiving is not an ‘establishment of religion’—which would be unconstitutional—but merely the recognition of the role prayer has played in our nation’s history. It’s a national tradition that first began with George Washington.
“The National Day of Prayer imposes no duties or burdens on Americans. Anyone is free to enjoy it or ignore it. Judge Crabb’s decision represents a dangerous trend in our courts of eliminating any religious expression by the government. But the faith of our Founders is everywhere in America. Should we stamp out all national traditions that acknowledge faith?
“If the National Day of Prayer is unconstitutional, what’s next? The Pledge of Allegiance? Printing “in God we Trust” on U.S. coins? Declaring Christmas a federal holiday?
“Congress should send a clear message to the courts that we will not allow unelected federal judges to restrict the constitutional rights of Americans. Today we celebrate the National Day of Prayer, and I pray that we will have many more years to recognize this tradition that is so important to our past and our present.”