There were a couple incredible news stories taking over the skeptic/atheist world yesterday. To recap:
After Simon Singh won his recent appeal, the British Chiropractic Association has dropped their case against him (PDF)!
This means Singh is almost done with this nightmare — which started because he spoke the truth about the BCA: their products are indeed “bogus.”
They do nothing to help you and we’d all be better off not wasting our money on them.
The next step is for Singh to recover his costs for the whole debacle. Let’s hope judges agree: the BCA ought to pick up his tab.
[Singh] said he would be pursuing the BCA for his legal costs. “The issue of costs is still outstanding. I suppose it will cost the BCA upward of £300,000, and I want to make sure they end up paying my legal costs, which will be over £100,000. It could be that I don’t get that money back: that explains why people don’t fight libel cases.”
Until the BCA pays for all this money wasted on them, this case isn’t truly over.
U.S. District Judge Barbara Crabb ruled that the National Day of Prayer is unconstitutional! Finally.
The Freedom From Religion Foundation brought that lawsuit against President Bush in October, 2008, but the decision was released yesterday (PDF):
“It goes beyond mere ‘acknowledgment’ of religion because its sole purpose is to encourage all citizens to engage in prayer, an inherently religious exercise that serves no secular function in this context. In this instance, the government has taken sides on a matter that must be left to individual conscience. When the government associates one set of religious beliefs with the state and identifies nonadherents as outsiders, it encroaches upon the individual’s decision about whether and how to worship.”
“One might argue that the National Day of Prayer does not violate the establishment clause because it does not endorse any one religion. Unfortunately, that does not cure the problem. Although adherents of many religions ‘turn to God in prayer,’ not all of them do. Further, the statute seems to contemplate a specifically Christian form of prayer with its reference to ‘churches’ but no other places of worship and the limitation in the 1952 version of the statute that the National Day of Prayer may not be on a Sunday.”
The Obama administration isn’t about to stop celebrating it, though. The White House issued a Tweet yesterday saying as much:
Foundation Co-President Annie Laurie Gaylor expressed surprise and disappointment at the White House’s response to “tweet” over a constitutional issue of this magnitude: “President Obama is a constitutional scholar, and knows the issues at stake. He couldn’t possibly have read the 66-page historic ruling by Judge Crabb at the time of this Tweet,” Gaylor said.
The American Center for Law and Justice is already planning an appeal.
“It is unfortunate that this court failed to understand that a day set aside for prayer for the country represents a time-honored tradition that embraces the First Amendment, not violates it,” said Jay Sekulow, Chief Counsel of the ACLJ. “If the appeals court fails to reverse this decision, we are confident the Supreme Court will hear the case and ultimately determine that such proclamations and observances like the National Day of Prayer not only reflect our nation’s rich history, but are indeed consistent with the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment.”
Right… so can we assume Sekulow would fully support a National Day of Blasphemy? Or a National Day Without God?
In any case, the appeal won’t be decided in time for the NDoP on May 6th, so it will probably proceed as scheduled. You can bet that the FFRF won’t go down without a fight, though. Congratulations to them on this major victory.
To be clear, anyone can pray. If they want, they can pray on the National Day of Prayer. Hell, even President Obama can pray on that day.
This lawsuit was about the White House celebrating it and how that constitutes an unconstitutional government endorsement of religion.
Not only that, this is (let’s face it) a Christian event. A few years ago, when a woman was invited to deliver a Hindu prayer to open NDoP events in Troy, Michigan, the National Day of Prayer Task force objected.
This is government endorsement of religion. There’s no doubt about it. Judge Crabb made the right decision.