Tuesday, January 8, 2013

FRC Submits SCOTUS Brief on Behalf of 49 Members of Congress in Public Prayer Case

WASHINGTON, D.C. - Family Research Council's (FRC) Ken Klukowski, J.D., has submitted an amicus brief on behalf of 49 Members of Congress supporting the Alliance Defending Freedom's petition to the U.S. Supreme Court in the case Town of Greece v. Galloway.

In Galloway, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit ruled that the use of public prayer before town meetings in the town of Greece was an unconstitutional violation of the First Amendment. The Second Circuit court ruled this despite the town's highly inclusive policy that allowed even practicing Wiccans and atheists to offer civic prayers.

Klukowski, director of the Center for Religious Liberty at the Family Research Council, authored the amicus brief on behalf of the Members of Congress. In the brief, he compared prayer before town meetings to the legislative prayers before the U.S. House of Representatives, and noted:

"In this Court's sole examination of legislative prayer in Marsh v. Chambers, the Court determined the constitutionality of legislative prayer as practiced in Nebraska and nationwide primarily by analyzing Congress' legislative prayer practice. The Court looked approvingly to legislative prayer dating to the Founding, in the Continental Congress, Constitutional Convention, and First Congress that drafted the Establishment Clause.

"While no written prayers from the First Congress survive, other contemporaneous public prayers suggest the sort of content found in early legislative prayers. Similar prayers are offered in Congress today. If the Second Circuit's rule were correct, then Congress would have been violating the Constitution for more than two centuries."

Tony Perkins , president of the Family Research Council, made the following comments:

"Once again Americans United for the Separation of Church and State is trying to reinterpret the Constitution's protection of religious liberty into a declaration against religion. The Founders understood that religion is good for society, and defended 'the free exercise thereof.' Family Research Council is honored that 49 Members of Congress, including the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, have chosen FRC to present their arguments to the nation's highest Court. We hope the Supreme Court will reject the freedom-threatening Second Circuit opinion in this case, and reverse it."

To read the House Member's amicus brief in Greece v. Galloway, and to see a list of the Members who signed it, click here: