Arizona Governor Jan Brewer is once again ignoring the well established fact that oil and water (i.e., religion and politics) do not mix.
Governor Brewer has declared May 6 to be an “official” Day of Prayer in Arizona and because she made that proclamation, according to Michael Stone, the “Humanist Examiner” at Examiner.com “Atheists, agnostics, free thinkers and those with a healthy respect for the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution are all supporting a lawsuit filed against Governor Brewer by the Freedom From Religion Foundation.”
The law suit against the governor charges that a government official declaring a day of prayer creates a conflict with the ‘Establishment Clause’ of the First Amendment.
That charge is questionable but not necessarily baseless.
The Establishment Clause simply states that: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion”. That would, of course also apply to the Congresses of the various states and to government officials of those states.
Has Jan Brewer declared that anyone who does not pray on the “official Day of Prayer” will be guilty of a crime? Of course not, so her Proclamation definitely does not constitute a “law.” No conflict with the Establishment Clause there!
Now depending on how you want to interpret the phrase: “an establishment of religion” there may or may not be a conflict.
Did Gov. Brewer’s proclamation specify that only Christians or Jews or Muslims are being asked to pray on that day? Again no, so she certainly can’t be accused of attempting to “establish a religion.” The Establishment Clause, however prohibits “establishing religion” (not establishing ‘a’ particular religion”) so if a judge finds that she is attempting to establish religion as part of government’s normal function and he or she ignores the fact that a proclamation is not a law, the judge may rule the day of prayer unconstitutional.
Making such a proclamation was a stupid and needless thing to do on the part of the governor and to some extent she is squandering state resources on a personal pet project that she knew would be challenged in court and one that has no benefit for the state. She is guilty of that and she has certainly lost the future votes of the atheists, agnostics, freethinkers and etc.; but she probably doesn’t care about that.
Perhaps she can pray for reelection!
Yeah! That might do it!