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Entries in Freedom from Religion Foundation (3)

Thursday
Jul282011

Court Allows Rick Perry to Participate in Prayer Event

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images(HOUSTON) -- A district court in Houston ruled in favor of Gov. Rick Perry Thursday in a lawsuit trying to keep the Texas governor from participating in the Day of Prayer and Fasting event Aug. 6.

Judge Gray Miller dismissed the case after finding the plaintiffs had no standing and cited a 7th circuit ruling in favor of President Obama promoting a “national day of prayer.”

Perry’s spokesman Mark Miner said the governor is pleased with the court’s decision.

“Governor Perry looks forward to participating in a day of prayer for our nation,” Miner told ABC news in an e-mail.

A spokesman for The Response, the official name for the prayer event, lauded the court decision.

"This is a tremendous victory for the First Amendment, and the right of any and all Americans to assemble and pray without interference from forces hostile to faith,” Eric Bearse, spokesman for the Response, said.

The lawsuit against Perry was filed by the Freedom From Religion Foundation, a state/church watchdog group that believes Perry’s involvement in the event violates the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment.  The plaintiffs did not want to stop the rally from occurring but wanted the courts to bar Perry from promoting or participating in the event in any capacity.

Gov. Perry was represented by the Texas Attorney General’s office, which argued Perry’s involvement in the prayer event poses no injury to the plaintiffs and there is no need to file an injunction.

The plaintiff’s attorney said they may appeal the ruling.

Thus far, 8,000 people have signed up for the Aug. 6 event in Reliant Stadium in Houston, Texas.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Jul142011

Rick Perry Insistent Prayer Event Is Not Political

Office of the Governor, State of Texas(AUSTIN, Texas) -- In his first comments following a federal lawsuit aiming to halt the organized Day of Prayer and Fasting, Texas Gov. Rick Perry combated the idea that the religious event on Aug. 6 holds any ulterior political motives, arguing that it is solely focused on faith.

“The event’s not political.  The event’s not about promoting an organization, it’s not some fancy promotional event.  It’s going to be simple.  This is simply people coming, calling out to God,” Perry told a Christian radio show hosted by Tony Perkins and Tim Wildmon on Thursday.

On Wednesday, The Freedom from Religion Foundation, a watchdog group consisting of 16,600 members, filed a federal lawsuit in the Southern District Court of Texas to keep the religious event from occurring, arguing it violates the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment.  Perry suggested those trying to curtail people from gathering for prayer are guilty of intolerance.

“You made this statement about maybe people will want to lock me up. The fact of the matter is I look at that and I think about those that talk about Christian faith as being intolerant to some.  Isn’t it just the height of intolerance to say we can’t gather together in public and pray to our god? That’s amazing to me,” Perry said.

Earlier Thursday, several Texas newspapers reported on a transcript of a private meeting Perry held in May to raise funds for the prayer event, where he told business leaders he was “called to the ministry” and serving as governor is a pulpit provided to him by God “in this place at this time to do his will.”

A spokesman for The Response estimated over 6,000 participants have signed up for the event, but Perry hopes involvement with the event will broaden across America.

“I hope literally hundreds of thousands, if not millions of people across this country that will that day go into a spiritual, truthful fasting and praying mode, lifting up this country and then just ask for God’s will to be done.  That’s simply what we’re asking people to do. Nothing more, nothing less,” Perry said.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Jul132011

Texas Gov. Rick Perry Faces Federal Lawsuit Over Day of Prayer

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images(HOUSTON) -- Texas Governor Rick Perry is facing a federal lawsuit as a state/church watchdog group consisting of atheists and agnostics attempts to block his involvement in the Day of Prayer and Fasting organized for Aug 6.
 
The Freedom from Religion Foundation, a watchdog group consisting of 16,600 members, filed a federal lawsuit in the Southern District Court of Texas to keep the religious event from occurring, arguing it violates the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment.
 
The legal complaint says the plaintiffs are “nonbelievers who support the free exercise of religion, but strongly oppose the governmental establishment and endorsement of religion, including prayer and fasting, which are not only an ineffectual use of time and government resources, but which can be harmful or counterproductive as a substitute for reasoned action.”
 
Perry released a video for the event, officially called “The Response,” earlier this week, calling on Americans to “make plans to be part of something even bigger than Texas.”
 
“Gov. Perry is looking forward to the Aug. 6th prayer event. He believes it will serve as an important opportunity for Americans to gather together and pray to God, seeking his wisdom and guidance as our nation navigates the challenges before it,” Catherine Frazier, deputy press secretary for Perry, told ABC News.
 
"We expected this kind of legal harassment, but the right of Americans to assemble and pray has been established for over 200 years. We are confident we will be victorious,” Eric Bearse, spokesman for The Response, told ABC News.
 
Perry has invited President Obama, the nation’s governors and religious leaders to join in the event at Reliant Stadium in Houston, Texas on Aug. 6.  Over 6,000 participants have registered thus far.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio







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