Giuseppe Sandro Mela.
Per tradizione secolare Congresso e Senato Americano aprono le sessioni con una preghiera a Dio Onnipotente.
«the inclusion of a prayer before the opening of each session of both the House and the Senate traces its origins back to the days of the Continental Congress, and the official recommendation of Benjamin Franklin, June 28, 1787:
“I have lived, Sir, a long time, and the longer I live,
the more convincing proofs I see of this truth: that God Governs in the affairs of men. And if a sparrow cannot fall to the ground without his notice, is it probable that an empire can rise without his aid? We have been assured, Sir, in the sacred writings, that ‘except the Lord build the House they labour in vain that build it.’ I firmly believe this; and I also believe that without his concurring aid we shall succeed in this political building no better, than the Builders of Babel . . I therefore beg leave to move— that henceforth prayers imploring the assistance of Heaven, and its blessings on our deliberations, be held in this Assembly every morning before we proceed to business, and that one or more of the Clergy of this City be requested to officiate in that Service.”» [Fonte]
«The constitutionality of legislative chaplains was upheld in 1983 by the Supreme Court (Marsh v. Chambers, 463 U.S. 783, related to chaplains in the Nebraska Legislature)» [Fonte]
Tuttavia, nel progredire dei tempi, in America si è fatta strada l’ideologia liberal democratica, la quale, proponendosi essa stessa come religione, riteneva essere intollerabile simile pratica.
L’ultimo tentativo di far dichiarare incostituzionali le preghiere iniziali di Congresso e Senato è stato fatto in perfetto stile liberal.
Dapprima si è fondata l’organizzazione non governativa ‘Freedom from Religion Foundation‘, che ha raggiunto i29,500 membri in tutti gli Stati Uniti.
Quindi questa organizzazione ha sottoposto il problema alla Corte Federale, presentandosi come interprete dei sentimenti anti-religiosi di tutto il popolo americano.
Freedom from Religion Foundation.
«Won’t you join FFRF in our critical work to promote nontheism and defend the constitutional separation between religion and government? With more than 29,500 members, the nonprofit FFRF works as an effective state/church watchdog and voice for freethought (atheism, agnosticism, skepticism)» [Freedom from Religion Foundation]
Welcome to the Freedom from Religion Foundation
The history of Western civilization shows us that most social and moral progress has been brought about by persons free from religion. In modern times the first to speak out for prison reform, for humane treatment of the mentally ill, for abolition of capital punishment, for women’s right to vote, for death with dignity for the terminally ill, and for the right to choose contraception, sterilization and abortion have been freethinkers, just as they were the first to call for an end to slavery. The Foundation works as an umbrella for those who are free from religion and are committed to the cherished principle of separation of state and church.
The Freedom From Religion Foundation is delighted to announce the formation of a new FFRF Honorary Board of distinguished achievers who have made known their dissent from religion.
The FFRF Honorary Board includes Jerry Coyne, Robin Morgan, Richard Dawkins, Daniel C. Dennett, Ernie Harburg, Jennifer Michael Hecht, Christopher Hitchens, Susan Jacoby, Lawrence Krauss, Mike Newdow, Katha Pollitt, Steven Pinker, Ron Reagan, Oliver Sacks, M.D., Robert Sapolsky, Edward Sorel and Julia Sweeney.
“We are so pleased that these outstanding thinkers and freethinkers have agreed to publicly lend their endorsement to the Foundation, and its two purposes of promoting freethought and the First Amendment’s Establishment Clause,” said Dan Barker, Foundation co-president.» [Freedom from Religion Foundation]
Questo è il profilo del giudice federale che ha esaminato la questione.
«Rosemary Mayers Collyer (born November 19, 1945) is a Senior United States District Judge of the United States District Court for the District of Columbia, and a member of the United States Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court.
Born in Port Chester, New York, Collyer received a Bachelor of Arts degree from Trinity College (now Trinity Washington University) in 1968 and a Juris Doctor from the University of Denver College of Law in 1977.
She was in private practice at the law firm of Sherman & Howard in Colorado from 1977 to 1981. She was then Chairman of the Federal Mine Safety and Health Review Commission from 1981 to 1984 and General Counsel of the National Labor Relations Board from 1984 to 1989. She returned to private practice in Washington, D.C. as a partner in the firm of Crowell & Moring LLP from 1989 to 2002.
On August 1, 2002, Collyer was nominated by President George W. Bush to a seat on the United States District Court for the District of Columbia vacated by Thomas Penfield Jackson. Collyer was confirmed by the United States Senate on November 14, 2002, and received her commission on November 15, 2002. She assumed senior status on May 18, 2016.
In 2013, Collyer was appointed by the Chief Justice of the United States to a seven-year term on the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court. The Court provides a measure of judicial oversight over surveillance activities under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, as amended. Judge Collyer’s term on the FIS Court began on March 8, 2013 and will conclude on March 7, 2020. She replaced Judge John D. Bates, whose term ended on February 21, 2013.» [Fonte]
«A federal judge has re-affirmed the constitutionality of prayer in the U.S. Congress, ruling that Supreme Court precedent undergirds the long tradition of prayer opening each congressional session, along with the House rules that govern the practice»
«The decision comes in response to a lawsuit filed by Daniel Barker, president of the atheist group Freedom from Religion Foundation. Barker had charged that Congress denied him the opportunity to offer an opening invocation, while extending the honor to religious chaplains»
«In her October 11 decision, U.S. District Judge Rosemary Collyer pointed out that House rules barred Barker from offering the invocation because of his lack of faith»
«She also noted that the Supreme Court has ruled that Congress’ two-century-long tradition of prayer does not conflict with the First Amendment’s “establishment clause,” which states that “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion.”»
* * * * * * *
Adesso resta aperta la questione della proibizione delle preghiere nelle scuole pubbliche.
Si voglia o meno, l’America è religiosa.
→ New American. 2017-10-14. Federal Judge Re-affirms Tradition of Congressional Prayer
A federal judge has re-affirmed the constitutionality of prayer in the U.S. Congress, ruling that Supreme Court precedent undergirds the long tradition of prayer opening each congressional session, along with the House rules that govern the practice.
The decision comes in response to a lawsuit filed by Daniel Barker, president of the atheist group Freedom from Religion Foundation. Barker had charged that Congress denied him the opportunity to offer an opening invocation, while extending the honor to religious chaplains.
In her October 11 decision, U.S. District Judge Rosemary Collyer pointed out that House rules barred Barker from offering the invocation because of his lack of faith. She also noted that the Supreme Court has ruled that Congress’ two-century-long tradition of prayer does not conflict with the First Amendment’s “establishment clause,” which states that “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion.”
But if Congress’ tradition of prayer does not conflict with the establsihment clause, then why would prayer in the public schools be considered a violation of the establishment clause? Yet the U.S. Supreme Court ruled the latter to be a violation. How can this be? Judge Collyer did not address this question, which fell outside the scope of the case she was deciding.
In her opinion, Collyer wrote that “to decide that Mr. Barker was discriminated against and should be permitted to address the House would be to disregard the Supreme Court precedent that permits legislative prayer.”
House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) applauded Collyer’s ruling, noting: “Since the first session of the Continental Congress, our nation’s legislature has opened with a prayer to God. Today, that tradition was upheld and the freedom to exercise religion was vindicated. The court rightfully dismissed the claims of an atheist that he had the right to deliver a secular invocation in place of the opening prayer.”
Ryan said that since the return to Congress of House Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.), who was shot and severely wounded in an attack on him and other congressmen in June, “this institution has been reminded about the power of prayer. I commend the District Court for its decision, and I am grateful that the People’s House can continue to begin its work each day as we have for centuries: taking a moment to pray to God.”
Scalise also applauded the ruling, posting on Twitter: “Our rights come from God, so it’s only fitting that the House begins each day united in prayer.”
Following the ruling Barker complained that a bias “against the nonreligious” had prevented him “from participating in my government. The judge’s acquiescence in this inequity sends a crystal clear message that our government, founded upon our entirely secular Constitution, may discriminate with impunity against atheists and freethinkers.”
By contrast, Tony Perkins of the Christian-oriented Family Research Council reflected that “for over 240 years, our elected representatives to the federal government have begun their public duties with prayer. When a session of the House of Representatives is opened, a prayer seeking God’s guidance is offered. Among other things, this is a reflection of the faith of many people across America who themselves seek His guidance in their lives.”
→ The Washington Times. 2017-10-14. Federal court upholds prayer in Congress
House Speaker Ryan cheers ruling: ‘Freedom to exercise religion was vindicated’.
A federal court ruled Wednesday that Congress can continue to open its sessions each day with a prayer, and upheld the House’s ability to pick and choose who’s allowed to lead the prayer.
U.S. District Judge Rosemary M. Collyer, a Bush appointee who sits in Washington, D.C., rejected a challenge by Daniel Barker, co-president of Freedom From Religion Foundation, who said he was not permitted to give an opening invocation, even though other guest chaplains have been permitted.
Judge Collyer said House rules didn’t permit him to lead the prayer because he had left his faith.
Judge Collyer also said an opening prayer has been a tradition in this country for more than two centuries, and the Supreme Court has ruled it doesn’t violate the Establishment Clause.
“To decide that Mr. Barker was discriminated against and should be permitted to address the House would be to disregard the Supreme Court precedent that permits legislative prayer,” Judge Collyer wrote in her opinion on Wednesday.
Mr. Barker said her ruling was tainted by personal bias against nonreligious people.
“The judge’s acquiescence in this inequity sends a crystal clear message that our government, founded upon our entirely secular Constitution, may discriminate with impunity against atheists and freethinkers,” he said.
But House Speaker Paul D. Ryan applauded the ruling.
“Since the first session of the Continental Congress, our nation’s legislature has opened with a prayer to God. Today, that tradition was upheld and the freedom to exercise religion was vindicated,” said Mr. Ryan, Wisconsin Republican.
He added the return of Majority Whip Rep. Steve Scalise, Louisiana Republican, who was shot earlier this year by a left wing zealot, reminded Congress of the power of prayer.