Hmm … you don’t believe in God and yet you want the right to pray? Yee gads. What nonsense. And the courts are entertaining the idea.
A federal appeals court this week heard oral arguments in a case involving an advocacy group that sued the House chaplain after an atheist was not allowed to deliver a secular prayer on the House floor.
The Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF), a Wisconsin-based nontheist activist group, is fighting to allow an atheist to serve as a guest chaplain and deliver the opening invocation on the House floor. The group’s co-founder, Dan Barker, was denied his request to deliver a secular invocation in 2015 after receiving an invitation to do so by Rep. Mark Pocan (D-Wis.).
Barker filed a discrimination and free speech lawsuit in 2016 against House Chaplain Patrick Conroy, his staff and Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.). That case was dismissed last year by Judge Rosemary Collyer of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia but taken up by the D.C. Court of Appeals.
“Barker wishes to invoke the same higher power that’s recognized in our Constitution: we the people,” Andrew Seidel, legal counsel for FFRF, told the appeals court judges on Thursday. “He wanted to invoke the spirit of some of our most influential founders: Thomas Paine, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Frederick Douglass.”