2010 Archives

As faithful unite, National Day of Prayer divides


The following is from the May 6, 2010, edition of The Dallas Morning News. SMU Law Professor Lackland Bloom provided expertise for this story.

By SAM HODGES / The Dallas Morning News

The Rev. Roy Frady of Plano sees a troubled world that needs a National Day of Prayer.

Rabbi Geoffrey Dennis of Flower Mound is a National Day of Prayer dropout, frustrated that some local events don't welcome all faiths.

Then there's Randy Word of North Richland Hills, an atheist who says Congress never should have created a prayer day.

The National Day of Prayer – which by federal law occurs the first Thursday in May – remains ensnared by differing, strongly held points of view. Now it must contend with a federal district judge's ruling that it violates the U.S. Constitution.

Judge Barbara Crabb of Wisconsin put the effect of her April 15 decision on hold, pending appeals. Thus, groups are gathering for prayer today in North Texas and across the country, encouraged to do so by a proclamation from President Barack Obama.

But the National Day of Prayer itself may be in need of prayer – for its survival. . . 

Lackland Bloom Jr., a professor at SMU's Dedman School of Law, says the Supreme Court hasn't settled on a methodology for deciding establishment clause questions. He cautiously predicts the Supreme Court would – if it takes up the matter – uphold the prayer day statute in a 5-4 decision.

And justices would have widely varying rationales, he believes.  

Read the full story.

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