Judge Dismisses ‘Arizona Day of Prayer’ Lawsuit

Gov. Jan Brewer
Gov. Jan Brewer

Prayer works—and it’s going to keep on working in Arizona.

Superior Court Judge Eileen Willett just dismissed a challenge to the constitutionality of gubernatorial proclamations designating an Arizona Day of Prayer.

In March 2010, the Freedom from Religion Foundation—an out-of-state, special-interest group—filed suit in federal court regarding Day of Prayer proclamations Brewer issued. That challenge was dismissed in Dec. 2011.

Subsequently, the Freedom from Religion Foundation re-filed in Arizona Superior Court. The challenge was roundly dismissed by the court, which found that the group failed to demonstrate any injury caused by the prayer proclamations and, therefore, lacks standing to sue.

"I applaud the Arizona Superior Court for rejecting this lawsuit, which was little more than another sad attempt to stifle an American tradition,” Brewer said.

"Uniting in prayer is a custom as old as our nation itself. For centuries, millions of Americans of every race, creed and color have come together in voluntary prayer to seek strength and wisdom. This is an American right and tradition, and one that I've proudly marked each year I've been governor by proclaiming an Arizona Day of Prayer.”

Just as with the National Day of Prayer, the Arizona Day of Prayer is an entirely voluntary event. Citizens are free to commemorate—or not commemorate—the occasion in whatever way they feel is appropriate. Every president since 1952 has signed a National Day of Prayer proclamation, and governors of all 50 states issued similar proclamations in 2011.

"In these troubled times, it is more important than ever that we have opportunities such as this to freely and voluntarily come together in seeking courage and guidance from a higher power,” Brewer said. “I thank the court for dismissing this baseless suit, and will continue to vigorously defend our ability to commemorate an Arizona Day of Prayer."

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