A three-judge panel of the Colorado Court of Appeals recently ruled that the annual Colorado Day of Prayer proclamations from 2004 to 2009 violated the state constitution. Rep. Doug Lamborn (R-CO), a Member of the Prayer Caucus, immediately sent a letter calling on Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper to appeal the decision to the Colorado Supreme Court. According to Rep. Lamborn, “The decision of the Colorado Court of Appeals declaring your proclamation unconstitutional is stunning in light of the overwhelming importance of prayer to Coloradans and all Americans, the extent to which prayer is deeply engrained in the history of our nation, and the text of the Constitution itself.”
Fourteen Members of Congress then sent a letter echoing Rep. Lamborn’s call that the ruling be appealed. The Members explained that the Denver District Court previously had ruled correctly by dismissing the lawsuit. In its ruling, the district court said, “. . . there is nothing controversial about a restatement of a right protected by the First Amendment of the United States Constitution.”
Similar lawsuits have been brought in the past challenging National Day of Prayer proclamations. In April of 2010, a federal district court in Wisconsin held that the statute establishing the National Day of Prayer was unconstitutional. The following week, nearly thirty Members of Congress and leaders of faith held a bipartisan press conference, defending the constitutionality of the National Day of Prayer and calling on the White House to appeal the district court’s ruling. The next day, the Obama Administration announced that it would appeal the case to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit. Members of the Prayer Caucus then signed onto an amicus curiae brief affirming the constitutionality of the National Day of Prayer; and the Seventh Circuit ultimately dismissed the case.
Throughout our nation’s history, prayer has been deeply woven into the foundation of our great democracy. Members of the Prayer Caucus will continue working to ensure that this legacy is preserved for future generations.
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Congressman J. Randy Forbes, Founder
Congressman Mike McIntyre, Co-Chairman
For a complete list of Members of the Congressional
Prayer Caucus, click here.
Contact the Congressional Prayer Caucus Amy Vitale, Amy.Vitale@mail.house.gov