Texas Governor Rick Perry plans to hold a giant Prayer-and-Fasting-fest to fix our nation’s problems on August 6th at Reliant Stadium. He’s invited several other governors to join him, though only a couple have accepted. The event is being hosted by the American Family Association, anti-gay organization considered a “hate group” by the Southern Poverty Law Center.
This is obviously a church/state violation and the Freedom From Religion Foundation filed a federal lawsuit yesterday (PDF) to put a stop to it:
The individual plaintiffs are non-believers who support the free exercise of religion, but who strongly oppose the governmental establishment and endorsement of religion, including prayer and fasting, which are not only an ineffectual use of time and government resources, but which can be harmful or counterproductive as a substitute for reasoned action.
The prayer rally organized by Governor Perry at Reliant Stadium is intended for believers of the Christian faith and persons who are open to conversion; the prayer rally, more particularly, is intended for evangelical Christians.
The plaintiffs do not seek compensatory damages from Governor Perry, but they do seek equitable and injunctive relief, including an injunction prohibiting Governor Perry’s further involvement in the scheduled prayer rally at Reliant Stadium on August 6, 2011, as well as an injunction against future uses of official indicia of the State of Texas in proclaiming and promoting the establishment of religion; the plaintiffs also seek appropriate corrective measures.
Just last week, I wrote about a group threatening a church/state violation lawsuit, because I felt it was ill-conceived and likely to backfire (even if it was successful). This one seems pretty clear-cut, though. I don’t know if FFRF will be victorious, but it’s hard to say this isn’t a case worth fighting for. Christians should be just as upset as we are about what Perry is doing, using religion to earn political points.
A protest of the event led by local atheists is becoming increasingly popular, judging by the numbers on Facebook. They need about $500 to get signs, a portable toilet, banners, shirts, and hold a nice post-protest celebration. They’re almost there, so feel free to help them reach their goal!