A federal judge ruled Thursday that Texas Gov. Rick Perry can take part in a day of prayer next weekend and his participation does not violate the Constitution.
A suit was filed last month by activist Kay Staley and a group called the Freedom From Religion Foundation, who argued Perry participating in the event constituted a breach of the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment. The Establishment Clause prohibits government from taking action that favors religion.
The Liberty Institute — a Judeo-Christian-oriented First Amendment rights nonprofit — intervened, and filed a motion on behalf of co-defendant American Family Association, which is planning and promoting the day of prayer and fasting — labeled “The Response” — scheduled for Aug. 6 at Houston’s Reliant Stadium.
“This is a complete and total victory for freedom and the First Amendment,” said Kelly Shackelford, president and CEO for the Liberty Institute. “The judge rightly dismissed this case and the national prayer event will go on as planned. This was an attack on the First Amendment rights of every American, and it failed miserably.”
Staley, a Houston realtor who strongly fights on church and state issues, has filed other lawsuits seeking to silence religious expression in the public sphere. A most recent filing on her behalf against the Houston City Council and a sitting councilwoman sought to end the recitation of the Lord’s Prayer at the beginning of council meetings.
The Liberty Institute also intervened in that instance, defending Councilwoman Anne Clutterbuck. The lawsuit was dismissed with prejudice last August.
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