Religious Freedom Group Sues Perry Over Planned All-Day Prayer Event in Texas

07/13/11 – FoxNews.com -  A Wisconsin-based religious freedom group is suing Texas Gov. Rick Perry, a possible Republican presidential contender, in an effort to block his promotion of and participation in an all-day Christian prayer event to be held Aug. 6, arguing that it violates the constitutional separation of church and state.

The Freedom From Religious Foundation, which claims more than 16,000 members, including 700 in Texas, filed the federal lawsuit Wednesday in Houston, contending that Perry’s actions violate the Constitution’s Establishment Clause by “giving the appearance that the government prefers evangelical Christian religious beliefs over other religious beliefs and non-beliefs.”

“We always say, beware prayer by pious politicians,” said Annie Laurie Gaylor, who co-directs the group with her husband, Dan Barker, a former evangelical Christian minister who is now an atheist.

“Nothing fails like prayer,” she said. “It’s the ultimate political cop-out.”

The lawsuit, which comes as Perry flirts with joining the field of GOP presidential contenders, notes that the plaintiffs are “nonbelievers who support the free exercise of religion, but strongly oppose the government 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.”

Perry’s office shrugged off news of the lawsuit.

“Governor Perry has been looking forward to the Aug. 6 prayer event, which continues to move forward as planned,” Perry’s office said in a written statement. “He believes it will serve as an important opportunity for Americans to gather together and pray to God, seeking his wisdom and guidance as our nation navigates the challenges before it. The pending litigation will not affect plans for the prayer event at this time.”

The event has been described as a non-denominational, apolitical, Christian prayer
Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2011/07/13/religious-freedom-group-sues-gov-perry-over-planned-all-day-prayer-event/#ixzz1S2EoYeTO

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