Colorado Day of Prayer Ruled Unconstitutional
From 2004 to 2009, Colorado’s sitting governors issued proclamations for a statewide Day of Prayer, to be held the first Thursday of May. The proclamations included biblical passages and a call to prayer. But last week, a three-judge panel on the Colorado Circuit Court of Appeals ruled the proclamations invalid, holding that when a state sponsors prayer in any capacity, such as a proclamation for a statewide Day of Prayer, it sends a message to citizens that the government favors those who pray over those who do not.
The Colorado Court of Appeals has remanded the case to the trial court in which it was originally filed. The trial court will consider whether a permanent injunction should be put in place against a statewide Day of Prayer. The state of Colorado has not decided if it will appeal the ruling.
While this case has yet to be resolved, it is clear from decades of judicial rulings that the government—state, federal or otherwise—cannot favor one religion over another, or religion over no religion at all, in such a blatant manner. The Reform Movement has long stood on the side of religious freedom, not because of a biblical mandate, but because our history as a persecuted religious minority reminds us that the freedom of religion is both precious and vulnerable.