Atheist’s attempt to lead prayer in the House thwarted
The D.C. District Court recently dismissed a lawsuit by Daniel Barker – an atheist and co-president of the Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF) – in his attempt to become a guest chaplain for an opening session of the U.S. House of Representatives.
Barker had been sponsored by Rep. Mark Pocan (D-Wis.) to deliver a guest invocation in February 2015. House Chaplain Patrick Conroy rejected the request in January 2016, noting in a letter to Pocan that Barker had publicly announced his atheism and, according to FFRF, was not a true “minister of the gospel” eligible for the honor of appearing in front of Congress.
“This is a case that the FFRF ultimately wanted to press because the atheist – very hostile to Christianity … – wanted to ultimately have a mocking prayer at the House of Representatives, and Speaker Ryan refused to use that platform to mock prayer and Christianity and Judeo-Christian values,” Liberty Counsel Founder and Chairman Mat Staver explained. “So, a lawsuit ensued and Speaker Ryan was named as a defendant.”
The legal expert was pleased by the results.
“The good news is that the federal court ultimately dismissed this frivolous lawsuit, and so the normal prayer that has been going on since the very beginning of Congress – going back to the founding of the country – will continue to go on without this interruption of this basically angry, very hostile atheist organization, Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF).”
Barker is also the author of Godless: How an Evangelical Pastor Became One of America’s Leading Atheists.
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