Washington D.C., Apr 23, 2019 / 09:59 am
A D.C. federal appeals court has ruled that the chaplain for the House of Representatives cannot be forced to allow a self-described atheist to proclaim a secular prayer publicly to the body.
The decision, delivered on Good Friday, said the House rules allow for a religious invocation at the start of its work day, and a secular prayer does not qualify as a religious invocation.
The suit was raised by Dan Barker with the Freedom from Religion Foundation. He had asked to be a guest chaplain for the House of Representatives, but had been rejected by the House chaplain, Fr. Patrick Conroy.
Barker claimed that he had been rejected because he was an atheist, which he said amounted to an unconstitutional establishment of religion by Congress.