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State Capitol News

Group of Athesists File Suit Against Brewer

By Howard Fischer

Phoenix, AZ – What's at issue is the annual proclamation by the governor
declaring the first Thursday in May as the Arizona Day of Prayer.
The lawsuit filed on behalf of the Freedom From Religion
Foundation contends that violates the First Amendment which bars
government establishment of religion. But gubernatorial press
aide Matthew Benson said his boss is doing nothing wrong.

(Public calls to prayer are an honored American tradition dating
all the way back to George Washington. These days we invite
Americans of every race, background and creed to voluntarily come
together, if they choose, to pray for guidance wisdom and

Benson also noted that the call is nondenominational. But
attorney Marc Victor said that's irrelevant, saying it still
excludes some.

(There are citizens in Arizona who don't believe in God. There
are citizens in Arizona who don't pray. And it's unfair for the
governor who represents everybody to be out there urging people
to pray or not to pray.)

And Victor said his law firm would be just as vigorous in
fighting any call by a governor for people NOT to pray. Despite
the lawsuit, it's unlikely that U.S. District Court Judge Roslyn
Silver will be able to rule on the issue before Brewer is ready
to make this year's proclamation. For Arizona Public Radio this
is Howard Fischer.