FFRF weighs in on California prayer case

The Freedom From Religion Foundation has filed an amicus brief in a case over government-sponsored prayer in the city of Eureka, California. The brief was filed with the court on April 22.

In the case, Beaton v. Eureka, city resident and atheist Carole Beaton filed suit over objections to prayers at the beginning of city council meetings. FFRF’s “friend of the court” brief supports Beaton’s position that prayers at government meetings violate the constitution.

FFRF argues that the California Constitution provides extensive protection of the separation of church and state, broader than that required by the federal Establishment Clause, and that the government should refuse to lend its “prestige and power” to religion by endorsing religious practices.

The brief also heavily criticizes the federal Supreme Court cases Marsh v. Chambers and Greece v. Galloway, which upheld legislative prayer. The cases reject legal principles in favor of relying on a misguided view of history, says FFRF, and the California courts should refuse to incorporate their flawed reasoning into California law.

“FFRF is glad to be able to support Carole in her mission to eliminate unconstitutional prayer from her local government’s meetings,” said FFRF Co-President Dan Barker.

FFRF is a national state/church watchdog with 22,500 members nationwide, including over 3,250 in California. FFRF thanks Law Clerk Madeline Ziegler for researching and drafting FFRF’s brief.

Freedom From Religion Foundation

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