Superior Court Judge Eileen Willett dismissed a challenge to the constitutionality of gubernatorial proclamations designating an Arizona Day of Prayer. In March 2010, the Freedom from Religion Foundation, an out-of-state, special interest group, filed suit in federal court regarding Day of Prayer proclamations issued by Governor Brewer.
That challenge was dismissed in December 2011. Subsequently, the Freedom from Religion Foundation re-filed in Arizona Superior Court. The court found that the group has failed to demonstrate any injury caused by the prayer proclamations and, therefore, lacks standing to sue.
The National Day of Prayer, the Arizona Day of Prayer is an entirely voluntary event. Citizens are free to commemorate, or not commemorate, the occasion in whatever way they feel is appropriate. Every President since 1952 has signed a National Day of Prayer proclamation, and Governors of all 50 states issued similar proclamations in 2011.
Most recently, Governor Brewer proclaimed May 3, 2012, as this year’s Arizona Day of Prayer.
Governor Brewer issued a statement on the court’s decision:
I applaud the Arizona Superior Court for rejecting this lawsuit, which was little more than another sad attempt to stifle an American tradition.
Uniting in prayer is a custom as old as our nation itself. For centuries, millions of Americans of every race, creed and color have come together in voluntary prayer to seek strength and wisdom. This is an American right and tradition, and one that I’ve proudly marked each year I’ve been Governor by proclaiming an Arizona Day of Prayer.
In these troubled times, it is more important than ever that we have opportunities such as this to freely and voluntarily come together in seeking courage and guidance from a higher power. I thank the court for dismissing this baseless suit, and will continue to vigorously defend our ability to commemorate an Arizona Day of Prayer.