Stand With U.S. Naval Academy on Prayer

If the ACLU gets its way, it will bring an end to a time-honored tradition at the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis. For more than 160 years now, there’s been mealtime prayer at noon at the Naval Academy. But the ACLU is threatening a federal lawsuit and says it will sue unless the Naval Academy ends this practice.

We’ve responded quickly and have sent a legal memorandum outlining the constitutionality of this practice to the Superintendent of the U.S. Naval Academy.

You can read our letter here.

We spell out clearly why the ACLU is wrong in its insistence that this voluntary prayer is unconstitutional and violates the First Amendment.

The Supreme Court of the United States understands the different role that the military holds in society and has noted on several occasions that “the military in important respects remains a ‘specialized society separate from civilian society.’” The high court has also said that the “different character of the military community and of the military mission requires a different application of The First Amendment.”

Our history is replete with references to God and to religion. These are just a few of the examples we cited in our letter:

In addition, given the very real threat of harm posed by their commitment to the American war effort, the signers of the Declaration of Independence concluded with an appeal “to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions” and a statement of “firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence.” Use of the slogan “In God We Trust” dates back to the War of 1812. In September 1814, fearing for the fate of his country while watching the British bombardment of Fort McHenry in Baltimore, American Francis Scott Key composed the poem the “Star Spangled Banner.” The last verse of the poem—which is now our national anthem—states: “Then conquer we must, when our cause it is just, and this be our motto: ‘In God is our trust.’”

During the Civil War, President Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address of 1863 proclaimed that “this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom.” The national motto, “In God We Trust,” first appeared on coins the following year. The Battle Hymn of the Republic—popularized during the Civil War—is replete with religious references.”

The fact is the lunchtime prayer at the Naval Academy is voluntary – and voluntary public acknowledgement of God is uniquely compatible with military service.   Read More..

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