Every once in a while we get an insight into the rather unique views that drive the Religious Right agenda and realize that they tend to inhabit a world of their own.
Take, for instance, this brief filed by the Liberty Institute on behalf to James Dobson, the Family Research Council, Focus on the Family Action, Liberty Counsel and nearly thirty other Religious Right groups in support of the National Day of Prayer in the case of Freedom from Religion Foundation v. Obama.
The Religious Right has been up-in-arms for months ever since a judge ruled that the National Day of Prayer was unconstitutional and so these groups have decided to lay out their arguments as to why that ruling was wrong.
Most of the brief [PDF] focuses on the question of standing and claims that the “history and tradition” of events like the National Day of Prayer prove that it is constitutional.
But it is this final line of argument that really demonstrates the Religious Right’s fundamentally skewed view, which is that not having a National Day of Prayer is an act of hostility toward religion:
The National Day of Prayer is a benign acknowledgement of the religious nature of the American people. Moreover, participation in this acknowledgement is entirely voluntary, and does not entail any person’s being subjected to unwelcome assertions of religious faith.
Congress amended the National Day of Prayer statute in 1988 to specify the calendar day upon which the observance is proclaimed. This amendment, too, was an accommodation of religion consistent with Supreme Court precedent, as well as the precedent of this Court.
Invalidating the National Day of Prayer would be an act of hostility to religion, not the accommodating neutrality required by the Establishment Clause.
Apparently, the First Amendment means that the US government is obligated to declare a National Day of Prayer because failure to do so would be “an act of hostility to religion” and therefore a violation of the Establishment Clause.
That’s right – to the Religious Right, the “neutrality” required by the Establishment Clause actually requires Congress to promote religion.