ADL Disappointed in 7th Circuit's Ruling Allowing Sectarian Legislative Prayer in Indiana
November 1, 2007, Chicago, IL …The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) expressed disappointment over an appellate court decision this week rejecting a challenge to the Indiana Legislature's practice of opening each session with a prayer.
Many of the prayers in the General Assembly had endorsed Christianity, including one that called for the conversion of all non-Christians. The court ruling did not address the constitutionality of the practice itself, but rather a procedural question related to the right of Indiana taxpayers to challenge it.
"This decision unfortunately represents another setback for religious liberty in our country," said Lonnie Nasatir, Director of ADL's Greater Chicago/Upper Midwest Region. "Taxpayers should have the right to challenge what they perceive as violations of the separation of church and state. In recent months, the Supreme Court – and now the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals – has made such challenges much more difficult. The result is that objectionable practices such as religious prayers from the podium at the Indiana General Assembly are likely to become more widespread."
ADL had joined a coalition of civil rights groups in an amicus brief urging the court to prohibit the Indiana House of Representatives from invoking sectarian prayer at the opening of every legislative session.
The Anti-Defamation League, founded in 1913, is the world's leading organization fighting anti-Semitism through programs and services that counteract hatred, prejudice and bigotry.