"Let everyone who is Godly pray to you while you may be found"  (Psalm 32:6)

THE CAPITOL HILL PRAYER ALERT

April 18, 2000

COURT FINDS PRAYER
TO BE PROTECTED SPEECH

OVERVIEW:

  • In a decision issued March 31, 2000, U.S. District Court Judge Paul Friedman upheld the First Amendment rights of Rev. Pierre Bynum, editor of The Capitol Hill Prayer Alert.

  • Rev. Bynum sued the Capitol Police after an incident in November 1996, when Rev. Bynum was conducting a self-guided prayer tour of the U.S. Capitol with his family and a few members of a Virginia church. The group of eight Christians had just spent a few moments of prayer in a quiet, conversational tone with their heads bowed and hands folded when the Capitol Police approached the group and informed them that such activity was considered to be a 'demonstration.' The police warned the group they would be arrested if they continued to pray. The group finished their tour, but no longer bowed their heads in prayer. No arrests were made.

  • The Alliance Defense Fund (ADF) gave a grant to the American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ) to help argue this case, which was filed in June 1997. Attorney James Henderson of the ACLJ brilliantly pleaded the merits of upholding Rev. Bynum's First Amendment rights. Upon hearing the news of Judge Friedman's ruling, Henderson stated, "The U.S. Capitol is a symbol of freedom and free speech. We are grateful the court found that prayer is protected speech - and not a form of demonstration."

  • In its ruling, the court said that the enforcement action taken by the Capitol Police was "unreasonable and therefore an unconstitutional restriction of speech." The Capitol Police were ordered to refrain from restricting non-disruptive forms of behavior - including the act of bowing one's head, closing one's eyes, and clasping one's hands in prayer.

Please Join in Agreeing Prayer:

  • THANK YOU, Heavenly Father! You are our REFUGE and STRENGTH, a very present help in trouble (Ps 46:1).

  • You went before Rev. Bynum and made the crooked way straight. You gave to Attorney Henderson and the ACLJ the words that were needed to bring an end to this injustice. You graciously provided through the generous gift of the ADF (Is 40:3-5; Jer 15:19-21; Ps 132:15-18).

  • Lord, God Almighty, You answered our prayers. You were the JUDGE in this case and You pleaded Rev. Bynum's cause (Ps 43:1).

  • It is a good thing to give thanks unto the Lord, and to sing praises unto thy name, O most HighÖ (Ps 92). AMEN!

    "Please check back with us as new matters for prayer are posted each week. By joining together with others, the power of our prayers are multiplied.

    Please feel free to print and share these with your prayer group or pastor.

    God bless!"


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