Atheist prayers can be denied by House chaplain, appeals court rules

A U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit sided with Father Patrick Conroy, the House chaplain, in ruling that he could not be ordered to allow a self-described atheist to offer a secular prayer to the House of Representatives.

The case was brought Dan Barker, co-president of the Freedom from Religion Foundation and a former minister, against Conroy, in his official role as the House chaplain.

In the decision released Friday, the appeals court’s three-judge panel sidestepped the legal question of whether Baker was being prevented from offering a prayer because he was an atheist, and focused instead of the content of the prayer.

Read the full article at USA Today.