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Call for prayer, fasting fails in House of Representatives


WASHINGTON (BP)–A resolution recommending government leaders call for a day of “solemn prayer, fasting and humiliation before God” failed in the House of Representatives for lack of a two-thirds majority.
The House voted 274-140 in favor of the non-binding resolution, but the measure required a two-thirds majority under the rule applied to the vote. Rep. Helen Chenoweth, R.-Idaho, said she would consider asking for another vote under a rule requiring only a majority for passage.
“A strong majority of the House of Representatives support this measure, and that’s good news,” she said in a written release. “Unfortunately, too many congressmen did not understand that this non-binding resolution is a simple recognition of the importance and need for prayer at this time, not a mandate to force anyone to do anything unconstitutional.”
Rep. Chet Edwards, D.-Texas, criticized the bill during floor debate June 29.
“Any effort by this Congress to inject a notion of … necessary duty upon how, when and whether an American must pray is not only blatantly unconstitutional, it offends my deepest conviction that the sacredness of one’s prayers and belief in God is that they are based on free will, not an imposed duty from government,” Edwards said, according to an Associated Press article in The Washington Times.
The proposal, HCR 94, cited the shooting in schools as one of the reasons for recommending a day of prayer. It also said Congress and the president have called for days of prayer and fasting in the past. The resolution recommended government leaders at the national, state and local level, as well as business and religious leaders, call for such an observation.