PRayer

Religious liberty in America, assured by the Constitution, became a battleground under President Obama when he tried to force nuns to pay for abortion drugs, insisted America wasn’t really a Christian nation and fined Christians for practicing their faith.

While President Trump has vowed to restore and protect religious rights, some of the Obama-era cases aren’t over, including the one brought by Mary Ann Sause after police officers ordered her to stop praying in her home.

As WND reported, Sause alleges officers came to her door, demanded entry, intimidated her, told her to stop praying and made fun of her.

The Louisberg, Kansas, resident initially fought the officers on her own, without success. But since then, the First Liberty Institute has joined the dispute on behalf of the retired Catholic nurse on disability.

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On Tuesday, First Liberty said it had just completed oral arguments before a three-judge panel on the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

“In court briefings, government attorneys defended the police officers’ actions by arguing that the First Amendment’s Free Exercise Clause only ‘protects an individual’s right to choose a religion,'” the woman’s legal team explained.

But that could set a dangerous precedent, they warned.

“The Free Exercise Clause protects an individual’s right to do exactly that – to freely exercise his or her faith,” said Stephanie Taub, senior counsel for First Liberty Institute. “The government’s attempt to redefine the First Amendment through this case could set a dangerous precedent for religious freedom.”

Sause said in a statement released by her lawyers that prayer “is essential to my faith and everyday life.”

“Not a day goes by when I don’t pray,” she said. “It is concerning to see the government claim the First Amendment protects my right to choose my religion, but not my right to pray in the privacy of my own home.”

Taub emphasized the First Amendment “guarantees the right for all Americans to freely exercise their faith.”

In December, WND reported police officers were defending their actions by insisting they did not “burden” Sause’s constitutional rights.

“Police State USA: How Orwell’s Nightmare Is Becoming Our Reality” chronicles how America has arrived at the point of being a de facto police state, and what led to an out-of-control government that increasingly ignores the Constitution. Order today!

Her lawyers challenged the government’s claim “the First Amendment only ‘protects one’s ability to choose his or her religion.'”

“According to the city of Louisburg, ‘the act of stopping [Ms. Sause’s] prayer did not burden her free exercise of religion’ because only conduct that forces her to change her religious practices or causes her to stop praying altogether would violate the Constitution,” her attorneys said.

But they explain the Free Exercise clause in the First Amendment “extends beyond the right to choose one’s own religion and includes the right to pray in the privacy of one’s own home, which is a fundamental right clearly protected by the First Amendment.”

They say the officers had no legitimate law-enforcement justification for the order, and so it “‘burdens’ her ability to freely exercise her religion in her own home.”

The background is that the woman was home late at night when police demanded to come into her apartment.

They explained: “She alleges that they harassed her, saying that the Constitution is ‘just a piece of paper’ that ‘doesn’t work here’ and telling her to prepare to go to jail. Terrified, Ms. Sause asked one of the officers if she could pray. After being told she could, she knelt in silent prayer, only to have another officer enter the room and order her to stop praying. Only at the end of the encounter did they tell her that they were there because of a minor noise complaint that her radio was too loud.”

The confrontation happened on the night of Nov. 22, 2013, when two officers approached her door and demanded that she open it.

She explained that they did not identify themselves and she could not see them through an inoperable peephole, so she didn’t open the door.

“As a survivor of rape, Sause never opens her door to anyone she can’t identify,” First Liberty said.

The officers left, but they came back and again demanded to be allowed in.

“When Sause came to the door, the officers asked why she didn’t answer the door the first time. Ms. Sause saw a pocket Constitution, given to her by her congressman, lying on a nearby table and showed it to the officers, who still had not explained the reason for their appearance. One officer laughed and said, ‘That’s just a piece of paper’ that ‘doesn’t work here.'”

Once inside, they “harassed” her, she said, at one point telling her to get ready to go to jail.

“When Sause asked why, he said, ‘I don’t know yet,'” First Liberty reported.

She was frightened and asked permission to pray, and one officer agreed. The other then came back into the room and ordered her to “stop praying,” the complaint explains.

They then “flipped through the codebook to see how they could charge her,” finally choosing “interference” and “disorderly conduct.”

At the end of their visit, they finally explained they were there because someone thought her radio was too loud.

The case is against Louisburg, its police department, Chief Timothy Bauer and officers Jason Lindsey and Brent Ball and others. It seeks compensatory and punitive damages.

“Police State USA: How Orwell’s Nightmare Is Becoming Our Reality” chronicles how America has arrived at the point of being a de facto police state, and what led to an out-of-control government that increasingly ignores the Constitution. Order today!

 

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