D.C. Circuit Court cites interpretation of House rules that say prayers must be religious
Rev. Patrick J. Conroy, chaplain of the House of Representatives, prevailed in legislative prayer litigation on Friday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)
The House chaplain scored a legal victory on Good Friday, when a federal appeals court ruled he could not be ordered to allow a self-described atheist to offer a secular prayer to the House of Representatives.
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit sided with Rev. Patrick J. Conroy, in his official capacity as the House chaplain, and the chamber itself in litigation brought by Dan Barker, co-president of the Freedom From Religion Foundation and a former minister. Barker alleged Conroy improperly rejected a request to have him serve as guest chaplain.