Judge Says It’s Okay for U.S. House to Ban Atheists from Offering Invocations

By Hemant Mehta

Atheist Dan Barker will not be allowed to deliver an invocation in the U.S. House of Representatives, despite meeting all the traditional requirements, after a judge dismissed his discrimination complaint earlier today.

All of this began last year, and it stems from the Supreme Court’s 2014 decision in Greece v. Galloway, in which the justices said invocations, if they’re adopted at all, must be open to people of all religious backgrounds, including people without religion. It specifically applied to city councils, but what about Congress?

That’s what Barker wanted to know. So he went through all the proper channels to deliver an invocation in the House.

He asked Rep. Mark Pocan, a Democrat from Wisconsin, to sponsor him. Check.

After being told “guest chaplains” needed to be ordained, Barker, a former Christian minister, submitted his ordination paperwork, which he still uses to perform weddings. Check.

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