Federal Suit: Prayer Ban at RI Statehouse Unconstitutional “Annual vigil’s Covid stoppage wrong if reporters, legislators allowed in.”
But when one Catholic woman prepared to sue, she was in for a shock — the Governor’s Order closing the Statehouse was never even issued
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
[Providence, RI] In a federal complaint hurriedly filed over the weekend, Rev. Anne Armstrong says the Rhode Island Statehouse’s closure to a 3-person prayer group for an upcoming Dec 11 2020 vigil is Unconstitutional, given that reporters and legislators are allowed in on a regular basis.
Armstrong says she originally meant to challenge the Governor’s Statehouse shutdown Order for unreasonably favoring news reporters for Statehouse access over clergypersons.
But as Armstrong researched the Order she meant to challenge, she says she was instead shocked to discover that Governor Gina Raimondo never issued an Order closing the Statehouse at all — she just said she had, according to news reports from her March 16, 2020 press conference.
“Neither Executive Order issued by Gina that day, 20-04 and 20-05, closes the Statehouse,” says Alan Gordon, who practices Ecclesiastical Law as Church canon for Armstrong’s Hebrew Catholic house of worship, The Healing Church IN RI. 20-04 prohibits public gatherings much larger than Armstrong’s planned vigil, and 20-05 allows the legislature to meet online so long as public access online was granted.
Armstrong is a repeat Gubernatorial candidate who last year filed a suit on behalf of the unborn to stop publicly-funded abortion debate, and has led Christian demonstrations in the State for 30 years.
Armstrong’ suit says the Dec 11 prayer vigil goes back historically at least as far as the 1990s, when the wife of the late Governor Carcieri used to lead rosary prayers during the vigil. The vigil is said in preparation for the following day’s Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe, and, says the lawsuit, cancelling it would cause irrevocable damage because this year’s is a once-in-a-lifetime event due to the Christian astronomical “Christmas Star” planetary conjunction coming on the vigil’s heels, which has not happened since the year 1226 AD.
Armstrong’s suit says the prayer is necessary to conduct not just on that day, but in the Statehouse rotunda. Off the record, Christians and Jews across the State know that the effect of prayers issued in that dome are somehow hastened and amplified.
“That’s the people’s House, not a secret meeting lair for deal-making legislators and reporters,” says Armstrong. “If it’s too dangerous for prayer, then it’s too dangerous for reporters”
CONTACT: Rev. Anne Armstrong, The Healing Church IN RI, 401-304-6543 annearmstrongri (at) gmail — I have a vision for our state where common sense, compassion, and cooperation can re-create Rhode Island into a place where everyone can live in abundance.