Illinois General Assembly - Full Text of HR0495
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Full Text of HR0495  103rd General Assembly



HR0495LRB103 35211 LAW 65192 r


2    WHEREAS, Faith in God is an inalienable right to all of
3those who believe in the teachings of a higher being; and
4    WHEREAS, Our Founding Fathers understood the importance of
5faith in God when writing the U.S. Constitution, guaranteeing
6the freedom of religion for all citizens; and
7    WHEREAS, Abraham Lincoln immortalized the phrase "this
8nation, under God" in the Gettysburg Address, enshrining our
9nation during its darkest moment in "a new birth of freedom";
11    WHEREAS, Prayer has always played an important role in the
12foundation of the American way of life and has helped form the
13solid basis of cultural harmony and civility, which is evident
14in The Pledge of Allegiance to the U.S. flag and on our
15currency; and
16    WHEREAS, Knowing of the cultural and spiritual harmony
17that faith brings to all who believe, it should be this
18chamber's responsibility to again provide a room of worship to
19General Assembly members, guests, and visitors of the Illinois
20State Capitol Building; and



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1    WHEREAS, In 1985, then-Speaker Michael J. Madigan
2introduced HR 408, which designated a room as a prayer room on
3the first floor of the State Capitol Building; and
4    WHEREAS, Throughout the ensuing years, the prayer room was
5utilized by various General Assembly members, regardless of
6their philosophical, political, or religious differences, who
7sought a place where worship was welcomed; and
8    WHEREAS, Sadly, the prayer room was removed during a
9renovation of the West Wing, and a new prayer room was never
10designated nor established; and
11    WHEREAS, Without a dedicated room of worship, our State
12Capitol Building is similar to most state capitol buildings;
13in fact, in the Midwest, the only state to have a dedicated
14room of worship in its capitol building is the State of
15Indiana; and
16    WHEREAS, In the U.S. Capitol Building, a room set apart
17for prayer and meditation is near the rotunda to be used
18primarily by members of Congress who wish to withdraw and seek
19divine strength and guidance, both in public affairs and in
20their own personal matters; and
21    WHEREAS, The U.S. Capitol Building's prayer room was



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1established during the 83rd Congress of the United States,
2pursuant to U.S. House Concurrent Resolution 60 in 1953 and
3U.S. Senate Concurrent Resolution 14 in 1954; and
4    WHEREAS, The legality of a prayer room in the State
5Capitol Building was previously justified through the 1988
6court case decision of Van Zandt v. Thompson in the 7th Circuit
7of the U.S. Court of Appeals and within the Illinois State
8Constitution, thereby reiterating that no there is no legal
9jeopardy and that the establishment clause has not been
10violated; and
11    WHEREAS, The Preamble of the Constitution of the State of
12Illinois reads, "We, the People of the State of Illinois -
13grateful to the Almighty God for the civil, political and
14religious liberty which He has permitted us to enjoy and
15seeking His blessing upon our endeavors," further setting the
16stage for such a room; and
17    WHEREAS, The establishment of such a room, because of its
18universality, is within the provisions of Section 3 of Article
19X of the Illinois State Constitution, where the use of public
20funds for sectarian purposes is forbidden in that no state
21funds shall be allocated for "anything in aid of any church or
22sectarian purpose"; and



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1    WHEREAS, The concept is consistent with the provisions of
2subsection (a) of Section 1 of Article VIII of the Illinois
3State Constitution, which provides that "Public funds,
4property or credit shall be used only for public purposes", as
5the facility will be made available to the people of the State
6of Illinois, represented in the General Assembly; and
7    WHEREAS, Both the Illinois House and Senate routinely open
8all Sessions with prayer by a diverse group of faith leaders
9and pastors from across Illinois; therefore, be it
12we request the reestablishment of a prayer room at the
13Illinois State Capitol Building near the rotunda in the
14current and ongoing renovations of the North Wing.