US Judge: Prayer day unconstitutional

Fri, 16 Apr 2010 17:47:18 GMT
US President Barack Obama intends to recognize a national day of prayer.
A US district judge says appointing a national day for prayer in the country is unconstitutional as it urges people to participate in religious activity.

Barbara Crabb, a judge in the state of Wisconsin, ruled on Thursday that designating a national day of prayer is in violation of the Constitution as the charter denies the government establishment of religion.

“In fact, it is because the nature of prayer is so personal and can have such a powerful effect on a community that the government may not use its authority to try to influence an individual’s decision whether and when to pray,” Crabb wrote, according to AP.

The judge’s ruling has its root in a lawsuit originally filed in 2008 by the Wisconsin-based Freedom From Religion Foundation. Reacting to the ruling, the White House said President Barack Obama will go ahead to recognize a national day of prayer.

“As he did last year, President Obama intends to recognize a national day of prayer,” said Obama spokesman Matt Lehrich.

Congress established the day in 1952 and in 1988 set the first Thursday in May as the day for presidents to issue proclamations asking Americans to pray.