Judge rules National Day of Prayer unconstitutional - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

Judge rules National Day of Prayer unconstitutional

MADISON (WKOW) -- White House officials say the President plans to recognize a National Day of Prayer even after a U.S. District Judge in Madison ruled that it violates separation of church and state.

The ruling comes in a lawsuit filed against the federal government by the Freedom From Religion Foundation.

But the judge says the order doesn't block a prayer day until after all appeals are exhausted.

Obama spokesman Matt Lehrich says in an e-mail to The Associated Press that the ruling therefore doesn't prevent the president from issuing a proclamation for the day recognized in May.

A spokesman for the U.S. Justice Department, which represented the government in the case, declined to comment on the ruling.


MADISON (WKOW) -- A federal judge in Madison has ruled the National Day of Prayer is unconstitutional.

U.S. District Judge Barbara Crabb reached the conclusion in a lawsuit the Freedom From Religion Foundation, a Madison-based group of atheists and agnostics, brought against former President George W. Bush's administration near the end of his second term. The foundation argued the day violates the separation of church and state.

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.


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