The National Day of Prayer, taking place for 2010 on May 6, was established by the United States Congress in 1952. It was assigned its permanent position of the first Thursday in May in 1988.
On April 15, 2010, U.S. District Judge Barbara Crabb handed down a controversial ruling that establishing a National Day of Prayer is unconstitutional. She said it “goes beyond mere ‘acknowledgment’ of religion because its sole purpose is to encourage all citizens to engage in prayer, an inherently religious exercise that serves no secular function in this context.”
Crabb’s own statement invalidates her point of unconstitutionality:
The National Day of Prayer encourages people, it doesn’t mandate prayer. It isn’t illegal not to pray. It is a voluntary activity. Nobody will go to jail for not participating.
Although this day is seen by the media and non-religious public as a forceful “Christian thing,” the Official site of the National Day of Prayer Task Force sites a verse from the Old Testament which can apply to both Christians and Jewish people: "The Lord is good, a refuge in times of trouble. He cares for those who trust in Him" (Nahum 1:7).
Additionally, there is nothing nationwide demanding that any certain God be prayed to. Anyone, anywhere can use this day to lift extra prayers to their God.
Justice Department, President Obama will challenge Judge Crabb’s ruling:
The Associated Press reports that the U.S. Justice Department will appeal the ruling, with President Obama as the chief defendant.
On April 30, President Obama also issued the annual White House Proclamation for the National Day of Prayer, although he won’t personally host an event.
The fact that the President will not host a National Day of Prayer event is very offensive to people of biblical faith. In an effort "not to offend" atheists and others, he is instead offending the bulk of the country who do believe in God.
Photo credit: Photo of U.S. Currency showing "In God We Trust" is the work of the United States government, not under copyright. It is in public domain.
Want to know what the Constitution really says about freedom of religion in the First Amendment? Check out this book: