A federal judge on Thursday struck down the federal statute that established the National Day of Prayer, ruling that it violates the constitutional ban on government-backed religion.
"[I]ts sole purpose is to encourage all citizens to engage in prayer, an inherently religious exercise that serves no secular function," a Wisconsin judge wrote in the ruling, referring to the 1952 law that created the National Day of Prayer.
"In this instance, the government has taken sides on a matter that must be left to individual conscience," wrote the judge, Barbara B. Crabb.
The injunction against the National Day of Prayer will not take effect until the defendants in the case, President Obama and White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs, have exhausted their appeals, the decision said.
The Obama administration said in a Twitter message on Thursday that Obama intends to recognize this year's National Day of Prayer, which is May 6.
So what do you think? We want to hear from you. Can prayer be unconstitutional?
And don't miss Anderson's conversation on the subject with Christopher Hitchens and Tony Perkins tonight on AC360° at 10 p.m. ET.
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