[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/CRIME/04/15/wisconsin.court.prayer/story.bushprayer.gi.jpg caption="President Bush marks the National Day of Prayer in May 2008 with St. Patrick's choir." width=300 height=169]
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.
Anderson Cooper goes beyond the headlines to tell stories from many points of view, so you can make up your own mind about the news. Tune in weeknights at 8 and 10 ET on CNN.
Questions or comments? Send an email
Want to know more? Go behind the scenes with