Lord, we pray that all opposing forces would be barred from retaliation against Christians or the Obama Administration as a result of the appeal. We ask that all those that have taken a stand for our spiritual heritage will be protected and experience a new level of intimacy with Jesus Christ.
April 23, 2010: MADISON, Wis. — The Obama administration said yesterday it will appeal a court decision that found the National Day of Prayer unconstitutional.US District Judge Barbara Crabb in Madison ruled last week the National Day of Prayer that Congress established 58 years ago amounts to a call for religious action.
The Justice Department said it will challenge the decision in the US Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit in Chicago. The notice came after about two dozen members of Congress condemned the ruling and pressed for an appeal.
The case was brought by the Freedom From Religion Foundation, a Madison-based group of atheists and agnostics who argue the National Day of Prayer violates the separation of church and state. Its co-president Annie Laurie Gaylor said she was disappointed in the decision to appeal.
“I would have expected something better from a legal scholar,’’ she said, referring to President Obama’s background as a law professor.
Her group planned to launch an online petition praising Crabb’s decision and asking Obama, the principal defendant in the lawsuit, to “leave days of prayer to individuals, private groups and churches, synagogues, mosques and temples.’’
The administration had argued the law simply acknowledges the role of religion in the United States.
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. An Obama spokesman has said the president plans to issue a proclamation for the upcoming prayer day, May 6. Many other state and local officials typically follow suit.
The Justice Department signaled it would appeal not only Crabb’s decision on the merits of the case but also her ruling last month that the defendants had the standing to bring the lawsuit in the first place.
— Associated Press