Just two weeks after a federal judge in Madison, Wis., ruled that the annual National Day of Prayer is unconstitutional, 92 percent of Americans told the USA Today/Gallup poll that they believe in God and only 5 percent said they oppose the National Day of Prayer.
The day was first created by Congress in 1952, and is being observed this year on May 6 pursuant to a declaration made last week by President Barack Obama.
On May 1-2, the USA Today/Gallup poll asked more than 1,000 American adults this question: “As you may know, in 1952 Congress designated a National Day of Prayer, which will be held May 6 this year. Do you favor or oppose having a National Day of Prayer, or doesn’t it matter to you either way?”
Fifty-seven percent said they favor holding a National Day of Prayer, 38 percent said it did not matter to them, 5 percent said they opposed it, and 1 percent said they had no opinion.
Last Friday, President Obama issued a proclamation that said in part: “Now, therefore, I, Barack Obama, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and laws of the United States of America, do hereby proclaim May 6, 2010, as a National Day of Prayer. I call upon the citizens of our Nation to pray, or otherwise give thanks, in accordance with their own faiths and consciences, for our many freedoms and blessings, and I invite all people of faith to join me in asking for God’s continued guidance, grace, and protection as we meet the challenges before us.”
On April 15, U.S. District Judge Barbara Crabb ruled that the National Day of Prayer violates the 1st Amendment ban on Congress establishing a religion. The decision came in a suit brought by the Freedom from Religion Foundation.
The day of prayer is celebrated by people of many faiths. USA Today reported that 92% of the Americans surveyed in its poll said they believe in God.