WASHINGTON (ABP) — The U.S. Justice Department announced April 22 it would appeal a federal court ruling that the National Day of Prayer is unconstitutional.
Attorneys for the White House filed a notice of appeal in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Wisconsin of District Judge Barbara Crabb's April 15 ruling that laws by Congress establishing a National Day of Prayer endorse the Constitution's Establishment Clause by endorsing religion.
Advocates of the separation of church and state hailed the ruling in a lawsuit filed by the Freedom From Religion Foundation, while those who read the First Amendment more narrowly decried it as an attack on religion. Richard Land of the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention called it an "egregious and revealing decision" that he said "shows the brooding hostility toward religion that exists at some levels of federal, state and local government in this country."
The White House said previously that despite the ruling President Obama intends to recognize a National Day of Prayer, as every president has done since 1952, on May 6.
Bob Allen is senior writer for Associated Baptist Press. mailto:email@example.com