Federal judge rules Day of Prayer unconstitutional

One News Now (Link) - AP (April 15, 2010)

A federal judge in Wisconsin says the National Day of Prayer is unconstitutional.

U.S. District Judge Barbara Crabb issued the ruling Thursday in a lawsuit filed by the Madison-based Freedom From Religion Foundation.

The atheists and agnostics group brought the lawsuit against former President George W. Bush's administration. It argued the day violates the separation of church and state.

Congress established the day in 1952. In 1988, it set the first Thursday in May as the day for presidents to issue proclamations asking Americans to pray.

President Barack Obama issued a proclamation last year but didn't hold public events with religious leaders as Bush had done.

A message was left for the U.S. Department of Justice, which represented the government in the case.