Truth Wins Out applauded a ruling by a federal judge today that 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.
According to the Associated Press, 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 it intends to recognize this year’s National Day of Prayer, which is May 6.
“Judge Crabb made a wise decision that upholds genuine religious liberty and freedom of individual choice,” said Truth Wins Out’s Executive Director Wayne Besen. “Just as before this ruling, Americans can still pray anytime, anyplace, anywhere they want. So, the National Day of Prayer is clearly not about religious access, but a deliberate manipulation of government resources to pressure people into praying. There is no place for such heavy handed, intrusive, big government when it comes to religion.”
The statute that established the National Day of Prayer calls on the president to annually designate one day, other than a Sunday, “on which the people of the United States may turn to God in prayer and meditation at churches, in groups and as individuals.”
Truth Wins Out is a non-profit organization that defends the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender community against anti-gay misinformation campaigns, counters the so-called “ex-gay” industry and educates about the lives of LGBT people.