Yesterday, federal district court struck down the National Day of Prayer as unconstitutional. The opinion authored by Judge Barbara Crabb is a thoughtfully written, thorough explanation of the many reasons why a congressionally-implemented, presidentially-proclaimed day of prayer violates the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment.
Judge Crabb was also clear that her decision should not in any way minimize the value that prayer can have for many people, simply that the separation of religion and government is best for both parties—a fact often noted by Interfaith Alliance President Rev. Welton Gaddy. In her conclusion, Judge Crabb said:
“I understand that many may disagree with that conclusion and some may even view it as a criticism of prayer or those who pray. That is unfortunate. A determination that the government may not endorse a religious message is not a determination that the message itself is harmful, unimportant or undeserving of dissemination. Rather, it is part of the effort to ‘carry out the Founders’ plan of preserving religious liberty to the fullest extent possible in a pluralistic society.’”
While this ruling won’t stop this year’s National Day of Prayer because the Administration will likely appeal and the injunction doesn’t go into effect until the appeals process is complete, I sincerely hope that Judge Crabb’s ruling will be upheld.