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April 16th, 2010
08:34 AM ET

Can Prayer be Unconstitutional?

A federal judge in Wisconsin says the National Day of Prayer is unconstitutional. Judge Barbara Crabb says it violates the constitutional ban on government-backed religion. She says its purpose “is to encourage all citizens to engage in prayer, an inherently religious exercise that serves no secular function.”

Conservative religious groups have criticized the decision. Joel Oster, senior legal counsel for the Alliance Defense Fund says, “The National Day of Prayer provides an opportunity for all Americans to pray voluntarily according to their own faith and does not promote any particular religion or form of religious observance.”

The lawsuit against the Obama administration was brought by the Freedom From Religion Foundation, a group based in Madison, Wisconsin. The Obama administration said in a Twitter message on Thursday that President Obama intends to recognize this year's National Day of Prayer, which is May 6.

So what do you think? Should we have a government-sponsored National Day of Prayer or do you think it’s unconstitutional? Leave a comment and we’ll share some of them on air in the CNN Newsroom, 11am ET – 1pm ET.


Filed under: Tony Harris
soundoff (307 Responses)
  1. Bonnie Miller

    By not endorsing a specific religious creed, the National Day of Prayer focuses on the need we all have to appeal to a Higher Power than our own government leaders. I am not an Obama supporter, but I firmly believe the National Day of Prayer should stand just as it is. It offers us all an opportunity to recognize that everyone needs helps in this troublesome time.

    April 16, 2010 at 8:43 am |
  2. sdunb9

    I pray every night and to rule National Day Of Prayer unconstitutional is abhorrent! I include our President and our troops in my prayers as well as everyone who is distraught. I have to say this judge has gone too far and I am highly offended by this ruling. People that do not pray do not have to participate!

    April 16, 2010 at 8:53 am |
  3. Dan

    NO it is not unconstitutional. Whether people want to beleive it our constitution was made by our forefathers based on biblical principles, and a part of that is PRAYER!!

    April 16, 2010 at 9:03 am |
  4. hawa

    True, we do not need a national prayer day. If i can pray anywhere i wish every day i wish, why would i need a holiday devoted to prayer? Everyday should already be.

    April 16, 2010 at 9:05 am |
  5. Michael Conti

    WHAT? Well for all who don't want a country based on a GOD can send me all of their money inscribed with "In GOD we Trust" I will even take Paypal donations of those funds, I am sure GOD is in there somewhere.

    If we keep pushing GOD out he will eventually leave us to be if He has not already, and to that will be the end of America. I will start looking for a new place to live now and you can have all your perversions and godless laws and, well I don't want to be here to see the chaos that follows.

    GOD (Please) Bless America!

    April 16, 2010 at 9:06 am |
  6. Benjamin J. Roethig

    Does it require them to adhere to a specific tradition? No.

    April 16, 2010 at 9:10 am |
  7. John D.

    That the National Day of Prayer doesn't focus on one religion is not relevant. Our government is a secular one and shouldn't encourage religion at all. (it shouldn't discourage it either)

    Bonnie – I'm an atheist. I don't have any need to appeal to a higher power. I don't want my tax dollars wasted encouraging something that people can do in their free time. Priests, pastors, rabbis, other clergy types, and just regular practitioners of religion encourage prayer constantly. There is absolutely no need for the government to do it.

    April 16, 2010 at 9:11 am |
  8. Clem

    This country was founded on a belief in God. Now it has moved to faith in a higher being. I think the majority of people living and working in these United States believe in a higher being and most call on God in times of trouble even though they ignore him in their daily lives. In a democratic society the majority rules and I think the Federal judge who made this ruling is off base and out of touch with the majority in America.

    April 16, 2010 at 9:12 am |
  9. Harrison2253

    I will personally pay the one way air fares to North Korea or China for each member of the Freedom From Religion Foundation. I don't mind if they choose not to believe in God but this country was founded on Christian valuse and is well documented and I DO mind when they attempt to take away my right to pray if I so choose.

    April 16, 2010 at 9:13 am |
  10. Jason S.

    Can prayer be unconstitutional? Of course not.

    But is a National Day of Prayer unconstitutional? Of course it is.

    April 16, 2010 at 9:14 am |
  11. Dan

    One other thing.
    We have removed the 10 commandments from public/government facilities, we have allowed abortions (Murder/Butchering) to run rampant in this country, homosexuality to skyrocket, and now we are removing the national day of prayer? No wonder we are having all of these natural disasters (hurricanes, flooding, tornadoes, etc).
    We have become a wicked nation, much like Sodom and Gomorrah was.
    Wake up America.

    April 16, 2010 at 9:15 am |
  12. MarkD

    Don't be silly. Americans are free to pray all they want. Read the Constitution instead of the Bible and you'd know: "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion."

    April 16, 2010 at 9:15 am |
  13. bob R

    I am a very religious person (Christian) and I pray and read the bible every day. the idea that a religious person would even care about whether a secular Government bans or endorses a holiday seems silly. The government has nothing to do with my faith and I don't need a National Day Of Prayer to realize that I need to pray.
    I couldnt care less if they ban it or not. It doesnt affect anyone with real faith.

    April 16, 2010 at 9:17 am |
  14. mona henderson

    There will come a day when this lady will need prayer and this proclamation will come back to haunt her! If she is not willing to have one day called a National Day of Prayer, makes me wonder if she ever prays????

    April 16, 2010 at 9:17 am |
  15. Wendell

    I have absolutely no problem with a day of prayer, national or otherwise, but there's no reason the government should be involved.

    April 16, 2010 at 9:20 am |
  16. frank burns

    No one says prayer is unconstitutional - just that government has no business mandating a day for it. The job of government is precisely specified in the constitution - providing for the public welfare, transportation, currency, defense, etc., and it is a well-known principle that it should keep out of religion. People who wish to pray can do so, without any help from their government, for or against. Sorry, but the title of the article is tendentious, and seems like an outright attempt at being misleading. Shame on you.

    April 16, 2010 at 9:20 am |
  17. robS

    "The Establishment Clause of the First Amendment prohibits the establishment of a national religion by the Congress or the preference of one religion over another, non-religion over religion, or religion over non-religion. "
    Besides, if you need the government to tell you to pray (what ever your faith) perhaps "church" isn't for you.

    April 16, 2010 at 9:22 am |
  18. THOMAS (TOMMY) J. SHEPHERD

    The most powerful deliberate statement being a QUESTION:
    Did the Judge take a Religious Declaration upon taking Office?
    Second question:
    Does the Constitution RECOGNIZE the ISSUE OF LIFE: Relgion?
    Third question:
    Your Honor: What "Alternate" does Life Offer?

    April 16, 2010 at 9:23 am |
  19. michael armstrong sr.

    Now heres something for the crazy people out there to do burn down the Freedom From Religion Foundation building we dont want a foundation like this in our highly God fearing country so get the hell out if you dont like God .

    April 16, 2010 at 9:23 am |
  20. Kira

    People, what time is it? Is this 21st Century or are we back in the Middle Ages? If anyone wants to pray, go for it, but do not make it part of my life. It is my own personal choice, so I do not need Government or Judges to tell me about it. National Prayer Day is truly an abomination to the principals of the personal Freedom, on which this country was built on.

    April 16, 2010 at 9:26 am |
  21. Susan Leahy

    The American Constitution guarantees freedom "OF" religion; not freedom "from" religion. Pray away...it's an American right!

    April 16, 2010 at 9:30 am |
  22. Jaeger

    Dude, no one is taking away your right to pray. No one is saying this country wasn't formed on Christian values. What we are saying is that Freedom of Religion means that the government cannot tell us when to pray, even if you want them to. Our country was founded on many things that have since been abolished or ammended. We don't live in the 1700s anymore. Time moved on and it seems most of you posting are stuck in the past (especially Mr. Conti who thinks God's a cookin a somethin up for America, that Old testament stuff is as archaic as believing that Zeus will hurl lightning bolts as those who disobey) Wake up to the new millenium where this country takes a stand at being a religiously diverse and safe community for everyone, including atheists, Jews, Christians, Muslims, Buddhists, everyone.

    April 16, 2010 at 9:31 am |
  23. michael armstrong sr.

    These people move into our country and then try to replace our religion with theres If the ways of there country's was so good then why did they come here .

    April 16, 2010 at 9:31 am |
  24. Isadora

    The headline "Can Prayer be Unconstitutional?" to this blog post is meretricious and misleading. Judge Crabb did NOT rule that prayer is unconstitutional. Her ruling stated that the Executive or Legislative branch of government's designation of a "National Day of Prayer" violates the constitutional separation of church and state. If the National Council of Churches or Osteen's Alliance Defense Fund wants to designate a national day of prayer, nothing and no one will stop them.

    As for some of the comments above, I don't understand why you feel this ruling challenges or limits your, or anyone else's, opportunity or need to pray daily.

    The founders of the American Republic were champions of freedom of conscience when it came to religious observance and belief. Some adhered to the doctrine of Deism–that God created the world and set it in motion to function according to the laws of nature, no longer involving Himself in its daily affairs. (Why would such a God need prayer?)

    Why is it that so many people who oppose "big governement" and instrusion of "big brother" in our lives–who object to government requiring they carry health insurance, telling them the junk food they eat isn't healthy, and discouraging smoking– feel that the US government should mandate and promote public prayer? Isn't designation of National Prayer Day an intrusion of government into promotion of a particular view the relationship of human beings and their Maker a preemption of the role of the individual conscience in matters of religious faith?

    April 16, 2010 at 9:32 am |
  25. Jan

    I am a spiritual person, believing there are many paths to God. I have friends who are agnostic or atheist who are more spiritual and good than many devoutly religious people I have known. I think the need for the day of prayer is unnecessary and implies that people should engage in prayer. I believe in the power of prayer, all kinds, including spiritual meditations, but I don't believe we should suggest to others how they go about their spiritual lives unless they want to be engaged on the subject. We definitely should not mix religion with government. Our government allows for people to be called by a higher power to refute government policy and laws, if they were seriously objectionable based on their religious beliefs. Thus conscientious objectors.

    April 16, 2010 at 9:33 am |
  26. Matt

    If one is offended by this judges ruling then by that rational a non-believer holds just as much cause in being offended by the national day of prayer. It is not true, that one cannot be critical of an idea without inherently being critical of the tenets of said idea. This premise is nothing short of ideological tyranny. The word 'prayer' in itself is an endorsement of specific kinds of religion. Having said that, explicitness was not the aim of the constitutional separation between church and state, but rather the implicit unity between nationalism and belief itself. America was meant to be a place where all ideas could flourish, how will the voices of non-belief ever be heard in a country where belief is nationally endorsed? This is why I understand this judges ruling.

    April 16, 2010 at 9:33 am |
  27. K

    We sit in a sweet spot. If we promote any religion or religious practice, we're Iran. If we don't allow any religion, we're China. Separation of Church and State is as much a separation of State and Church. Again, we sit in a sweet spot and if we start to go down one road or the other, we'll lose the founding fathers' dream.

    April 16, 2010 at 9:34 am |
  28. DeDe Massey

    What are we teaching our kids???? We sress that hard work, dedication and honesty pays off. Walking at graduation... holds a much greater honor than an ignorant "no tolerance" policy. They have worked for this day since kindergarten! Find another means of dicipline, and try looking at the BIG picture.

    April 16, 2010 at 9:37 am |
  29. John D.

    To the folks who seem to have the delusion that this nation was founded under Biblical principles, I point you to the Treaty of Tripoli which was ratified unanimously by all 23 Senators present at the vote in 1797:

    "Art. 11. As the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion,"

    You also just have to look at the writings of the founders to know that they did not believe in a religious government and were not very religious men. For instance take a look at our third president and author of the Declaration of Independence:

    "Millions of innocent men, women and children, since the introduction of Christianity, have been burnt, tortured, fined and imprisoned. What has been the effect of this coercion? To make one half the world fools and the other half hypocrites" – Thomas Jefferson, Notes on Virginia, 1782.

    "Believing with you that religion is a matter which lies solely between man and his God, that he owes account to none other for his faith or his worship, that the legislative powers of government reach actions only, and not opinions, I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should 'make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,' thus building a wall of separation between church and State." – Thomas Jefferson, letter to Danbury Baptist Association, CT., Jan. 1, 1802

    April 16, 2010 at 9:37 am |
  30. Lindsey

    I knew it was just a matter of time before some lunatic judge would do this. First they have taken it out of our schools and now out of our country. Mr. Rob S., you don't get it. This is a CHOICE not a DEMAND. And it doesn't constitute WHO you are praying to. You can pick your god. This is not establishing a national religion. This is giving you an opportunity. Why are people so afraid of this? Do you know or not what our country was founded upon and why????

    April 16, 2010 at 9:38 am |
  31. S Kellogg

    "By not endorsing a specific religious creed, the National Day of Prayer focuses on the need we all have to appeal to a Higher Power ..."

    This is the crux of the issue: The assumption that there is a higher power and also that every American has a NEED to appeal to it. Those assumptions are religious in nature and not shared by all Americans. To assume that everyone believes or should believe in a higher power is insensitive at best, offensive at worst, but more importantly it is counter to the principle of religious freedom.

    Religious freedeom neccessarily includes the choice to not participate in religion. When the Federal Government declares a National Prayer Day, it is implying that it is the government's belief there is a higher power to which we should appeal. This implication infringes on the freedoms of Americans who choose to reject the idea of a higher power.

    April 16, 2010 at 9:39 am |
  32. Doug Nishimura

    Why would religious people need a National Day of Prayer? Don't they pray every day?

    Do anti–government conservatives need government to tell them to pray?

    BTW, there was no such thing until the 50s. Jefferson specifically rejected a national day of prayer.

    April 16, 2010 at 9:41 am |
  33. hlomas

    Perhaps Harrison2253 could expound upon where this ruling would affect his right to pray in any way. The ruling is saying is that our federal government should not have any input at all in the matter.

    The separation of church and state benefits both the religious and the non-religious.

    It prevents religious agendas from influencing politics to favor themselves, and it prevents the government from meddling in private beliefs.

    The government is a secular institution meant to preserve the safety and freedoms of its citizens, such as the freedom to believe or to not believe in a god or gods.

    If you value America's diversity and freedom of ideas, then you see that the government should not have any say whatsoever in religion, positive or negative.

    The alarmist and frankly aggressive language from some of these posts is disappointing and runs counter to the idea of individual freedom of belief, the core tenet of American values.

    There is absolutely nothing stopping citizens of various denominations from considering a day to be a national day of prayer, it will simply not be a government endorsed one.

    Consider the corollary, a "national day of non-belief" to "reflect on the possibility of their not being a god or gods". You could choose to not participate, right?

    Or would you prefer the government just stay out of it entirely and let individuals practice their beliefs in their homes and communities?

    April 16, 2010 at 9:44 am |
  34. Dan

    I am a Christian. People above are talking about how we don't need the government to tell us when to pray. I pray daily, and it does wonders for my spirit.
    I want to open up another can of worms. Can anyone tell me why our United States Senate opens every day with prayer?
    Oh, by the way, the United States Senate is GOVERNMENT.
    I am anxious to hear the responses.

    April 16, 2010 at 9:44 am |
  35. herb

    As a non-believing agnostic, I'm actually indifferent to this decision.

    I've read the bible and gone to Catholic School. So I've done the forced prayer bit.

    Prayer isn't anything special except to those who feel it is to them, and as a former government official, don't see this as anything different than Black History Month or Labor Day or some other group-related recognition.

    Athiests should shut up about National Day of Prayer and just demand equal time instead on some equinox.

    I'm not forced to kiss Levar Burton's butt in February, I don't have to pay extra union dues on Labor Day, and I don't have to pray on National Day of Prayer. In fact, I can watch CMT and Seinfeld/Kramer all February, not pay overtime rates on labor day, and draw ALL of South Park's Super Best Friends on the cover of the bible in the nightstand at the Motel 6 on National Day of Prayer.
    (bonus points if you get ALL the references without a search engine)

    Why can't they just be normal jerks like the rest of us, instead of complete idiots like cable news networks and DC?

    April 16, 2010 at 9:46 am |
  36. JACK

    This is why the United States is doomed. Our country will fall apart and form 2 to 4 separate unions, such as the European Union. People will migrate to the "union of states" they feel comfortable with." A National Day of Prayer does not impose the governments will on any citizen. You can pray for our Nation or not, believe in a supreme being of any religion, or not. Our liberal justices are ruining our country and it is time for the silent majority to rise up and be heard or our country will eventually cease to exist as we know it.

    April 16, 2010 at 9:46 am |
  37. eric

    What's next? Should Christmas be unconstitutional? Can someone inform this judge to keep working during Christmas day!

    April 16, 2010 at 9:47 am |
  38. Dan

    One thing I think is really neat is how our United States Senate begins every floor session with prayer.

    April 16, 2010 at 9:49 am |
  39. t.stinson

    we really need a of prayer to turn this country around

    April 16, 2010 at 9:52 am |
  40. TheGoodDoctor

    A governmentally-recognized day of prayer is clearly unconstitutional: "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion." (First Amendment to the US Constitution)

    Pray all you want or need in private, in church, in your mind.

    April 16, 2010 at 9:54 am |
  41. Francy

    The Fedral Judge was spot on about a National day of Prayer.
    Anyone can pray whenever in this country. It should not be mandated
    in any way or even just implied. Look what happens to countries who are regulated by religion. There liberties, freedoms etc. are gone. Leave the praying to churches, homes, cars, whatever, but don't try to shove it into everyones faces.

    April 16, 2010 at 9:55 am |
  42. Daniel

    I don't think it is unconstitutional to remind us that we have the right to pray. We are in danger and have even lost other consitutional rights. No one is forece to pray on National Prayer Day. If anything it supports the consitution; reminds us that we have the right to pray if we choose to do so. Why make a big deal about lossing our rights. The constitution has been broken in more serious ways. i.e. The right to privace with countless urine sreens; right to bear arms; freedom of speech...

    April 16, 2010 at 9:58 am |
  43. Jason

    I believe that a National Day of Prayer is a good thing. Since we are One Nation Under God. I believe that is my right to praise My Savior Jesus Christ. While other people practice other religions as well or there are those who do not believe in any religion. I feel if they don't like the idea of a National Day of Prayer then don't come. It's our rights as Christians to praise his name.

    April 16, 2010 at 9:58 am |
  44. WWJD?

    Bible-wielding posters: You may want to re-read the Sermon on the Mount and then consider how your hateful and holier-than-thou posts fit with Christ's message. Here are two excerpts you may have forgotten:

    But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly.

    Judge not, that ye be not judged.

    April 16, 2010 at 10:01 am |
  45. maggs

    okay does it matter at all it mean unconstitutional? are they whacked ? people can do or don't do what they want. it is like saying on national pickle day we must all eat pickles or recognize the wonder of peoples!
    so what only ther people that are afaird of relious choice are afaird of this. it is not meant to rule over people it is meant to say hey this is what we are doing do you want to join us. my daughter a wicken says this is laughable she doesn't care what others people do they can not force her to do anything. i have a friend that is a missionary in the middle east how says everone honors god in thier own way even the people without religion have morals and guidelines. so i say how cares! what the supereme court says how cares if you don't want to pray or if you do it does not hurt anyone

    April 16, 2010 at 10:01 am |
  46. Fred USASF (Ret.)

    I pray that this Obama follower Judge Crabb won't see tomarrow.

    April 16, 2010 at 10:02 am |
  47. Audrey Lee Berg

    Our forefathers, the authors of our Constitution, were prayerful men who believed that this nation should be a shelter for all religions not a shelter "from" religion. If we remove all aspects of the Christain/Judeo base on which our country was founded; we are left with only the opinions of our Supreme Court Justices on which to base the laws of our nation..I for one, perfer the ever constant dictates of our loving God (the Ten Commandments) as opposed to the changing ideas and opinions of people who are appointed according to their aliegnment with the political party that happens to be in power at the time. Ever changing laws and idealogies can only bring instability. Let those who believe, pray for our nation and the world. If you don't believe, don't pray! Prayer is a right upheld by the Constituion!!!

    April 16, 2010 at 10:06 am |
  48. Chris

    I am a Christian and like the idea of a national day of prayer even though I pray every day. The problem with them trying to remove the national day of prayer is that IF it does happen, will it stop there?

    It seems this is a big subject among Christians and atheists so if the national day of prayer was taken away, what would they want to take away next? It will open doors for atheists to seek further removal of Christianity.

    I agree with many posts above. This world has fallen so bad over the past decade because so many people are shoving God out and looking to themselves for answers which we can see where that is getting us today.

    "God help us through these last days..."

    Chris

    April 16, 2010 at 10:08 am |
  49. M. Lynch

    Whatever happened to majority rules? I think there are more believers in some form of Higher Power than there are non-believers. Yet laws were passed so that there is no prayer in schools,
    supposedly now in the armed forces and they want the crosses removed from Arlington Cemetery and Flanders Field and In God We Trust from the coinage. In all our history no judge has felt the need to do this except in the 20th century. Were they all unaware of this constitutionality or non? We stopped prayer in the schools and they learned how to shoot. Next, they will be after "God Bless America".
    People came to this country to escape persecution and found a place that tolerated all religions even atheists.

    April 16, 2010 at 10:10 am |
  50. Kristi Carlson

    I am in favor of the decision. I am an Obama supporter, but this seems like a clear-cut case. It shouldn't but up to the government to promote prayer.

    It would be nice if the government could help promote rational thought. Perhaps we can launch a "National Rational Thought Day".

    April 16, 2010 at 10:11 am |
  51. ncooty

    Most of the overtly religious references in government originated (or at least manifested) during the McCarthy era, when representatives were falling all over themselves trying to look as little like a "godless communist" as possible. The references are all monotheistic, so they exclude both atheism (as well as agnosticism) and polytheistic religions.

    The act in question clearly establishes support for religion, especially those that advocate prayer. Frankly, I'm surprised people think it doesn't violate the First Amendment. It seems pretty clear. In fact, you can read the very harms of religious establishment in the moronic comments some readers are leaving here: E.g., "If you don't believe in God, give me all your money with 'In God We Trust' on it," or "This is a Christian country." That's exactly the idiocy the First Amendment was written to avoid.

    April 16, 2010 at 10:12 am |
  52. jm76430

    People who oppose a national day of prayer are not interested in the freedom to select or not select a religion. They are anti-religion. Having a national day of anything does require you to do something. It's just a marker of something's importance to a significant number of people.

    If the idea that people may be praying to their deity offends you so much, go the the library and read about all the terrible things that have been done in the name of religion. Although you should probably take a few minutes to read about the horrible things that have been done entirely unrelated to religion also.

    April 16, 2010 at 10:14 am |
  53. ncooty

    Clem wrote: "In a democratic society the majority rules and I think the Federal judge who made this ruling is off base and out of touch with the majority in America."

    Clem, are you aware that simple majority referenda are not sufficient to overturn a Constitutional amendment? ("Majority rules" won't even get you past a filibuster, let alone overturn the cornerstone of the Bill of Rights.)

    April 16, 2010 at 10:16 am |
  54. NKilbride

    I think before you solicit reader opinions on this well-reasoned and well-written decision, you should link readers to the case. Let them read the history and law on both sides Judge Crabb analyzed before rendering her opinion. Will the administration appeal?

    April 16, 2010 at 10:20 am |
  55. ncooty

    Harrison2253 wrote: "...I DO mind when they attempt to take away my right to pray if I so choose."

    Harrison, no one is taking away your right to pray, nor could they. Do you honestly think that's what's happening, Harrison? Are you worried someone will now monitor whether or not you're talking to your invisible, all-powerful friend? Exactly how would we do that?

    Sorry, but you're not a martyr today. Get off the cross; we need the wood.

    April 16, 2010 at 10:21 am |
  56. Shawn Blackhawk

    I don't think we should. I think religion is a personal thing, and unless you are in a church/synagogue/mosque etc., any communication you have with your higher power should happen between you and your God/Goddess. Last time we mixed politics and religion, my people got burned at the stake.

    April 16, 2010 at 10:23 am |
  57. Anne

    A government-sponsored National Day of Prayer is unconstitutional.

    April 16, 2010 at 10:23 am |
  58. Joshua Myers

    "The Government of the United States of America, which is in noway founded on the Christian religion" – Treaty of Tripoli, signed by John Adams. The Government is to have no hand in promoting or denying religion, it is to be neutral. Is this neutral?

    April 16, 2010 at 10:23 am |
  59. Joseph Kraatz, Oceanside, CA

    How refreshing. I am tiring of christians trying to subject me with their archaic beliefs. The Constitution is very clear. I have the freedom not to be subjected to religious beliefs.

    April 16, 2010 at 10:24 am |
  60. Kerry

    Prayer is a personal and intimate conversation between you and whomever your God may be. Keep it that way, we don't need a national prayer day. Organized religion in all forms is the crux of so many of our problems at home and abroad. Let's not let the government sponsor it.

    Kerry, Centerport NY

    April 16, 2010 at 10:24 am |
  61. Keith in Colorado

    A day of prayer panders to those religions that prescribe to the practice and the event is inherently exclusive.

    April 16, 2010 at 10:24 am |
  62. michael armstrong sr.

    I beleave that an American that was born and raised in this country should have anything they want and those that came here from some where's else should shut up or go home .

    April 16, 2010 at 10:24 am |
  63. francisco siguenza

    As part of this society we have to respect the beliefs of everyone. More than unconstitutional is totally disrespectful to the people from other groups. I am an atheist and I consider that a National Day of Prayer is bias.

    April 16, 2010 at 10:24 am |
  64. Tom S.

    If you don't like it, don't pray. I won't force you to pray, don't you try to stop me from praying.

    April 16, 2010 at 10:24 am |
  65. philodough

    They should have more national days! like "National Sacrifice day" or "Stone Idol day" this way its non demominational and you don't have to do it if you don't want to.

    April 16, 2010 at 10:24 am |
  66. Danny C. from Normal, IL

    We should be a nation known as one that accepts everybody for who they are, not one that endorses certain people who believe in a Higher Power. Yes, it is unconstitutional. To say that our Constitution was founded on Christian beliefs is uneducated and wrong.

    April 16, 2010 at 10:24 am |
  67. james

    The world would be a better place if there were no religion.

    April 16, 2010 at 10:24 am |
  68. Chris

    A National Day of Prayer is not like displaying the Ten Commandments in a Courthouse: it's intended to be a day when every American acknowledges his or her own spirituality, and, if possible, asks something bigger than themselves for help. It could be Unconstitutional, but considering the way things are going, PRAYER is one of the best ideas going.

    April 16, 2010 at 10:25 am |
  69. Manny

    Prayer should be allowed in a national day of prayer as this country was founded on the rights of religion freedom.

    April 16, 2010 at 10:25 am |
  70. Tracey

    Why is it suddenly unconstitutional? A national day of prayer can be for whatever religion you follow, and whatever god you pray to. We could stand a whole lot more prayer in this world. Especially in these unstable times.

    April 16, 2010 at 10:25 am |
  71. Ken

    I totally agree with the judge. This country was founded on the seperation of church and state. It bothers me when people, especially republicans, mix the two. Middle eastern countries have church and state linked and we all know how limited their freedoms are. Do we want our country to turn into that? Because it will if the right-wingers have their way.

    April 16, 2010 at 10:25 am |
  72. ricardo

    Regardless if the holiday is constitutional or not, I am offering a short prayer of salvation for the federaljudge and all the atheists and agnostics who oppose prayer.

    May God deliver them from hell, and may they find forgiveness for their sins.

    April 16, 2010 at 10:25 am |
  73. Alan

    Having the government endorse the National Day of prayer is in direct conflict with the 1st amendment.

    If religious organizations want to come together on the same day and express their beliefs at the same time that is fine but it is not necessary for the government and government officials to also endorse this activity not to mention being unconstitutional for them to do so. Any government official that wants to participate should do so quietly on their own without making any official statements.

    The Judge got it right as the laws are written.

    By the way, I pay my taxes electronically to avoid using money with the unconstitutional phrase that appears on printed/minted currency.

    Please know that over 10% and growing of the US population is non-religious

    April 16, 2010 at 10:26 am |
  74. Coston Perkins

    The United States allows freedom from religion with the separation of church and state. Everyone is free to have religious views, and celebrate those views, but government sponsored religious traditions are unconstitutional.

    April 16, 2010 at 10:26 am |
  75. Khattt

    Wasn't this country founded on Christian principles? I agree that we as a country should not force religious beliefs down peoples throats, but I see nothing wrong with National Day of Prayer. Every religious group prays, only atheists do not and thought you have the right to be atheist in this contry...don't live in a Christian country and try to force them to stop being Christian. It's ridiculous, similar to a Christian asking a Muslim country to remove everything that represents their religion because they have the "right" to free speech or a KKK saying "MLK day is unconstitutional"..just don't observe the day and create your own!

    April 16, 2010 at 10:26 am |
  76. Richard Dean Hovey

    "Congress shall pass no laws respecting the establishment of religion."
    –First Amendment to the U. S. Constitution

    What part of "no laws" is unclear? Religion doesn't need support from the government, in any case. Entanglement between government and religion muddies the fact that we are a secular society. In effect, this means neutral ground for ALL religions. Those who fear a "godless society" need to take a deep breath and count their blessings.

    April 16, 2010 at 10:26 am |
  77. Jessica

    Yes, it is unconstitutional, as it violates the separation between church and state. Prayer is a fully religious exercise. If we have a day of prayer, we should also have a day of chanting, a day of speaking in tongues, and so on. There is no end to it, it is a slippery slope that ends with a great number of people slighted because their religion is not celebrated.

    April 16, 2010 at 10:27 am |
  78. Corrigan Blanchfield

    Though unaffiliated with any specific religion, a National Day of Prayer still reflects a national initiative to promote religious activities. As the court decision stated, the National Day of Prayer is "an inherently religious exercise that serves no secular function".

    April 16, 2010 at 10:27 am |
  79. David S in Marin County

    This country's founders believed in the separation of church and state. This is not just a country of Christians plus other major religions, it is also a country of Atheists and Agnostics and spiritual people who do not belong to any organized religion. Trust the founding fathers, mixing religion and politics has resulted in nothing but suffering. The federal government should support discriminatory programs like Day of Prayer.

    April 16, 2010 at 10:27 am |
  80. Curtis Walker

    It's hard to believe this is even a controversy. Our Constitution clearly says that the United States of America has a separation of church and state. It would be fine with me if the churches, separate from the government wanted to have a national day of prayer. In fact, I think people should pray every day for our nation, but to have it sponsored by the government is simply unconstitutional.

    April 16, 2010 at 10:27 am |
  81. Tim

    I think as long a specific religion is not mentioned, it is constitutional, it is an optional day of observance that you could observe or ignore.

    April 16, 2010 at 10:27 am |
  82. Sommer

    Why dont they just change the title to National prayer and meditation day. I think that might make it more universal. You cant please everyone!

    April 16, 2010 at 10:28 am |
  83. mike r.1950

    I think those same people who say that prayer is unconstitutional should give their money to the government because the money says in god we trust! why is this even an issue if you don't believe in god just don't participate in prayer.don't try to force your views on the rest of the country!

    April 16, 2010 at 10:29 am |
  84. Michael P. Howington

    sure... lets agree its unconstitutional. But that same judge should have to work, or take the day off without pay in observance of Christmas (religious holiday) and other paid time off that is religious. After all, the government shouldn't sponsor religious activities given separation of church and state. You cant pass a ruling like this without applying the thought process to other similar situations.
    Further, it isnt unconstitutional. In the reading of the constitution, it does refer to God, so the government cant not mandate religious practices of the government or the citizens, but it can participate and support religious things such as a national day of prayer which... the last time I checked it wasnt specific to one religion so Judaism, Christianity, and the current US president's religion of Islam would all be inclusive. Its nice to know that our government believes in a power higher than themselves.... in summary, its voluntary.

    April 16, 2010 at 10:29 am |
  85. Benn Gunn

    Unconstitutional and Talibanesque. What has religion wrought? Darfur, slow death of Palestinians, 911, Al-Qaeda, pedophile priests etc. which represent the bane of civil society. Bah and fie!

    April 16, 2010 at 10:29 am |
  86. sheri

    Hi Tony,
    No one is telling you What God you have to pray to, you can pray to a rock if it suits your religion. This is not unconsitutional, in fact in my understanding, it is the very definition of religious freedom.

    April 16, 2010 at 10:29 am |
  87. David S in Marin County

    Sorry, the last sentence should be "The federal government should NOT support discriminatory programs like Day of Prayer.

    April 16, 2010 at 10:29 am |
  88. Don Beethe

    America was founded as a CHRISTIAN NATION.

    Where are these JUDGES coming from!!

    April 16, 2010 at 10:30 am |
  89. Paulino Arias

    Technically it may be considered unconstitutional since the federal government is not permited by the Bill of Rights to make any law or act establishing an offical state church or support any religion. Though this national day of prayer is not mandatory for Americans to participate in. As long as it does not force American citizens to pray, especially since there aee so many different religions & guidelines in how they practice, I do not beleive that it violates any citizens rights or the Constitution. This is one of those things that the U.S. Supreme Court may have to interpret.

    April 16, 2010 at 10:30 am |
  90. Nicole Jackson

    Yes, i do believe we should because this world is already going crazy that most families are w/ are w/o no job and trying to make ends meet, people doing alot of killing still asking myself for What !!!, so just to make a long story short our World needs help and prayer we all need to come together and stop blaming each other for our excuses and hope for the best...we need Prayer let's have hope and not depression and stress

    April 16, 2010 at 10:31 am |
  91. Gerardo Rivera

    Tony I'm 19 and an open atheist and I can say the idea that we have such a thing endorsed by our government sure puts a message to me that I'm not counted. As a note "In God We Trust," and "one nation under God" as well as this national day of prayer were all added in the 1950s and completely gose against separation of church and state.

    April 16, 2010 at 10:31 am |
  92. Richard Dean Hovey

    Your comment is awaiting moderation.

    "Congress shall pass no law respecting an establishment of religion."
    –First Amendment to the U. S. Constitution

    What part of "no laws" is unclear? Religion doesn't need support from the government, in any case. Entanglement between government and religion muddies the fact that we are a secular society. In effect, this means neutral ground for ALL religions. Those who fear a "godless society" need to take a deep breath and count their blessings.

    April 16, 2010 at 10:32 am |
  93. D Beethe

    CNN keep up the good work in letting us know what going on!!

    April 16, 2010 at 10:32 am |
  94. Marty Martain

    Dear Tony, I m o sick and tired of being told by a minority that we can not have a day of prayer. This country was founded on "Religious Freedom" and we must have prayer in school, homes, courtroom and at all levels that the majority wants. If someone does not like it, then do't pray. This country has freedom of choice, so make the choice, do not force a rule on the majority that likes to pray.

    April 16, 2010 at 10:33 am |
  95. James Punches

    Of course it's unconstitutional since it only covers religious prayer. Now, maybe if it were the National Day for Prayer and the Contemplation of One's Navel, it might fly.

    April 16, 2010 at 10:33 am |
  96. Jason Cahill

    We should not have a national prayer day backed by the government. We have a separation of church and state for a reason. Also, for those of you saying we are a a nation based on a god (or, as some say, GOD), you should promptly read the Treaty of Tripoli, which says, "As the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion..."

    We are not a religious nation. We were founded on secularism, and it should stay that way for the betterment of all peoples. A religious nation, especially one based on Abrahamic religion, is a hateful nation.

    April 16, 2010 at 10:34 am |
  97. g.aikens

    We should have Prayer, everday

    April 16, 2010 at 10:34 am |
  98. September

    I am a Pastafarian, and I pray to His Noodliness that there is no day where a national day of prayer is ruled unconstitutional. The only problem I have is that Pastafarianism has not been endorsed by the government.

    April 16, 2010 at 10:34 am |
  99. Khattt

    It's not like saying "everyone has to pray today", it's just a symbolic day to bring God loving people together (which is majority of this country, regardless of their religious belief)! It's no different than Veterans Day (there's actual people that hate Veterans) but we have to observe that day. MLK day, Lord knows how many people hate the civil rights movement and minorities. Arbor day...some people hate trees. President's Day, some of those guys owned slaves, had several mistresses and kids out of wedlock...yet we observe them and in some cases have to take the day off. So if National Prayer Day is just an observation and not a mandate that you have to drop to your knees and pray... feel free to NOT pray that day atheists!

    April 16, 2010 at 10:34 am |
  100. Raymond P. Bilodeau

    A National Day of Prayer does not require anyone to pray. It recognizes the fact that a lot of Americans do believe in prayer. The government recognizes all sorts of activities, even if all Americans do not agree with those activities.

    The Tea Party mentality is what is unconstitutional.

    April 16, 2010 at 10:35 am |
  101. Tina

    I believe in the separation of church and state. A government sponsored national prayer day violates this principle set down by our founding fathers. Religions already have their assigned days and times when prayer is required. Let those who want to pray follow the dictates of their own faiths. Please let the rest of us American citizens have the freedom from the tyranny of religion and the religious zealots who want to force everyone to do and believe as they do.

    April 16, 2010 at 10:36 am |
  102. Linda Ayers

    Tony, if we lose our right as a nation to pray for our nation, our nation is doomed! Our forefathers would never have dreamed that we would get to this point: that a nation endowed by its Creator would turn its back on Him!

    April 16, 2010 at 10:36 am |
  103. Ron Barnes

    As a bishop of the Universal Ministries, I am a big fan of prayer as long as it is a voluntary and personal prayer. God wants volunteers, not hostages. A prayer delivered under threat of reprisals is not a prayer (unless, of course, you are praying to be free of intimidation).

    Best always
    Brother Ron

    April 16, 2010 at 10:37 am |
  104. Christie Biggs

    Whatever happened to separation of Church and State? I definitely think that a National Day of Prayer would be unconstitutional. Religion is a private affair for those of faith. Those that weren't born with the "faith gene" should never be subjected to religion or prayer in a public setting.

    April 16, 2010 at 10:37 am |
  105. archer Altstaetter

    A "National Day of Prayer" is appauling. Federal recognition of anything that is nonsecular or faith-based goes against everything that the Constitution was written to protect it's citizens from. The separation of church and state should be complete and total.

    April 16, 2010 at 10:37 am |
  106. T. Harris

    Why is it wen people try to do something encouraging and positive other make it seem so wrong.We suppose to be a nation strong on faith..come on America really its time to wake up.Give God his thanks. I think its long over due.

    April 16, 2010 at 10:37 am |
  107. Eric

    It's not a National Catholic Day of Prayer or a National Protestant Day of Prayer – it's not even a MANDATORY Day of Prayer. The gov't is not endorsing a single religious position and should not be condemned for supporting our fundamental constitutional right to religious freedom.

    April 16, 2010 at 10:37 am |
  108. Joe

    Religion must remain separate from government or, otherwise, both eventually corrupt each other. Jesus said: "Render unto Caesar that which is Caesar's, and unto God that which is God's." Clearly this statement means that the two shall not mix.

    April 16, 2010 at 10:39 am |
  109. Anne

    The founding fathers were Deists, not Christians. They did not found this nation on Christian principles, despite what you have learned at your church or privately funded Christian school. They drafted the Constitution with freedom of religion in mind. Yes, it is unconstitutional to have a specific religion endorsed by the government. Why is it not also known as the National Day of Speaking in Tongues? Or of Chanting?

    April 16, 2010 at 10:39 am |
  110. wesley staples

    If I'm not mistaken there is, for very good reason (consider Iran) separation of church and state in this nation. Say it as many times as you will, the country was NOT founded on religious principles. It was founded on secular principles of liberty and civil rights. We elect out leaders, and we have not, to my knowledge elected a particular god for that position. Our founding fathers REJECTED the notion of a national prayer day, outright.

    These anti-government conservatives are welcome to pray as much as they want, as will I......just not in my face, and not on MY dime!

    April 16, 2010 at 10:39 am |
  111. ncooty

    Michael Armstrong, Sr. wrote: "These people move into our country and then try to replace our religion with theres If the ways of there country's was so good then why did they come here ." [sic]

    There it is! It's just not a party until someone breaks out the jingoism and xenophobia.

    Mike, I'm from Texas and I don't want your mysticism in my government, but you can have all you want in your own life.

    April 16, 2010 at 10:41 am |
  112. Benn Gunn

    Unconstitutional and Talibanesque. What has religion wrought? We should pray everyday for the evils wrought by religion and not wait for a government sponsored day of prayer which serves to soothe the conscience of those responsible for Darfur, slow death of Palestinians, 911, Al-Qaeda, pedophile priests etc. which represent the bane of civil society. The religious should paray daily for the evils of religion. Bah and fie!

    April 16, 2010 at 10:42 am |
  113. K Meisel

    Freedom of religion includes freedom FROM religion. The National Day of Prayer is unconstitutional and somewhat offensive to those who do not pray, appeal to a "higher power", or subscribe to any religion.

    By pursuing and observing a National Day of Prayer, the government is wasting tax-payer money and time which could be spent on more pressing issues.

    April 16, 2010 at 10:42 am |
  114. Phil Stasik

    Americans should learn a lesson from the Taliban: church and state must be kept apart for the good of all. Our founding fathers understood this. Our government's observance of the "National Day of Prayer" crosses the line establised by our Constitution, and must end.

    April 16, 2010 at 10:44 am |
  115. James C.

    I am so glad this issue has come to light. A day of national prayer is very presumptuous. Even though it doesn't specify which God to pray to, it assumes that everyone believes in a higher power. If you want to pray, that is totally fine with me. But it should not be a government sponsored event. I'm sure the people on the other side of the argument would be livid if the government had a day of non-prayer.

    April 16, 2010 at 10:45 am |
  116. Ed Sayre

    Hello Tony:
    Quite certainly, the National Day of Prayer violates the establishment clause of the First Amendment. It clearly constitutes an endorsement of a religion; that is not the government's business. Why should we want the government telling us when to pray? We can pray anytime, anywhere we want; we don't need government support. Something else the Founders had in mind with the establishment clause is that no one should be taxed to support a religion, any religion. The Day of Prayer obviously involves government expense supported by tax payers. I don't want to be taxed to support a religion I don't believe in.
    Your question is misleading. No one is saying prayer is unconstitutional. We are just saying that government support of prayer with taxpayer funds is unconstitutional.

    The Congressmen of the First Federal Congress who put this in the Constitution

    April 16, 2010 at 10:45 am |
  117. John Sinclair

    Tony,
    My I remind everyone that are constitution was founded on God's laws and that we had better do all the praying we can, so that he will start blessing this country agin and we can quit selling off the blessed country that he gave us.
    PS they took prayer out of the school's and look what happend !!!!!!!!! .

    JOHN SINCLAIR

    April 16, 2010 at 10:47 am |
  118. Rick

    Tony,
    Many of this great countries original settlers came here escaping religious persecution and seeking freedom to practice their faith. The only way to do this is to create a secular society that keeps religion out of the government so no one religion can bully others. The Founding fathers recognized this right and enshrined it in our constitution. Americans are very spiritual and believe in their faiths, but there is no place for religion in politics besides the voting booth. Otherwise we might as well start calling ourselves IRAN.

    April 16, 2010 at 10:49 am |
  119. David Hutchinson

    It is obvious that individuals can gather and pray together whenever and wherever they wish, provided they do not infringe on the rights or the properties of others without permission.

    It is equally obvious that the constitution prohibits the government itself from participating in the practice of religion or of encouraging the propagation of any religion.

    Members of the government as individuals are free to meet with one another and with other persons in their private capacities and to practice their religiious beliefs.

    We do not needs for the government to encourage any religious belief or practice and there should be no law encouraging the practice of any religious ceremony or belief.

    April 16, 2010 at 10:51 am |
  120. Nancy Willliams

    The federal government is not mandating anything. It is simply designating a day when believers can congregate with other believers they may not know. Local governments designate the places where believers can meet. The only thing the government cannot do is create a law mandating that we observe a certain religion. No law is created here, and we are supposed to be free to exercise our religion. If religion cannot be exercised publicly, some day it will be considered something bad to do. Then the next generations will not believe in God, to their peril. The only thing unconstitutional would be for the government to mandate a specific religion, and that has not been done.

    April 16, 2010 at 10:52 am |
  121. Ron

    I am not a very religious man but do appreciate and understand that our country was founded on religious principles and that a belief in God (whatever God one believes in); and the common goodness of man toward his fellow man, that comes with that belief, was and is the essential thread that our our Founders used to craft the Constitution, the Bill of Rights and our basic way of life to include the justice system.

    We as Americans must recognize and appreciate how our system of government was established and a National Day of Prayer, which is and always been non-secular, should not be taken away from the majority of United States Citizens because of a few (a very few) vocal minority narcissistic, selfish individuals think that just because they don't like and don't want it that everyone else should not like or have it as well!!

    We must keep our National Day of Prayer in place!!

    April 16, 2010 at 10:53 am |
  122. Igor

    I'm an academic in the field of religious studies. I'm not competent to say whether the National Day of Prayer is constitutional or not, but the way it is supposed to be observed is certainly biased towards a Protestant notion of prayer. In Judaism and Islam prayer is a formal prescribed activity, meaning people do not choose when or how to pray, or what to say when they pray. In Hinduism, prayer is the recitation of ancient mantras and hymns and Buddhist prayers are similarly formulaic. Since the NDofP asks people to pray especially for the country and their leaders, it is biased towards religious traditions where people can choose who or what to pray for. As a final note, a large number of synagogues already have a prayer for the country that is recited at Shabbat services on Saturday mornings.

    April 16, 2010 at 10:53 am |
  123. Alison

    Keep the National Day of Prayer. It is not "unconstitutional".

    April 16, 2010 at 10:56 am |
  124. Steve P

    It's fantastic that so many people can clearly see that, while prayer is constitutional, a National Day of Prayer is not – despite the misleading header (thanks Isadora).

    April 16, 2010 at 10:58 am |
  125. Debbie Hicks

    I think that the country needs a National Day of Prayer. As a Christian I believe that we have wandered far enough from God. This country needs to turn back to God for strength. I am offended when someone denys us the right to pray in public, because that is MY freedom. I think it is time to stand up for our Freedom of Religion.

    Thank you

    April 16, 2010 at 10:59 am |
  126. Danny C. from Normal, IL

    Let's get this point clear: just because you pray, doesn't automatically make you a good person. And it seems that a lot of people assume that everyone believes in a Higher Power, saying things like "you can pray to whatever God you believe in." Why are we alienating the millions who identify themselves as Atheists? What part of "Congress shall pass no law respecting an establishment of religion." do you people don't understand?

    April 16, 2010 at 11:05 am |
  127. Dan

    Gerardo, you may want to stop using the US Currency if it goes against your beliefs.
    Secondly, talking about the separation of church and state, something that is really neat is the US Senate opens EACH session with PRAYER (by the way, the US Senate is Government).

    April 16, 2010 at 11:07 am |
  128. jim

    I pray this is not changed. Whether people agree or disagree about this issue, and I can certainly understand both sides, I pray that we as a country WILL continue to seek God's guidance as a whole. It's very obvious that we can use all the help we can get.

    April 16, 2010 at 11:09 am |
  129. P

    Surely any GOOD Christian doesn't need a mandated day of prayer! They can pray 24/7 any where they want to. The point here is they wish to mandate to others who believe differently when, where and how to pray! Are we not in a war in Afganistan fighting against religous oppression! I believe a woman in a previous comment in this regard said it all. " We live in a Democratic country where majority rules." I thought our country and government was to protect the minorities??? I think we better be careful what we wish for.

    April 16, 2010 at 11:10 am |
  130. KCV

    Do the atheists complain when they are given Christmas, Easter and Thanksgiving off? What do you do during these days atheists? If you're not picketing, working, demonstrating or trying to block religious holidays instead of enjoying the day off, please don't speak up now! Why aren't you fighting to have the right to go to work and have those days abolished as well?
    Also, Presidents Day, MLK, Columbus Day (the biggest American fraudulent day), Labor Day, Memorial Day? We don't all agree, but agree you have the right to celebrate what this country was formed on.
    I do think it may make people feel better if it was "National Prayer & Meditation Day" as suggested earlier, but it's sad that people want to fight this.

    April 16, 2010 at 11:12 am |
  131. Harriet L. Chorney

    It is a clear violation of the separation of church and state.

    April 16, 2010 at 11:21 am |
  132. Dan

    Ricardo, as a Christian I know (not think or beleive) your statement above.
    People think the bible is a fairy tale of stories; however, there are only 2 eternal destinations: H_____ and H___.
    Once you pass from this earth, if you don't beleive in JC, you have no 2nd chance. Eternal weeping and nashing of teeth.
    How can I prove the bible is true? How can we prove George Washington was the 1st president, even though none of us was living at that time?
    How can we prove Christopher Columbus discovered America?

    April 16, 2010 at 11:22 am |
  133. Gigi

    Prayer is most certainly NOT unconstitutional! A National Day of Prayer, which does not promote any specific religion or faith practice but which invites all people to pray in their own way and according to the traditions of their own faith is entirely appropriate, especially in a country which was founded and populated by many people who were seeking freedom to worship as they chose! Declaring a National Day of Prayer in no way approximates passing a law establishing a religion. If America forsakes the fundamental virtues and practices of the people who made her a Nation, we shall have made a fatal mistake.

    April 16, 2010 at 11:23 am |
  134. Linda S.

    I want to make a comment to something Vincent from Washington D.C. said. I was born and grew up in the south and never heard or saw anyones home being burned down because they were atheist. He needs to get a life people from the south aren't crazy. Also it's our right as Americans to pray or not to pray. God Bless America.......

    April 16, 2010 at 11:24 am |
  135. Michael Ackerman

    All religion is a farce and does more harm than good. I'm happy anytime I see prayer/religion curtailed.

    April 16, 2010 at 11:24 am |
  136. DH

    No – it's called "separation of church & state." Duh!

    April 16, 2010 at 11:24 am |
  137. Michael in Phoenix

    Yes.

    I do not pray.

    I always wondered why Christmas is a federal holiday when it is a religious holiday.

    April 16, 2010 at 11:24 am |
  138. Toby Record

    Enough said (and I'm secular):

    Matthew 6:6 (King James Version)

    But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly.

    April 16, 2010 at 11:25 am |
  139. bettina Williams

    as long as the government doesn't force people to participate why not? If they had a national atheist or agnostic day that wouldn't bother me either as long as they didn't force me to participate.

    April 16, 2010 at 11:25 am |
  140. RickH

    The Constitution? What is that? Isn't that some old document that used to mean something in this country? I am confused. Do we still use that old thing from time to time?

    April 16, 2010 at 11:25 am |
  141. Casson Scowcroft

    This country should absolutely not have a national day of prayer. The constitution expressly says it should not promote religion. People can pray perfectly well on their own. The Tea partiers should agree with this ruling, keeping the federal government out of people's private lives. But I bet they won't!

    April 16, 2010 at 11:26 am |
  142. Kayla Pugh

    hey Tony I think it is time for Christian to stand up give me a break the national day of prayer uncontitutional their is nobody that is going to tell me i can't give a glory flip I will pray when ever i want to anyday i want to and I don't care what anyboday say they can go sucka egg as big as watermelon.

    April 16, 2010 at 11:26 am |
  143. Terry

    It's a violation of the separation of church and state. A moment of silence might be appropriate but never a day of prayer.

    April 16, 2010 at 11:26 am |
  144. Rob

    Of course it is not unconstitutional to have a National Day of Prayer. Have the athiests actually read the First Amendment? The proclamation of the day does not establish a government-mandated religion neither does it compel anyone to pray. Furthermore, it does not endorse or criticize any particular faith. The President should tell the Attorney General to immediately appeal.

    April 16, 2010 at 11:26 am |
  145. Tyler Pflum

    I don't see what the problem is. No one seems to have a problem with Christmas as a holiday. So why not recognize prayer with a holiday!?

    April 16, 2010 at 11:27 am |
  146. Addie

    Well, it's not like someone's holding a gun to your head and asking you to pray! You still have the freedom to pray in public or in private, to Jesus, Allah or Buddha or to not pray at all, if you wish.

    April 16, 2010 at 11:27 am |
  147. Danny adair

    Our country was built based on church and prayer. I mean the pledge of alligence was unconstituional for no reason along with religion in schools. I don't know why this National Day of Prayer is found unconstitutional it's encouraging people to pray not forcing them.

    April 16, 2010 at 11:27 am |
  148. Emile Guel

    Absolutely NO government directives for prayer !!!
    Most of the world's problems are between religious groups.

    April 16, 2010 at 11:28 am |
  149. Trish Aydlett

    Considering the terrible state of our country, every day should be a national day of prayer; it is for me. The National Day of Prayer is for all religions and I believe it is a great encouragement for all citizens to pray for our country and its leaders.

    April 16, 2010 at 11:28 am |
  150. Fernando

    We often criticize Islamic theocracies in the middle east but we don't follow our own laws on separation of church and state. It is unfair to think everyone in America is religious or that it is the government's responsibility to care for our faith or lack of faith.

    April 16, 2010 at 11:28 am |
  151. Paul

    Anyone that needs the government to tell them when to pray, should go live with the Taliban.

    April 16, 2010 at 11:28 am |
  152. Calico

    One's prayer and religion is a private matter.
    It doesnt need endorsement by the govt, which *IS* unconstitutional.
    I am surprised it has lasted as long as it has.
    This decision pleases me.

    April 16, 2010 at 11:28 am |
  153. Brian Blake

    We do not need a national day of prayer. Let's keep it private.

    April 16, 2010 at 11:28 am |
  154. Leonard

    Yes it is unconstitutional! We need to make sure to keep the separation of church and state. Lets keep religion in churches and politics in Washington the two do not mix.

    April 16, 2010 at 11:28 am |
  155. James attaway

    This is a christian country, contrary to Obama's assertions that it is not and as such we should have a day of prayer. It seems to be legal for Muslims to take a break from work and bow to the east a couple times a day, but now some liberal judge has ruled that it is illegal for all religions, including muslims, to celebrate a day of prayer. How pathetic. What we really need is judges that have read the constitution before they start making decisions.

    April 16, 2010 at 11:28 am |
  156. Foster

    People can pray anytime they wish, I don't see why it needs to be formalized by the government. Yes, this "Nation day of Prayer" does violate the seperation of Church and State and the Judge is correct in her decision. We don't need the government telling us when to pray, I do believe that is why the pilgrams came to the new world to get away from formal religious structure by the government.

    April 16, 2010 at 11:29 am |
  157. Matt Dillon

    If you read the constitution it says religion shall not be enforced by any government faction. The reason this nation was established was to provide the freedom for personal beliefs. And this idea forces people to follow one religion and not their own.

    April 16, 2010 at 11:29 am |
  158. Diana Fraley

    You had better believe all thunder is going to break loose if The National Day of Prayer is changed or not allowed. Our family and friends would be furious. President Obama had BETTER LEAVE IT ALONE.

    April 16, 2010 at 11:29 am |
  159. dave baldwin

    If there was more prayer in this country we would have less problems
    we are not a christian nation anymore ,this is why this country is in the shapeits in.

    April 16, 2010 at 11:29 am |
  160. Rob

    For my athiest friends who have yet to read the actual First Amendment to the United States Constitution, here it goes:

    "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."

    Show me something in the National Day of Prayer declaration that establishes a religion. You can't. And as a bonus, find the words "separation of church and state" in the U.S. Constitution. You also can't find that.

    On the other hand, many of the athiest activists are actually encouraging the government itself to violate the First Amendment by prohibiting the free exercise of religious beliefs by those of us who want to participate in a National Day of Prayer.

    April 16, 2010 at 11:29 am |
  161. JD

    separation of church and state, enough said

    April 16, 2010 at 11:29 am |
  162. Phillip

    I believe prayer answereth all the problem, i will support that as a country we need to continue praying because its not by our power nor wisdom that we are together as United States, things are happenning elswhere but God gives us mercy and I believe its our prayer to see the favour of God, so government shouldnot scapped the praying day. thanks

    April 16, 2010 at 11:30 am |
  163. Louis Coleman

    America was foundeded on a Nation under God. Therefore those who DON"T pray or even believe in God should care less about a national day of prayer. Let them do as they do EVERY DAY just DON"T PRAY. But those of us who do believe in God will continue to!!!

    April 16, 2010 at 11:30 am |
  164. Casson Scowcroft

    Look people, no one is saying you can't or shouldn't pray. We're saying that the government shouldn't tell you when or how. It doesn't matter whether this country was founded on christian principals or not, the constitution makes sure that the government doesn't have anything to do with that.

    April 16, 2010 at 11:30 am |
  165. Chuck

    Of course it is unconstitutional and it is un-American. Our Founders spoke at length about this often. The government has no business promoting religion, in any form whatsoever, or compelling anyone to practice it.

    When a religion is good, I conceive it will support itself; and when it does not support itself, and God does not take care to support it so that its professors are obliged to call for help of the civil power, 'tis a sign, I apprehend, of its being a bad one. - Benjamin Franklin

    April 16, 2010 at 11:30 am |
  166. Nancy

    What's next, do away with Mother's Day and Father's Day because non-parents are offended!! No Thanksgiving because if you aren't thankful for anything..you are offended!!! ENOUGH!!!

    April 16, 2010 at 11:31 am |
  167. Tim G.

    The trend regarding religion in this country for many years is incredibly inane when looked at in light of the truth. God created the planet. He owns it. People are really foolish to persist in refusing to acknowledge that truth. Why not consider the perspective of the Creator Who is infinite in knowledge, perfect in his love for every human being and error-free in His judgment, or decision-making?

    April 16, 2010 at 11:31 am |
  168. MAthew

    One should not be affended. Its your choice for prayer. In the star spangled banner were we tell our young kids in elementary to recite it. It says under God, indivisible. If significant amount of people would like this, allow it.

    April 16, 2010 at 11:31 am |
  169. Samantha

    Everyone seems to conveniently forget that we have a separation of church and state in this country. Everyone of course has a right to pray, but there shouldn't be a government sponsored day of prayer. Religious arguments always come in when they shouldn't, such as with gay marriage. Almost every argument in support of denying these American citizens' rights seems to be religious. Think of another LEGAL argument.

    April 16, 2010 at 11:31 am |
  170. linda

    this country was built on freedom and strong morals, i agreree 100 percent . why we are on the subject, keep in god we trust in the money too.

    April 16, 2010 at 11:31 am |
  171. rt gelesky

    This "National Day of Prayer," is in direct violation of the constitution and should not be endorsed by any president. The United States was not formed as a "Christian Nation," but as a secular one. And for all those who disagree with that notion, look at Thomas Jefferson. Like him or hate him, he was one of the founding fathers of our nation who was not particularly religious. If the people want a "day of prayer" that is fine, but it should not be recognized by our government.

    April 16, 2010 at 11:32 am |
  172. Kevin

    This judge obviously does not know his history. On March 30th 1863 President Abraham Lincoln signed into law a National Day of Prayer. If it was good enough for President Lincoln and the United States back then, I don't see why we should stop now. A National Day of Prayer is nothing but Constitutional and to suggest anything otherwise would be and is un-American.

    April 16, 2010 at 11:32 am |
  173. Trevor Robinson

    I couldn't care less concerning a 'day of prayer', be it sponsored by the Catholic Church, the Church of Scientology, or a Muslim Mosque. A Government endorsed 'day of prayer' is blatant disrespect for the constitution regardless of a lack of specific religion: "church and state are separate, the effects are happy, and they do not at all interfere with each other...". If a change need be, let it be so, but ignoring such a statement is unpresidential of the Obama administration.

    April 16, 2010 at 11:32 am |
  174. Steven Lawrence

    Our government is not "TELLING" us citizens what to do here. A person does have to "pray" on the national day of prayer. In very much the same way that a person does not have to be "gay' on gay pride day, or whatever. A national day of prayer is, at least, a necessary reminder that the United States was founded on faith, and the freedom to express that faith or not. To fight for government rulings about non-punitive matters of expression is a fight for oppression and is absurd.

    April 16, 2010 at 11:33 am |
  175. Casson Scowcroft

    I was born and raised in the US. I do not pray and I don't want my government telling me that I should. The lack of religion should be protected just as much as the right to believe, whether you like it or not.

    April 16, 2010 at 11:33 am |
  176. john hickson

    Anyone who wishes to grovel to the invisible person in the sky should certainly be encouraged to do so. But making it a" National" observance is both offensive to and dismissive of a very large minority group in the country.

    April 16, 2010 at 11:33 am |
  177. Christopher Coco

    Yes, praying can be unconstitutional. The government is to remain neutral in all things religious. One reason, the government represents all citizens equally, if the government takes sides with one group over another group that is taking sides, therefore unconstitutional.
    This country has citizens who are Atheist and they are equal citizens with the same rights as all citizens.
    We do not need government reducing these citizens to second class or no class.

    April 16, 2010 at 11:33 am |
  178. Chris Thomas

    Another group sitting around seeing what kind of power they have and how much money they can make (from donations). This is an issue that should never had made it to the courts. And, yes, if you rule that unconstitutional then you we would have to rule every religious holiday out. Sounds like an another abuse of the constitution. Maybe there should be an amendment to exclude separation of church & state when it comes to holidays. Or maybe amend to remove it altogether.

    April 16, 2010 at 11:34 am |
  179. Dave S. Zuk

    I am against a national day of prayer; and I am for the federal court's ruling. The right wing conservatives are pro-prayer and pro-live; but they are also pro-war and pro-casualities; they are pro-anything that increases profits, and yes, prayer increases their profits – if it didn't, they would be against it. The conservatives are also pro-life; but they are anti-welfare.
    They are anti food for the poor. They are anti health care for the poor. They are anti help for the children of mothers who are denied choice.

    April 16, 2010 at 11:34 am |
  180. Q. Moore

    Seriously, war, recession, jobs, disunity in every sector of our society and we are spending energy arguing over "prayer." Prayer is basically humanity's acknowledgement of it's own limitations. Doesn't common sense imply that we could spend a moment, in a show of unity that together we could look beyond our individual selves for help?

    I am so exhausted by these types debates that are only meant to polarize people against each other...

    May God help us to Love one another

    Q

    April 16, 2010 at 11:34 am |
  181. Harry Campbell

    A National Day of Prayer is NOT unconstitutional! This country was founded on Christian principles. The direction our society has been taking tells us we need more prayer in this country, not less. Our National Day of Prayer does not require anyone to pray according to any particular religion, nor does it require anyone to pray at all. If you don't want to pray, just shut so the rest of us can pray in quiet.

    April 16, 2010 at 11:34 am |
  182. |N'R| BEALL

    to pray means to think, it is written to pray continually, and Christ who said he is the bread of life, said to break bread, and to do it in remembrance of him.

    This means to think continually, to share life, to keep 'the truth' always in mind.

    so a national day of sharing thoughts with each other keeping things that are true in mind unconstitutional?

    you tell me, why does there even need to be a law?

    April 16, 2010 at 11:35 am |
  183. Kevin

    This judge obviously does not know her history. On March 30th 1863 President Abraham Lincoln signed into law a National Day of Prayer. If it was good enough for President Lincoln and the United States back then, I don't see why we should stop now. A National Day of Prayer is nothing but Constitutional and to suggest anything otherwise would be and is un-American.

    April 16, 2010 at 11:35 am |
  184. Elvia M. Chalmers

    Please invite guests that know the constitution and have read original documents of the founding fathers to discuss the "separation of church and state". All of my studies of original documents, not "revised" documents from history books, indicate that the founding fathers intended there to be a display of religion in the public square.

    Actually thy came to America to be able to worship in public and not as dictated by the government. A national day of prayer does not dictate prayer to all, but offers an opportunity from your busy schedule to pray collectively for the nation, those of us who CHOOSE to and would like to gather with others. It's a way to communicate the day not a dictation of the day.

    April 16, 2010 at 11:35 am |
  185. EBENEZER, Los angeles

    According to establisment clause; it is unconstitutional. America will fall if they should forsake God. I wonder why eveil is being allowed to dictate to majority. This constitution framer establish this country in the name of God. There is nothing wrong with prayer; but if it's national nude day, nobody will complain. I just pray this country won't be soddom and gomorrah. May God help our weakness.

    April 16, 2010 at 11:35 am |
  186. Cameron

    The constitution protects both freedom of religion and freedom from religion.

    No one is preventing prayer of any kind. I constantly here conservatives complaining about Government interference in their personal lives, but somehow now they want it?

    April 16, 2010 at 11:35 am |
  187. Steven Lawrence

    Our government is not "TELLING" us citizens what to do here. A person does have to "pray" on the national day of prayer. In very much the same way that a person does not have to be "gay' on gay pride day, or whatever. A national day of prayer is, at least, a necessary reminder that the United States was founded faith, and the freedom to express that faith or not. To fight for government rulings about non-punitive matters is a fight for oppression and is absurd.

    April 16, 2010 at 11:35 am |
  188. Michael Robinson

    I don't think that prayer should be unconstitutional, I do however think that it should be left for the individual and not for the group to decide when/if they want to pray. Having a national day of prayer is silly since those who do believe in the "creator" do it daily, and those of us who choose not to believe should not have to be pushed into accepting something that we don't believe, government is supposed to remain neutral in order to protect everyones social liberties not just one groups.

    April 16, 2010 at 11:36 am |
  189. Michael Best

    I'm sure all of us atheists hail this long- overdue decision. Those of you who have been indoctrinated since birth in a religious tradition have no right to cram your religiosity down the throats of us who do not share your view of things. The "under god" in the Pledge should likewise be abolished, along with "in god we trust" on our money.

    I live by the voice of reason, not a belief in imaginary entities.

    The Constitution guarantees that just because you may be in the majority, our rights may not be trampled. Separation of church and state exists so that people like me do not have to endure the insecurities of those who need supernaturality to validate themselves.

    April 16, 2010 at 11:37 am |
  190. Donald

    Our forefathers understood how religion can be used as an instrument to coerce people to act and think the way they want. The best way to guard against this bias is to hold firm to the separation of church and state. Thanks to our founding fathers, the United States is a secular country. They left religious domination back in Europe.

    April 16, 2010 at 11:37 am |
  191. Sarah Stockwell

    Although, prayer is more strictly defined as, "a connection with a greater power." Personally, I find prayer just a part of positive thinking and not specifically focused to some higher power, thus not a religious practice. Why not dedicate one day per year in which people recognize positive thinking or prayer or simply self reflection. We can be divided in our religious perspectives, but it would be nice if we as a nation could be untied through whatever positive thinking that could take place in one day each year. Therefore, no I do not find a day of prayer unconstitutional because of the way I view, "day of prayer." However, if, "day of prayer," is offensive to some people I believe there are two choices, amend the title of the day to something such as, "day of reflection," or people could just amend the way they think of the day to personal fit their beliefs. Either way, I believe our country could benefit from a day in which we all are thinking positive thoughts towards one another, a greater power, or just becoming better people in and of ourselves.

    April 16, 2010 at 11:37 am |
  192. Jeff

    I applaud the decision that leaves prayer as a matter of individual choice and not a government objective supporting, and promoted by, organized religion. We need to recognize that they myriad of problems that we face today will only be solved by rational thought and reason, and not by mindless unproductive prayer. The brainwashing that is represented by the religious right needs to be replaced by a pragmatic approach to treating each other humanely and working towards solving the worlds many problems, which so far, God has failed to address.

    April 16, 2010 at 11:37 am |
  193. Nancy

    The Constitution of the United States of America says...Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.
    The part after the OR seems to be left out when the first part is quoted so often.

    April 16, 2010 at 11:38 am |
  194. Quantis from San Francisco

    Religion is constantly being forced down our throats. It doesn't matter if most of the country practices religion on some level, this nation was founded partially based on the pursuit of religious freedom and the separation of church and state. The founding fathers made it clear on both fronts. Everyone is free to practice religion in this country and no one is trying to stop that. As a nation we observe many Judeo-Christian holidays and traditions...at some point enough is enough before we run the risk of becoming a religious state like Iran. Believers relax, I'm sure your gods prefer that you prayed everyday, not just the nationally designated ones.

    April 16, 2010 at 11:38 am |
  195. Steven Lawrence

    Our government is not "TELLING" us citizens what to do here. A person does NOT have to "pray" on the national day of prayer. In very much the same way that a person does not have to be "gay' on gay pride day, or whatever. A national day of prayer is, at least, a necessary reminder that the United States was founded faith, and the freedom to express that faith or not. To fight for government rulings about non-punitive matters is a fight for oppression and is absurd.

    April 16, 2010 at 11:38 am |
  196. Dennis

    I think this country hasbetter things to worry about !!!! THIS COUNTRY WAS STARTED WITH THE BELIEF IN GOD, That's why they put ( IN GOD WE TRUST ) on our money ! The war, the homeless in the USA and other big thing to worry about. WHEN THEY PUT OUT THE DOLLAR COIN WITHOUT THE WORDS ( IN GOD WE TRUST) i think it was a major slap in the face to the country.

    April 16, 2010 at 11:40 am |
  197. Jim Somerville

    Many of the people who oppose the dropping of The Day of Prayer seem to be acting as though their rights of prayer are being infringed upon. Which isn't the case.

    Citing the first amendment directly:

    "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof . . ."

    So can we derive from this that indeed dropping the day of prayer is not prohibiting any sort of prayer, it is simply not endorsing belief in a higher power which indeed is not necessary for our continued existence as American citizens.

    Additionally I've seen a few people speaking of the use of the term God on money and whatnot. This was fostered in a period in which fear gripped the nation in regards to the "red threat". It was a mistake used to pacify a set of Americans that no longer need this type of unity. We can better unite better as Americans rather than as Christians or any other demographic.

    April 16, 2010 at 11:40 am |
  198. Diane

    "I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should 'make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,' thus building a wall of separation between Church & State." – Thomas Jefferson"

    No law respecting an ESTABLISHMENT of religion or PROHIBITING FREE EXCERSISE........... just means what is says. Government cannot CONTROL who what or where the people can can practice their faith. Our Supreme Court judges are stripping our constitution into something that is not. What their interpretation of it is. It is being abused by these officials who need to go back and study what our country was built on. This judge ruling is unconstitutional. Is Christmas, Easter Hanika Good Friday uncostitutional.?

    “It is impossible to rightly govern a nation without God and the Bible.” George Washington"

    “[July 4th] ought to be commemorated as the day of deliverance by solemn acts of devotion to God Almighty.”
    –John Adam"

    April 16, 2010 at 11:40 am |
  199. Ryan

    "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof"

    A public prayer day is clearly in violation of the first amendment.
    These kind of events slip into our society because religion is still a powerful political tool. Those who do not agree are always scorned by society and ignored.

    The absence of public prayer does not prevent you from praying, but its presence forces me to deviate from societal norms and makes me an outcast.

    April 16, 2010 at 11:40 am |
  200. Steve

    I think that a national day of goodwill would do more good that a national day of prayer to any "god". I prayed for freedom twenty years but received no answer until I prayed with my legs – Frederick Douglas Give a man a fish, and you'll feed him for a day; give him a religion, and he'll starve to death while praying for a fish. – Anonymous

    April 16, 2010 at 11:41 am |
  201. Jean Staten

    Yes, I think we could do with the National Day of Prayer. We all could use a reminder that God has given us all we have. America was founded with God's input. We should acknowledge God, always.

    April 16, 2010 at 11:41 am |
  202. Tony

    The more we continue to separate ourselves from God the worst we get. For example look at our schools. As soon as prayer was removed look at how much violence we now have. This is a simple battle between good and evil and evil is winning because this society has become blind and ignores the principles this country was founded on. We need a National Day of Prayer every month, if not daily so that God can forgive us for turning our backs to Him.

    April 16, 2010 at 11:42 am |
  203. T.M

    I wonder if all the people complaining about a government sanctioned National Day of Prayer complain about a government back holiday such as oh let me think Christmas. Or perhaps a more recent one Easter. I can hardly see these same people complaining about getting a few days off of work when religion comes to question but let it be a day of simple prayer and oh yes go to work and all gloves are off. If all you people truly want a separation of church and state think about the fun times you had around a tree with presents or in a field collecting colorful eggs filled with goodies.

    April 16, 2010 at 11:42 am |
  204. Phil Hohenstein

    I believe that any organized religious groups should be able to perform rituals, ceremonies, and prayers, as long as all members are participating under their own free will and nobody gets hurt. I also feel that a country that seperates church and state provides more freedom and happiness for all of its citizens. If people want to pray let them pray, but I think that any government involvement will cause more harm than good. If people feel that they need government validation of their religion they had better start questioning their faith. The reason many of our ancestors came to this great country was to believe what they wanted to, not what they were told to, furthermore trust in government will be compromised because of a public display of religious favoritism.

    April 16, 2010 at 11:43 am |
  205. Alexandra

    The majority of the american people have a religion....been christian, buddist, jehova witness, muslim, catholic, etc. I'm pretty sure that a special day to observe pray will be more than welcome for the millions of people that believe in IT. Remember the power of pray in every day....Those that do not want it (and look for an excuse to not have it).....just take the day off and stay in your house!!!!

    April 16, 2010 at 11:43 am |
  206. Wayne Moser

    Tony,
    We cannot base this country on material things. Helping neighbors, friends, and family is key to this world. This has been given to us from the love of Christ. Based on prophesy, Jesus Christ has given us all things seen and useen. Just to keep it short, this world cannot survive without prayer and yes this one day is still not enough and HOPE they don't take that away.

    April 16, 2010 at 11:43 am |
  207. Maxine Schnitzer

    While prayer itself is not unconstitutional, I think a government sanctioned National Day of Prayer is! I imagine the religious faithful don't need the government to tell them when to pray and I'm certain the non-religious do not. There has to be room in this country for everyone and a National Day of Prayer only serves to promote religious faith and excludes those Americans who do not subscribe to religious faith.

    April 16, 2010 at 11:44 am |
  208. David Nelson

    The government should have no say in how, when, where or why I or anyone else chooses to pray (or not to pray). Prayer is by nature an intensely private act to be conducted in the heart, not in the public forum. Any Christians who support government-sponsored prayer would do well to heed the teaching of their founder: "When thou prayest, enter into thy closet,and when thou hast shut the door, pray to thy Father which is in secret (Matthew 6:6).

    David
    Santa Barbara, CA

    April 16, 2010 at 11:44 am |
  209. Rob

    The National Day of Prayer doesn't have to endorse a specific religion to be unconstitutional people.

    "This is a CHOICE not a DEMAND. And it doesn't constitute WHO you are praying to. You can pick your god."- Lindsey

    I am an ATHEIST. I pick no god and that is the point. By having a National Day of Prayer, the government is endorsing the idea that there IS a god when, I believe, there is not. Why are your beliefs that there is a god or gods superior to mine? This ruling is trying to adhere to the constitution and level the playing field by having the government STAY OUT of the issue entirely, by not saying that belief in gods is better or worse than non-belief.

    "No one is telling you What God you have to pray to, you can pray to a rock if it suits your religion. This is not unconsitutional, in fact in my understanding, it is the very definition of religious freedom."- Sheri

    I am an ATHEIST. I have no religion. What about my freedom to have no religion?

    Also, to some of these other issue: Yes, prayer in school is unconstitutional. Yes, "in God we trust" being on currency is unconstitutional. Yes, "under God" in the Pledge of Allegiance is unconstitutional. It is just a matter of time before it is all recognized as so. It may take 100 years but I truly hope that eventually myself, and people like me, will treated as equal citizens.

    April 16, 2010 at 11:44 am |
  210. Blair

    A National Day of Prayer is fine as long as it's treated like National Bubblegum Day or National Tooth Fairy Day; that is, observed as one sees fit in one's own private life, or together by groups that choose to partake.

    It is not fine if it is recognized, promoted, or celebrated by the Federal Government, as it is a "day" inherently based on religion.

    April 16, 2010 at 11:45 am |
  211. D.E. Wolfe

    I am amazed that you could discuss a court ruling on the constitutionality of government-sponsored prayer without mentioning the constitution. The issue of the history of the National Day of Prayer is secondary to its constitutionality.

    April 16, 2010 at 11:45 am |
  212. sherell

    The national day of prayer is no more unconstitutional than George Washingtons Birthday. We have a day to celebrate that. It is a chose, celebrate or don't. God gave us a chose.I don't see anyone taken away all the Government celebrated days that don't have to do with God.

    April 16, 2010 at 11:45 am |
  213. Brainfire

    Wow, how can 1 Judge Ban our Natl Day of Prayer? Is this supposed to be a Natl Ban or just a local ban? With all the problems we are having as a nation is a voluntary day of pray really threaten anyone or anything?

    I wish America would grow-up as a nation and stop being so juvenile and schizophrenic.

    April 16, 2010 at 11:47 am |
  214. Sara Murrieta

    Prayer Day should be allowed to remain on the national calendar, the same way holidays are on the calendar. People are invited to participate. No one is forced to participate.

    April 16, 2010 at 11:47 am |
  215. Joyce

    Firs t of all DUMP THIS JUDGE!

    The people of this country are saddened by these judges who are NON Christians in a CHRISTIAN COUNTRY.

    Keep the faith and National Day of Prayer!

    April 16, 2010 at 11:48 am |
  216. Doug Grinnell

    It's unconstitutional, and it's about time a judge had the guts to say so. We need more judges like that.

    April 16, 2010 at 11:48 am |
  217. Michelle P

    Our Country was founded on God laws. Just about every law in the law books is from the Bible. On our dollar bill it says "In God We Trust"Oh maybe they meant Satan! You know when 911 happened the media allowed prime time shows to be interrupted to have nation wide prayer. You can't use God when ever there is a tragedy and then when he heals our country we act like we don't need Him. The leaders of this country are leading those who are ignorant to God commands straight to hell( Sodom and Gomorrah) The people entrusted to create laws are more afraid of there statue quo than they are of the Creater!

    God Bless America

    April 16, 2010 at 11:48 am |
  218. Dolores Rothwell

    No, prayer is not unconstitutional, but a National Day of Prayer is. What is being pushed now is not what President Truman enacted. The so-called christian religious right does not understand Amendment I of the Constitution and would like to force their creator and religious beliefs on all others. They also bring up the Pledge of Allegiance at every turn but don't seem to realize that the phrase "one nation under god" was added during the McCarthy era. "In God We Trust" was added to currency after the Civil War. A little history lesson is in order here. What is more important is the fact that we are a Nation of many religions and they are not being respected by this group. Why can't these people worship quietly in their own homes, under a tree, or in their religious institutions? Let's end the National Day of Prayer.

    April 16, 2010 at 11:48 am |
  219. Gregg Miesch

    The US government has always supported prayer. Since the beginning, congress has opened each session with prayer. If we want to know what the framers of the constitution wanted and meant, we need only to look at how sessions of government were conducted in those early days. This is why the the constitution refers to freedom "of" religion, not freedom "from" religion. The question of God was never a question. The judge needs a refresher course in government history.

    April 16, 2010 at 11:49 am |
  220. Michael in Phoenix

    @Tyler Pflum
    Hate to tell you this but some of us do have a problem with Christmas. There is just nothing we can do. If there is such a thing as separation of church and state why is there a Christmas tree in the white house every December? I am not Christian why should my tax dollars go to decorating the White House or any other government building? This is a Christian country and full of selfish hypocrites who only see their point of view. The reason for the separation of church and state is obvious. I want you to imaging that you must pray 5 times a day by law. Next they say you are a woman so you must wear a veil when in public. Wait you are a woman the bible says you should serve man so you cannot work anymore or get an education. It is in the bible. I think you see where this is going.

    April 16, 2010 at 11:49 am |
  221. Stephen Rhoades

    It is unwise to restrict the freedom of a majority for the personal preference of a minority. Prayer is a religious and spiritual institution that is for the betterment of humanity.
    The Freedom From Religion Foundation by nature is against religion and against religious rights. This nation is religious and to deny religious thought and expression by our own government is unconstitutional. It is comparable to someone who hates chocolate ice cream telling everyone that the flavor should be banned. Liberty not restriction is the American motto.

    April 16, 2010 at 11:49 am |
  222. Dianne

    i wish everyone would understand that the constitution states freedom OF religion, not freedom FROM religion. I cannot believe that we are considering doing away with nation prayer day. I don't think our governement spends any money promoting this day. It truly is a sad way we have gone in this nation. Our children are disrespectful because schools cannot teach values and most certainly most children do not get taught at home. I cannot see anything wrong with having a national prayer day for everyone to remember where they came from and to honor that, no matter what they believe.

    April 16, 2010 at 11:50 am |
  223. Lynne

    If that group wants Freedom from Religion they already have it. This is a free country and they don't have to acknowledge the day. That is why this country is great. No one will insist that they have to pray on the national day of prayer. Why does this group feel that they have to impose their will on those of us who believe in a higher being and get some judge with no guts to agree with them. That judge should have told them they don't have to acknowledge the national day of prayer and to go home and get a life.

    April 16, 2010 at 11:50 am |
  224. Jim

    Divisive issues such as separating church and state can never be successfully mediated so long as ignorance monopolizes the debate. It is clearly in the nature of theism to attempt to force it's way in where it is not welcome or does not belong. Ignorance has been the theistic tool of choice for thousands of years. Fortunately, there are those with the courage and the resources to push theism back into the personal arena where it truly belongs.

    April 16, 2010 at 11:51 am |
  225. Christine Martinez

    This world is in bad shape between the earthquakes, war, famine, diseases, and hatred around the world. We need as much prayer as possible, in fact, we need much more than just one day. If the judge doesn't want to pray, that is up to her. But, leave our freedom to pray alone. Our country was built on the saying "God be with us" but, without prayer, we are only drifting away from the very foundation that once made this country so great. "One nation under God, indivisible, with Liberty and Justice for all". God bless us all.

    April 16, 2010 at 11:51 am |
  226. Godwin

    There is no power or authority on this earth that should prevent anyone from praying. If prayer does not work for you, then, don't pray. Leave others alone. Prayer works for them. It is my right as a citizen of this country that was founded under the Christian principles to pray. This is God's earth. There is only One Judge, God, through Jesus Christ.

    April 16, 2010 at 11:53 am |
  227. Elvia M. Chalmers

    Tony,

    I would appreciate guests to the program who have studied the constitution and can share with all of us their perspectives on "separation of church and state". I definitely would like to hear from guests who have read original documents, not just revised history books.

    It is my opinion that the founding fathers intended a public debate and display re: religion as well as other issues. That's what a free society is. Please "keep us honest" by discussing the original documents and correspondence among the founding fathers.

    April 16, 2010 at 11:53 am |
  228. Ann

    The National Day of Prayer is no more unconstitutional than the designation of Martin Luther King Day or Lee/Jackson Day, Black History Month, etc. as it is the American RIGHT of freedom of speech/action to celebrate or not celebrate that in which we believe.

    April 16, 2010 at 11:58 am |
  229. Michael in Phoenix

    @jim

    Well said, Thank you

    April 16, 2010 at 11:58 am |
  230. Bruce Van Natta

    The founding fathers had it right: separation of church and state. Those who subscribe to religion can pray away– in private. Furthermore, the non-believers don't ask for a national day of nonbelief.

    April 16, 2010 at 11:59 am |
  231. Dan Thompson

    Our constitution and the very fiber of our government was founded on Christian principles. I think that we should most definitely continue to have a day set aside for national recognition of prayer. It certainly cannot hurt. I want everyone to know that I am a Democrat, and support our president 100%. One can be a Democrat and still go to Heaven. The day we stop supporting prayer, and become a pagan nation, will be the day that the Lord forgets His people!!! I just hope that this gets reversed!!!! Come quickly Lord Jesus!

    April 16, 2010 at 12:01 pm |
  232. Ashley Ayers

    First Amendment of the Constitution: (1) Congress shall make no law respecting an establishmen of religion, (2) OR PROHIBITING THE FREE EXERCISE THEREOF...
    1. Is it a law that everyone is required to pray on the National Day of Prayer? If you don't want to pray, then don't pray. No one is forcing you.
    2. This is a clear violation of the constitution. Prayer is the most powerful thing we have and the bible calls us to pray together as a nation. If you take that right away from us, then the first clause of the First Amendment has been violated. Simple as that.

    April 16, 2010 at 12:01 pm |
  233. BW

    What part of separation of church and State do people not understand? Most of the world's ills are directly caused by organized religion – wars, persecutions, deaths, destruction, molestations (see the Catholic Church for this one), etc...Almost ALL of the horrible atrocities committed in this world can be attributed to religion and religious fanatics. This is one of the primary reasons as to WHY we in America have such a separation of church and State – to protect people from the persecutions of the church. Without that protection, we're all as good as dead.

    April 16, 2010 at 12:01 pm |
  234. Jackson

    I'm sick to death of all the flag waving patriotic bible thumpers who are convinced we all should blindly believe in their all powerful loving sky daddy. Most of whom have been indoctrinated from birth, are effectively ignorant and afraid to look under the hood of their obviously silly and patently stupid belief system. Those of us who tolerate religion and foolishly let it be promoted on our currency and numerous other governmental functions are dumbfounded that so many people cling to such foolishness in the 21 century in a country that claims to have a good educational system.

    April 16, 2010 at 12:02 pm |
  235. L J

    I think the problem they'll run into here is the right of the individual – President or no – to free speech; e.g. the right to vocally endorse whatever he chooses. The institutions of religion will continue to call (loudly) for a national day of prayer, and so long as they do, I don't think any court can stop individual members of the government from endorsing it. Though a proclamation may be out, I think a verbal nod of lesser obvious intent couldn't be constitutionally stamped out.

    April 16, 2010 at 12:02 pm |
  236. Nileya Nettles

    i believe in prayer. i believe things will get better. everybody needs it and patience. Suprises come and go but things in life gets better each day in my life. we need this day. people around the world should stop and have faith. im not perfect but i need prayer and i have confidence in my faith.... life will improve for us all. there is a plan i believe in and i pray that it all will be better and with faith our world will get better. God is always good to us, we should never doubt him. have faith, dont be afraid. i believe. YOU SHOLD TOO.

    April 16, 2010 at 12:05 pm |
  237. Judy White

    Anything to do with religion such as the Day of national prayer is not unconstitutional, It angers me that they wil allow gays to marry but take away our rights to pray, what is wrong with this picture? Why are we so determine to get our God angry?

    April 16, 2010 at 12:05 pm |
  238. Julia Sharma

    We definitely need a day of prayer. I'm not sure a day will be enough. I think it can be constitutional if it doesn't require it and is not limited to any specific religion. Maybe if people really prayed more they might realize how distorted our priorities have become...money before people.

    April 16, 2010 at 12:05 pm |
  239. Michael in Phoenix

    I and many others do not believe in religion so a national pray day would have the government endorsing religion. The government cannot endorse a single religion or all of them. They should just stay out of it all together.

    April 16, 2010 at 12:07 pm |
  240. sentry99

    I think that it's unconstitutional. Isn't there a clause in the U.S. constitution that prohibits government from establishing religion? I don't see how you can draw a distinction between that prohibition and this proposal, as far as I'm concerned, both fall in the same camp.

    April 16, 2010 at 12:08 pm |
  241. Rebekah C.

    People are making a big stink about mixing prayer and the government. It is and always will be an integral part of the U.S. govt. The House of Representatives and Senate have had chaplains open sessions daily ever since 1789.

    April 16, 2010 at 12:08 pm |
  242. andrew

    This country was founded by religious men. Prayer is a big part of that. No one religion is specified. Having god resume more of a role in this country might do us all some good.

    April 16, 2010 at 12:08 pm |
  243. Mike

    How is prayer that is practiced by many citizens and recognized by the federal government in the National Prayer Day unconstitutional when the government is not establishing a religions but recognizes that people pray.

    April 16, 2010 at 12:09 pm |
  244. Steve

    I think one of the problems with this country is that too many people rely on their belief that we are somehow protected by a supreme being.

    I contend that we are both atheists. I just believe in one fewer god than you do. When you understand why you dismiss all the other possible gods, you will understand why I dismiss yours.
    -Stephen Henry Roberts

    If everyone were more willing to help each other out instead of praying for help, this country and the world could be more peaceful.

    April 16, 2010 at 12:11 pm |
  245. Nileya Nettles

    I am looking forward to national prayer day as well my entire community and people in the world i inspire. We would be hurt if this day is taken away. There should be no lawsuit against him for this at all. We all will be united and pray together on this day. The world needs this.

    April 16, 2010 at 12:12 pm |
  246. Dominick Giordano

    The US Constitution guarantees religious freedom to every individual. It also prohibits the Government from establishing, fostering, favoring or otherwise endorsing or encouraging any religion. A declaration, by the government, of a national day of prayer violates the spirit, if not the letter, of the law. The word "God" does not appear in the Constitution and therefore, it cannot be said or claimed that this nation was founded upon the recognition of, belief in or reliance upon "God". To argue that a national day of prayer merely affords every citizen the opportunity to pray is specious. Each citizen has that right individually but a declaration to that effect makes government a participant.

    April 16, 2010 at 12:13 pm |
  247. James

    Issues like these really burn my chowder. State endorsed same-sex marriages exist because they don't infringe or impede the rights of others... So how does a national prayer day do something to hurt atheists? Are they really that offended. I can't imagine it bothering anybody that much.
    The constitution has to be taken in context and the separation of church and state was meant to prevent a greedy state sponsored religion from taking advantage of the people, abusing civil rights, or pushing its own politics- all things that the church of England and Roman church have had a history of. Not to protect atheists.

    Nowhere does it say that in the US you have the right to not be offended. Heck I am offended everyday. Suck it up.

    April 16, 2010 at 12:13 pm |
  248. Duana

    The bible says, " to pray without ceasing." As children of God we know to do this already. What the government should be doing is putting the prayer back in school.

    April 16, 2010 at 12:13 pm |
  249. Barrie

    Hurrah for a judge displaying some guts, and reading the constitution correctly. As a country which is secular and beholden to no particular religion, or religion in general, we should not be persuaded by our government to believe or not believe in religious ideas. This is a personal choice, and we all have the right to believe as we wish...that is the greatness of the U,S.A. I understand the fact that we do not have to celebrate this national prayer day, but it does say that the government wants you to believe. I choose not to believe–my choice, and just as valid, albeit a minority, as those who believe. Government should stay out of it.

    April 16, 2010 at 12:14 pm |
  250. Christine Martinez

    Sorry, Bruce Van Natta in case you can't tell there is not one day that goes by that there isn't killing or destruction somewhere in this world. So I believe there needs to be prayer in private, but should also be recognized for our future generations. The non-believers can just exist like they do and think they don't have to answer to a higher power, but sorry one day EVERYONE is going to meet God and have to explain their life and those prayers would of come in handy.

    April 16, 2010 at 12:15 pm |
  251. joan Mills

    We should not have a day of prayer. I understand that one does not have to participate if one does not want to. But you then are identifying yourself as an unbeliever. Just because one is a politician one should not have to identify their religion or non-religion. I believe in free speech and freedom from religion.

    April 16, 2010 at 12:16 pm |
  252. mary

    It seems lately that all we (the citizens of one United States) do is create things that will fracture us. Oh how far we've come from the fellow-feeling that united us after 9-11.

    We have a constitution that guarantees *everybody* the freedom the pray in any way we see fit, including not pray at all - what a great, all-encompassing concept. How do we accomplish that? By not having the government involved in our personal religions. Then we have people who for some reason feel that the government *should* get involved in our religious preferences by declaring a day of prayer. I've no doubt that these same people would take offense if the President decided to say a prayer in a religion they think is not a "right-thinking" religion.

    There are already national holidays that lend themselves to prayerfulness if one chooses - Thanksgiving or Veteran's Day come to mind. But even if there were not, a national prayer day is totally unnecessary. It purposely excludes people who don't have a religion (who by the way are Americans also) but it should embarass religious people - shouldn't every one of your days be a day of prayer? A *private* day of prayer?

    Bravo to the judge who interpreted the constitution correctly and shame on President Obama for supporting this blatant commingling of church and state and excluding a significant number of Americans to boot.

    April 16, 2010 at 12:16 pm |
  253. sue

    Nobody said American citizens of faith can't participate in a day of prayer, only that the government cannot endorse it. I think that is a fair and necessary judgment to protect the rights of those Americans who do not believe in a deity. And it's constitutional.

    April 16, 2010 at 12:18 pm |
  254. Joe

    National prayer day unconstitutional? What's next, Christmas and Easter too, even Hanukkah? This is totally wrong. Our forefathers must be turning in their graves. Freedom of Religion does not mean taking away our religious rights.

    April 16, 2010 at 12:20 pm |
  255. L. Pardue

    Religious folks can pray anytime they want. They don't need the endorsement of the government. Keep church and state separate, as our founders intended. This ruling is long overdue.

    April 16, 2010 at 12:22 pm |
  256. Fran Phillips

    We were silent when prayer was taken out of schools-Things has gone down hill every since. I'm speaking out now – This country needs prayer – The Nationa Day of Prayer should remain!

    April 16, 2010 at 12:23 pm |
  257. morris

    It is unconstitutional when someone feels coerced to pray in a school or public office situation. 2 instances:

    -school children are not on equal footing with adults who impose a prayer time and face ostracizing if they do not participate.

    -adults who feel pressure to conform to a prayer time in a work place, lest they be penalized.

    April 16, 2010 at 12:25 pm |
  258. Deirdre Malon retired Military Chaplain

    As a now retired "Christian" Military Chaplain I continue to hold to the pluralistic principle of freedom in religion. If America is to continue to be a "free nation" I believe this Nation is required to respect the freedom of religion of all faiths and the lack there of. The National Day of Prayer is a pluralistic observance of prayer to one's own God/Higher Power. If the Freedom From Religion Foundation has a constitutional right not to have a National Day of Prayer, then Constitutionally persons who believe in God/ a Higher Power have a right to have a National Day of Prayer. If the Freedom From Religion Foundation objects to a day of prayer they can simply ignore the day. Will they in the future deny this Nation of Christmas, Hanukkah or Ramadan? This is my personal opinion and in no reflects the Military.

    April 16, 2010 at 12:26 pm |
  259. Anne Bishop

    Separation of Church and State: The State cannot tell us how or when or where to pray. That does not mean that we cannot have a National Day of Prayer – one does not have to participate. It is not saying Catholic, Jewish, Muslim, Protestant, Buddhist day of prayer. A little more prayer in this country might help famililes stay together, children not to be abused, abortions to be unusual instead of the norm, murders not to be a resort. I hope every one in this country who has any belief will pray on the National Day of Prayer, every church, synogage and temple should be open and special services held. This country has so many problems because we have strayed away from our core values with God being at the heart. If you don't want to pray don't. If you don't believe that is ok too but wait until the atheists or agnostic has an ill child, disease or other trauma in their life, bet they will pray then. It is your right not to pray, but don't take away the basics that this country was founded on and the rights of those who want to pray either publicly or privately.

    April 16, 2010 at 12:26 pm |
  260. DESaved

    Hallelujah! NO MORE. How about a DAY OF NO RELIGION! Bunch of nutty idiots who go deeper into their mindbending trans's can have a day of rest....imagine that- a day with NOT KILLING FOR YOUR FAKE GOD!

    "Imagine all the people living life in peace" – For just one day! A day without extremist!

    Thank goodness for a judge that has some balls to standup to these reliious maniacs!

    April 16, 2010 at 12:28 pm |
  261. Michael Gold

    IIt is absolutely unconstitutional, but of course the church runs the country and the Supreme Court. They have managed to infect these supposedly secular institutions with "God" on our money, in legal oaths that are given, phrases on public buildings and the laws of the land. Religion is the root of evil in the world.

    April 16, 2010 at 12:32 pm |
  262. Nelson Arucas

    For all who think that prayer should not be offered to all citizens of the United States of America, I suggest they observe 2 things.

    1. I pledge allegiance, to the flag of the United States of America,
    and to the Republic, for which it stands,
    ONE NATION UNDER GOD

    2. Next time they purchase something using U.S. currency, look
    on the back and see the words,
    IN GOD WE TRUST

    April 16, 2010 at 12:33 pm |
  263. arthur

    First Amendment to the Constitution: "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or protecting the free exercise thereof, --–" Congress has no business declaring a National Prayer Day. The Executive Branch can do as they will but cannot declare any official connection to the federal government. You want to pray, do so. I don't care to so, don't expose me to what to many would appear to be official government policy. Obama, I'm disappointed in your use of the bully pulpit to pander to a large voting bloc.

    Constitutionally freedom of OR FROM religion is protected and is an individual choice. Constitutionally,

    April 16, 2010 at 12:35 pm |
  264. April

    Why is it that it is always the christians that are discriminated against? If people don't want to participate in a day of prayer, so be it. The judge that made this ruling should realize that there will be a day of judgement. We will all have things to answer for, but I would not want to be in her shoes when that day comes. If President Obama is the christian that he claims to be, he will step in and do something about this.

    April 16, 2010 at 12:42 pm |
  265. DESaved

    Dump your TALIBAN theocrats from our politics! If you need a religious state you can go to many places around the world where EVERYDAY is a National Prayer Day! Take your lunacy there for a prime example of how to go religiously INSANE!

    Look at how poor religion has served mankind in those relgious extremist countries to know where we are headed if we don't stop!

    Stop trying to Force everyone to bow to your fake god!

    What if the National Religion was MUSLIM would you still want a National Day of Prayer? GET THE POINT?? Extremist are bad in any flavor!

    April 16, 2010 at 12:45 pm |
  266. Victoria

    As long as a specific religious prayer is not required or any prayer mandated, I do not think the day of prayer is unconstitutional. The First Amendment states, "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof...." The National Day of prayer does not establish a religion or prohibit/require anyone to pray a specific prayer. I think that the judges’ ruling is going too far in the name of separating church and state. I am from Elk Grove where an atheist parent made law suites against the government for requiring his daughter to say the pledge of allegiance since it says, "under God..." (Newdow v. United States Congress, Elk Grove Unified School District, et al., 542 U.S. 1 (2004). He lost under the Supreme Court. Perhaps this decision will be challenged in the Supreme Court and loose also.

    April 16, 2010 at 12:50 pm |
  267. Nileya Nettles

    We have a Jesus day in our town. Its always a pleasure. There are so many people that come together as a unit. Its a day everyone in my hometown city looks forward to. It is simply a beautiful day. It rained one year and people even stood there in the rain united. The rain didnt even matter. They just wanted to be there.

    April 16, 2010 at 12:51 pm |
  268. Diane

    No law respecting an ESTABLISHMENT of religion or PROHIBITING FREE EXCERSISE...........
    We must as a nation go back and study our founding fathers.
    I am sickend by how people and our Officials are abusing the Costitution.
    They left England for freedom of religion because who ever was the ruler at that time forced his poeple to only practice the religion of that ruler. If they did not they were persecuted by torture, imprissonment and some to death.
    Again i say. Seperation of State and Church, the 1st ammendment only means that our government cannot control our ESTABLISHMENT of religion( meaning control over what domination you are). or PROHIBIT FREE EXCERSISE OF. (meaning controlling over where we can excersise our faith). It's plain and simple......I commend every one in this nation who will stand up to protect our constituiton from being stripped down to twist those words and meaning to satisfy those who oppse it.
    Our Nation whether you like it or not WAS based on Religion. Our founding fathers made that very clear.

    Thomas Jefferson "And can the liberties of a nation be thought secure when we have removed their only firm basis, a conviction in the minds of the people that these liberties are a gift of God? That they are not to be violated but with His wrath? Indeed I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just; that His justice cannot sleep forever." (7)

    James Madison "We have staked the whole future of American civilization not on the power of government, far from it. We have staked the future ...upon the capacity of each and all of us to govern ourselves, to control ourselves, to sustain ourselves according to the Ten Commandments of God. " (9)

    Patrick Henry "The great pillars of all government and social life [are] virtue, morality and religion…If we loose these we are conquered indeed

    Noah Webster "No truth is more evident to any mind than that the Christian religion must be the basis of any government intended to secure the rights and privileges of a free people." (2)

    April 16, 2010 at 12:56 pm |
  269. Elvia M. Chalmers

    Prayer is not unconstitutional, an observance is just that, an observance, perhaps we should look at all the museums, etc. that are observing a variety of religious perspectives including human secularism which is an observance of its own.

    April 16, 2010 at 12:59 pm |
  270. VERBUL

    We are constantly fighting about "Separation of Church and State" and the right of our Government to – or not to – include "prayer" (or the word, "prayer") in the "business of the people". The word, "PRAYER", does not mean "GOD". And, our government is not mandating that we pray to GOD – or even a "God". It is merely saying that, on a certain day, we stop and "reflect" upon our life (lives). Those of us (people) "WHO" believe in "God" have the right to "pray" to Him (Her or It, as one may also choose). But, if it upsets SOME people to call it "prayer", let's just call it a "National Day of Reflection".

    VERBUL

    p.s. In the Bible, God – and Jesus – said, "He THAT...."; but, for us mere mortals, what happened to our teaching(s) of "People 'WHO' and "animals and plants 'THAT'..."

    April 16, 2010 at 1:00 pm |
  271. Nileya Nettles

    Prayer isnt unconstitutional. I held hands with people i did not even know in prayer, have never met in my entire life, entire different races, and i was proud to hold there hand and pray, they were just as happy to hold my hand... we prayed together perfectly. A Entire city. i hope we can one day do this as a entire world.

    April 16, 2010 at 1:01 pm |
  272. Larry SLO California

    I'm always amazed by the people who think this is a white, christian country. In fact, the Constitution guarantees the rights of any race to pursue any religion. So, yes a NATIONAL day of PRAYER, is unconstitutional by default.
    Besides, don't most religious people pray daily, anyway?
    Could you imagine the fallout if There was National Yamulka Day or National Mosque Day? The only good thing about these issues is that you figure out who the nuts in your world are.

    April 16, 2010 at 1:04 pm |
  273. Gene

    Having a National Day of prayer IS unconstitutional. It DOES violate the separation of church and state. Eliminating this national day is a step in the right direction. The next steps should be to rid our money of references to god, take "under god" back out of the pledge of allegiance and stop the ridiculous practice of swearing people in with a Bible. We need to return to the secular ideals of the Founding Fathers and truly reinstate the separation of church and state.

    April 16, 2010 at 1:21 pm |
  274. FELICIA

    Wow what a shame.. Does anyone see how much America has changed since GOD has been taking out? It's just gonna get worse. Thank GOD for Private Schools cause there is no way I would ever put my kids through a GODLESS school systems of public schools. How many school shooting at a christian schools? Enough said.. I am NOT proud to be an American..because all it is is a EVIL!!

    April 16, 2010 at 1:23 pm |
  275. Eloise Chocalas

    The separation of Church and State was enacted that the one might never rule over the other. It does not, however, release the one from responsibility to influence and protect the other.

    April 16, 2010 at 1:27 pm |
  276. Phil Angel

    The promotion of the Nat. Day of Prayer is being promoted with tax dollars. This must stop.

    April 16, 2010 at 1:28 pm |
  277. valysh

    I am not sure how many of you dissenters of the judge's ruling have a legal education. From what I have read, a few of you could not have obtained a GED; nevertheless, as someone who has studied the law (as the judge obviously has), I can assure you that a National Day of Prayer IS unconstitutional. It violates the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment, specifically the "Principal of Neutrality." There are many Supreme Court cases that explain this long-standing principal and I suggest some of you read them. It is of no relevance that the National Day of Prayer does not promote a particular religious denomination. The fact that it is promoting prayer is enough to violate neutrality – the government is to neither FAVOR nor DISFAVOR religion.

    April 16, 2010 at 1:29 pm |
  278. RandyRW

    I agree we should keep national prayer day. I think we should have national sweat lodge day and national rune magic day also.

    April 16, 2010 at 1:35 pm |
  279. Bob n

    This country was founded on the principal and right of "Freedom Of Religion" , not freedom FROM religion.
    Those who forget history are bound to repeat it.
    A Christian...A Catholic Christian

    April 16, 2010 at 1:42 pm |
  280. Gail Loyd

    The constitution says the government shall not establish any specific religion. A day of prayer does not support Catholics or Baptists, not even Christianity over Buddhism. It doesn't require anyone to pray. It does nothing to establish an official state religion, which is what the constitution was trying to prevent. Therefore, I think the judge in Wisconsin is dead wrong. You will find me still opposed to school prayer, because then there is some third party doing the invocation,. Being required to listen to and say "Amen" to (or refuse to say Amen to and thereby mark myself as an outsider) to someone else's ideas of what it is appropriate to say to God is still objectionable. So long as I am free to pray to God myself, without direction, I have no trouble being asked to do so on a specific day.

    April 16, 2010 at 1:50 pm |
  281. Norene Nims

    This country, the United States of America, was founded on a strong belief and trust in God Almighty, Creator.
    Every part of our statements of independence and Bill of Rights states that
    freedom of religion is a right of these citizens of America.

    The anti-god people are working to bring our country towards an
    anti- religious, not " freedom of religion country".

    This judge has "ruled" a very dangerous statement of anti- freedom.

    Norene NIms

    April 16, 2010 at 2:21 pm |
  282. Matthew

    The National day of prayer should not be banned. One, the national day of prayer does not specify any religion, so anyone can pray. Two, anyone who is an atheist just doesnt have to pray no one is forcing them to pray. If we are to respect their atheism, then they are to respect our prayer.

    April 16, 2010 at 2:23 pm |
  283. Daniel

    No one is being forced to pray, there is no penalty or reward for engaging in the national day of prayer. I had never even heard of a national day of prayer until this article. I don't see how this is "establishing" religion unless there were some kind of enforcement or reward for participation.

    April 16, 2010 at 2:23 pm |
  284. Steven Huglen

    How can Prayer be Unconstitutional? Especially when the President and past Presidents have asked America to Pray for our Troops, and many people and families in disaster areas. This Judge should be fired! The Constitution say Freedom of Religion. Anyone can Pray, Anywhere, Anytime. If you don't want to Pray, You don't have to. This is your Freedom of Choice. We have many yearly observation days, Bosses Day, Secretary Day, etc. If you choose not to observe them, that is your choice, so Why the big Deal about Prayer? I will be praying on this Day and Every Day, and for those that don't know Jesus Christ.
    God Bless Our Country.

    April 16, 2010 at 2:23 pm |
  285. chris

    I dont see any problem with the national day of prayer!!! It is no different than my employer giving me a day off for a so called "martin luther king" day.... I would rather go to work and earn that 10 hours of pay than to be off in celebration of someone that I care nothing about... So back to the Prayer, they should leave it like it is and if they would give us a day off maybe people would be happy about it!!

    April 16, 2010 at 2:26 pm |
  286. Yvette

    I feel that having a "National Day of Prayer" is just as fine as having celebration of Christmas and Easter or MLK day. Believers and non believers take part in these and nothing is forced upon anyone any more then a national day of prayer is. We have the right to choose these and that is our freedom of living in the USA. Will they take :In God we Trust" off money next? Dont use money for it says "In God we Trust". Dont swear on a bible while in the court of law. Not everyone celebrates MLK or Christmas, Easter or any other Holy days. However, we as Amercians have a right to choose, that is our freedom. We are "One nation Under God" with liberty and Justice for all."

    April 16, 2010 at 2:27 pm |
  287. Jeff, Sharon, Kristen, Nicholas Dagher

    We are so tired of hearing the constant strife reguarding how offensive any form of Christianity is whether it's a manger, a nativity scene, a cross representing our Savior or the Ten commandments that was inscribed on a wall. I could go on and on. Our country was founded on God and His Principles, One Nation Under God... Indivisible with Liberty and Justice for All. Our founding fathers had something to say about this very subject, for instance Benjamin Franklin quoted " History will also afford frequent oppertunities of showing the necessity of a public religon...and the Excellency of the Christian religon above all others ancient or modern". John Quincy Adams writes " The first and almost the only book deserving of universal attention is The Bible." and George Washington said " You do well to wish to learn our arts and way of life. And above all the religon of Jesus Christ...Congress will do everything they can to assist you in this wise intention." Now our current president and his administration want to finish off our countries foundation by eliminating everything to do with the One and only God. Shame on you! Our country is eroding so fast and our moral standards have almost entirly been erased! It seems like people are more obsessed with erasing anything that has to do with God, meanwhile it's ok to have sex with animals, and kill innocent babies by aborting them whether in the womb or out.

    April 16, 2010 at 2:28 pm |
  288. Daniel

    If the presence of a national day of prayer "establishes" a belief in a Higher Power, wouldn't its absence "establish" a lack of belief in a Higher Power? By purging our government of any mention of God, prayer, or faith, these judges are "establishing" atheism or at least nonreligion.

    I would argue that since there is no enforcement mechanism requiring someone to pray, it is not establishing religion and is constitutional.

    April 16, 2010 at 2:29 pm |
  289. Heidi

    Praise to President for this!! Our nation was founded with religion as a focus! i am proud to see him realize this and take a stance! this is not to force those who don't believe in God to pray but to allow those of us who do a time to pray as nation! Amen!!

    April 16, 2010 at 2:34 pm |
  290. Darron

    "It is my right as a citizen of this country that was founded under the Christian principles to pray."

    this country was not founded under christian principles. you need to learn history. the founding fathers were mostly deists and some agnostics and atheists. so the principles are mostly deist in nature but not christian.

    April 16, 2010 at 3:24 pm |
  291. Dr. J

    The case should have been thrown out of Federal Court all together. Standing is required for a case to go forward. The plainteffs, i.e., people affiliated with a group who wants to de-god America, who by supporting such a group that does not believe in God, nor therefore believe in the possibility of communicating with a God they don't believe exists, have no "standing" from which to bring against those who do have standing, i.e. those who believe that a country is benefited by seeking guidance from the Almighty, by whatever Name they call Him. Those who bring such a case must prove that they have been harmed or wronged by the accused. Since they don't believe in God, nor prayer, they have no one to accuse of causing them harm, since a non-existent God cannot be addressed through prayer, and thus such prayers can cause no harm. If there is no harm done to them personally, they have no standing to bring a law suit against people who have done no harm to them. It is elemental law in Federal cases, yet this judge gave them standing. That points to an agenda on the judge's part, another grounds for dismissal.

    The judge should have thrown the case out on lack of standing, rather than furthering her own bias against belief in God.

    The country is becoming like a child, who denies the existence of his/her mother somewhere. The child insists that it has rights, but that it's mother does not. Such reasoning is not sound, is psychologically sick, and it is ungrateful. To live in denial of reality, is to not live in reality.

    April 16, 2010 at 5:50 pm |
  292. the_majority

    "In god we trust" was added in the 1950s, the same era that the national day of prayer was created. It is an overtly monotheistic endorsement and does not belong on our currency. Put it on your truck, write books about it, hang a sign from your house, but keep it out of the shared society that we all inhabit. We are Americans, not Christians. We share the common belief of freedom in the pursuit of happiness, however each person defines it.

    Those of you that claim that the majority of people in the country are Christian and the others should leave would benefit from looking into 1930's Germany, when the majority forced itself on the minority.

    America is a majority Christian nation, but perhaps you should ask yourself if it is American to revile those that do not share your religion.

    There is a very tribalistic tendency amongst many of these posts. "You don't believe in god, you aren't one of us". Well, I am an American exercising my right to free belief, and if the "founding fathers" had intended to make us a Christian nation, they would have done so when they founded it.

    Only 33% of the world is Christian, and only 75% of America. Christians hold one of many competing world views. Deal with it.

    April 16, 2010 at 7:14 pm |
  293. maze1gerald

    I wonder who side that judge is on prayer is not unconstitutional.I slso ay dump that judge thus we the people .remember they work for us, no one is above being fired.

    April 16, 2010 at 9:16 pm |
  294. kim

    What would Jesus think? What a shame that people want to get up and fight anytime there's prayer mentioned. we are nothing w/out God. those who get angry by a peaceful christian tradition has much bigger issues in life. I pray for them all.

    April 16, 2010 at 9:34 pm |
  295. Link

    No, it does not violate the constitution. The Constitution forbids congress from making a law 'regarding the establishment of religion.' It does not forbid having the 10 commandments on the wall, prayer in the Congress, public references to God by the president, a national day of prayer, the president calling for prayer and fasting (as Lincoln did before winning the war) or many other of these violations of a secular world-view.

    April 16, 2010 at 11:25 pm |
  296. Mr.Eister

    I am a grown man, I do not need some lawyer judge to tell ME, that I can or can't pray, or even when or where I can pray. The personal opinion of this lawyer Crabb, so called judge does not make a difference. No judge can throw you injail for praying anytime or anyplace you so choose.

    April 16, 2010 at 11:48 pm |
  297. Rev. William G. Hartwell

    I, for one, am thankful for this ruling.

    Government has no business telling anyone how, or even whether, to pray. Whenever government gets involved in religious matters, it always – ALWAYS – ends up corrupting whatever religion it claims to be upholding.

    My faith is strong enough to stand WITHOUT governmental support. I feel truly sorry for those whose faith is so weak they cannot support it without governmental proclamations, federal laws, and other forms of governmental support. If your faith is truly in a power greater than government, why are you threatened when government is excluded from supporting it?

    April 17, 2010 at 10:51 am |
  298. GAL

    Re: divorced parents fighting over taking their daughter to church – they're doing MAJOR DAMAGE by just exposing her to religion, never mind which version of superstitious myths!

    April 17, 2010 at 12:01 pm |
  299. call me Roy

    Great, another Socialist judge who went to law school but apparently never got an "A" in a History or Civics class. “If she had, she would have known that at the Constitutional Convention, after five weeks of nothing being accomplished. Benjamin Franklin stood up and said, ‘Why is it that we have not once applied to the Father of Lights to eliminate understanding?’ “He said, ‘In the beginning of the contest with Great Britain, we had daily prayer in this room.’ He went on to say that he had lived a long time, and the longer he lived the more convincing proofs he saw of the truth of God governing the affairs of men. He went on to move that, ‘Henceforth, that prayers imploring the assistance of Heaven, and its blessings upon our deliberations in Congress be held every day.“ And from that day in 1787, until today, the very day I’m talking with you, we start (each session of Congress) with prayer. President after president have had National Days of Prayer – the whole country has. What part of don't you understand Judge Crabb? This is a country founded on a Judeo-Christian philosophy. Holding a prayer day is a traditional event that does not compel anyone to attend nor does it constitute the establishment of a religion. Oh wait, I just remembered something! President Obumma may have tried to set a president for Judge Crabb last year: Wednesday, April 15, 2009. Georgetown University says it covered over the monogram “IHS”–symbolizing the name of Jesus Christ—because it was inscribed on a pediment on the stage where President Obama spoke at the university on Tuesday and the White House had asked Georgetown to cover up all signs and symbols there.
    How lucky can we get.

    April 17, 2010 at 6:30 pm |
  300. Talmage Shipman

    Judge Barbara Crabb's interpretation of the Constitution on this point is far too narrow which is typical for a liberal judge. She sees the word prayer and ceases all intellectual processing.

    The Constitutional prohibition on religion was and is intended to prevent any single religious group from excluding any other religious group from participation in government and has been done in other countries and to prevent a theocracy as in Islamic countries. The National Day of Prayer does not specify a particular form of prayer or a particular acceptable religion. It merely tries to remind us to be mindful of God.

    Bottom line to me: tempest in a teapot by an atheist group successfully imposing its own values on the rest of us at great expense and waste of time.

    Talmage

    April 18, 2010 at 7:37 am |
  301. Big Ed

    My own personal opinion, being a born again Christian and stout believer in Jesus Christ and God himself, think that the American public has lost itself in all the hoopla of "true tv" or "real tv" episodes and series of rediculously stupid nature. This is just another example of someone wanting to get their "15 minutes of fame" by stirring up another "hot topic" such as religion and religious beliefs. Letting this judge get away with "banning national religious practices", whether government backed or not, is an outrage to christians, and religous people from all over the world. Is she forgetting that when the President takes office, his hand is on the HOLY BIBLE and he is swearing an oath to BOTH the people of the nation, and GOD HIMSELF???

    America and the world need a real wake up call of biblical proportions to get us back on the right track. Teachers that are terrified of their students that were raised by mushpot parents who "dont discipline" their kids wind up in school shootings all over the nation because some kids see it on tv and think "I can do that also since my dad has all these illegal guns laying around"

    You never heard of a school shooting back in the 50's, 60's, or 70's because the teachers were allowed to whip a kid right in class if necessary. Kids cussing out teachers and then having a friend record them assaulting the teacher on their camera phone to post on the internet for "status points" among other kids is just one of the examples I have listed.

    And yet not one single state, county, or city has repealed the corporal punishment laws to allow teachers to punish kids accordingly, and not one single state, county, or city has chucked the "dont discipline your kids" crap out the window and gone back to letting the parents discipline the kids appropriately. When kids have the REAL fear of GOD put in them for doing something stupid and completely brain dead by their parents with a belt or paddle, they will think twice about doing it again. The idiot who came up with "time outs" ought to have been beaten more when they were a kid!!

    April 18, 2010 at 8:21 am |
  302. Don

    here is the legal aspect of separation of church and state, as the constitution says "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof", Which means ,1. Putting the 10 commandments on display in a public place is not making a law . 2. Displaying a nativity scene on gov. property is not making law. Which means none of these things is unconstitutional. its so simple and obvious.Our forefathers came here to escape being told how and where to worship, that is why the very first amendment addresses it ,it was the most important freedom they wished to establish .and there is no grey area in it , the placement of these icons on government property establishes NO LAW IN DOING IT.

    April 18, 2010 at 9:43 am |
  303. Don

    There is yet another fact that everyone is overlooking , our founding fathers ,those men who wrote the constitution were Christian men.The very first amendment wrote insured the FREEDOM OF RELIGION , they based the bill of rights on the same laws that give respect for life , and freedom and respect for fellow men that the ten commandments give, so all of you Americans owe your freedom and liberty to GOD and his servants ,our forefathers.

    April 18, 2010 at 9:54 am |
  304. Jacob Edward Golas

    It is not unconstitutional to have a national day of prayer. The Wisconsin judge is really wrong to think so.

    April 18, 2010 at 5:43 pm |
  305. learned

    Making a national law for a day of prayer based on something that doesn't exist is absurd. Jesus is a myth, like all the gods of greek, roman and Egyptian myths. Look at the HISTORICAL documents. There is NO mention of any Jesus by historians of his period. All the attributes of his life are basically stolen from the pagan Mithra. Don't believe me? Look it up! Don't EVEN repsond until you have. Speaking from a position of ignorance will win YOU no converts. The bible wasn't even put together until 300 years AFTER the so-called events. You wait 300 years to write a book about past events and see how distorted the result gets, passing down stories by word-of-mouth is not a valid way to save "the truth". How many of the writings were discarded and not included in today's bible? What do those say about Jesus? Don't know that either? You haven't done any research have you then?

    April 21, 2010 at 12:23 pm |
  306. Pamela T. Atkinson, PFLTD

    Blog about National Prayer Day

    A day of National Prayer is needed in today's society. I remember growing up as a child in school, we had religious studies and prayers in the school. It seems like when they took prayers out of the schools, prayers were replaced with guns, other weapons and much more violence. Our forefathers who wrote the constitution and the right to freedom of religion did not intend for that right to be manipulated in any way that would eliminate God and prayer from any part of our "One Nation under God."

    The atheists and agnostic or anyone who objects to National Prayer Day is only showing a hunger and thirst for proof: Proof that God exists and is alive and watching. This is why God has given the world a new book Proof from the Light and Darkness.

    April 21, 2010 at 5:36 pm |
  307. Richard - FL

    The Constitution nowhere says that it is illegal to pray or to have a day of prayer. A government enacted day might be. However the term separation of church and state is found nowhere in the Constitution therefore prayer is constitutional. The term came from a ltter from Th. Jefferson on January 1, 1802, in which he wrote to an association in Danbury CT about protection from the state interfering with the church. He mentioned the wall of separation, meaning that the State could not have authority over or say what the church can and cannot do.
    The term 'Separation of Church and State' actually protects the citizens, not the government. So it is constitutional and God is allowed in our courts according to the Constitution.

    April 22, 2010 at 10:53 am |
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