National Day of Prayer angers Christians and atheists
Today is the National Day of Prayer in the United States, but the White House has planned only a muted observance of the event, which has angered Christians and even an atheist group, that wanted the event to be canceled completely.
The day started back in 1952 and became the first Thursday in May in 1988; it was traditionally when the President of the U.S asked Americans across the country to pray. President Obama however has not issued any public notices of prayer, like George Bush did before him.
The National Day of Prayer Task Force criticized Obama, saying that last year over 2 million Americans attended prayer events, and that he should have arranged something for this year.
"We are disappointed in the lack of participation by the Obama administration," said task force chairwoman Shirley Dobson, wife of Focus on the Family founder James Dobson. "At this time in our country's history, we would hope our President would recognize more fully the importance of prayer."
The Freedom From Religion Foundation has filed a lawsuit in a federal court in Wisconsin, saying that the day violated the division of church and the state.
31 Republican members of Congress have joined to fight the lawsuit, but the 12,000 members of Freedom From Religion are determined to get the day declared unconstitutional, saying the state cannot force prayer proclamations on people.
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Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States