USA (MNN) — On April 15th,
U.S .district judge Barbara B. Crabb ruled the National Day of Prayer
The Wisconsin judge wrote in her decision that the National Day of
Prayer "goes beyond mere 'acknowledgment' of religion because its sole
purpose is to encourage all citizens to engage in prayer, an inherently
religious exercise that serves no secular function in this context."
The National Day of Prayer was instituted by Congress in
1952 and in 1988 was set on the first Thursday of May. Essentially, Crabb argued the statute violates
the First Amendment's ban against a law respecting an establishment of
Todd Nettleton with
Voice of the Martyrs says, "It's hard
to see that having a day where people MAY join in prayer is the establishment
of a religion."
Despite the court ruling, President Barak Obama will still
issue a National Day of Prayer proclamation for Thursday, May 6. It's a good example to follow. Nettleton clarifies, "Regardless of what
our government says, we can pray every day, and we SHOULD pray every day. Our
brothers and sister in China don't have a National Day of Prayer and yet their
church is growing faster than the church in the United States."
In the meantime, the American Center for Law and Justice
will be appealing the ruling. "We represented…31 members of Congress [in
the case]," says Attorney Jordan Sekulow. "We'll be ready to file
our amicus brief to the appeal to the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals —
and I'm sure the president and the White House, the executive branch, are
getting their appeal ready as well."
There are other concerns, too. The ruling is a blow to Christians and their
freedom to practice their faith. Will this ruling eventually threaten the
ability to share Christ in the U.S.?
Nettleton says an answer to that question would be
speculation, but it does underscore an obvious point. "I
think we, overall, need to pray for the country. We need to pray for our leaders not just on
the first Thursday in May, but that needs to be a regular part of our prayer
life–lifting up our nation and lifting up those who are in leadership