Jewish Journal

Again constitutional, the National Day of Prayer returns

by Brad A. Greenberg

May 5, 2011 | 1:53 pm

Last month, a federal appellate court overturned a ruling that the National Day of Prayer was unconstitutional. The order was just in time. Today is the 2011 National Day of Prayer.

I’m not sure what makes this year different. CBS News seems to think it’s that the event “spotlights prayer’s healing power.” But it doesn’t sound that different from most years. USA Today reports:

Congress established the day in 1952, but the president by law must proclaim a day in May every year.

This year, President Obama called on Americans to “pray, or otherwise give thanks, in accordance with their own faiths and consciences, for our many freedoms and blessings.”

“In prayer, we have expressed gratitude and humility, sought guidance and forgiveness, and received inspiration and assistance, both in good times and in bad,” the proclamation said.

This is different than the National Prayer Breakfast, and observances manifest mainly in small gatherings around the country. In Washington, U.S. Rep. Pete Stark, Congress’ first “out atheist,” had his own response: declaring today a National Day of Reason.

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