Prayer’s never been so popular

By Editorial Board

For 58 years, the National Day of Prayer has occurred without incident. Groups have united in an effort to reflect on the country and perhaps ask for God’s favor since its inception—until recently.

The national holiday was deemed unconstitutional by Judge Barbara Crabb, who serves on a federal circuit court in Wisconsin, because it breaches the U.S. Constitution’s First Amendment. Crabb said it was a government endorsement of religious activity, which is not allowed because of the separation of church and state, even though observing the day is not required and the prayer is voluntary.

On May 6, people will join together in an effort to not only pray, but show the importance of the day to the United States and its citizens.

The ruling will probably go through an exhaustive number of appeals because of its controversy among lawmakers and President Barack Obama. Most government officials said they will continue to go about their activities as they would any other year, even with the holiday considered unconstitutional.

Freedom from Religion Foundation, the group advocating for atheists and agnostics who challenged the observance, may have had the opposite effect than they intended.

Instead of eliminating the National Day of Prayer because of its infringement on Constitutional rights, the holiday is receiving more attention than ever.

Prior to this challenge, many people probably didn’t even know what date the holiday falls on or what it stands for. The ruling is stirring up prayer debate and more people will likely recognize the holiday because of the uproar the group caused.

The National Day of Prayer seems like a minute issue compared to other more controversial incorporations of God and government, including the “In God We Trust” inscription on U.S. money, the words of the Pledge of Allegiance or the fact Congress has opened each day’s session with a prayer since the 1700s.

There are more important problems facing the country besides deciding whether a voluntary prayer is an infringement of our First Amendment rights, even if it is considered a national holiday.