Federal Judge Rules Day of Prayer Unconstitutional

A federal judge in Madison has ruled the National Day of Prayer is unconstitutional.

U.S. District Judge Barbara Crabb reached the conclusion in a lawsuit the Freedom From Religion Foundation, a Madison-based group of atheists and agnostics, brought against former President George W. Bush's administration near the end of his second term. The foundation argued the day violates the separation of church and state.

Congress established the day in 1952 and in 1988 set the first Thursday in May as the day for presidents to issue proclamations asking Americans to pray.

A message left at the U.S. Department of Justice, which represented the government in the case, wasn't immediately returned.