April 28, 2011

National Day of Prayer

A federal appeals court recently overturned a lower court ruling that had declared the National Day of Prayer to be unconstitutional. The day of prayer, established by Congress in 1952, occurs annually on the first Thursday in May, which this year falls on May 5. Last year, a federal district court in Wisconsin ruled that legally mandating a day of prayer violated the constitutional prohibition on the establishment of religion. But on April 14, 2011, the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals threw out the case, ruling that the Freedom from Religion Foundation – which had brought the suit – lacked standing or the legal right to bring the suit.

The U.S. Religious Landscape Survey, conducted in 2007 by the Pew Research Center’s Forum on Religion & Public Life, shows that prayer is a common religious practice in America, with nearly six-in-ten adults in the U.S. saying they pray at least once a day. However, frequency of prayer differs significantly by religious tradition, age, gender and income.

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