Today is supposed to be a time when Americans come together to pray in one voice. Instead, it's turning into a shouting match among splintered voices.
The National Day of Prayer, an annual civic and religious ritual established by Congress in 1952, has become a flashpoint in the national culture wars, pitting evangelical Christians against secularists of various stripes and religious minorities.
Today in Raleigh, the state Capitol will become a battleground of sorts as Christians gather to worship on the south side of the government building while a group of nonreligious people silently protest the prayer event on the north side.
The twin gatherings mirror a larger conflict. Last month, a federal judge in Wisconsin declared the law authorizing the National Day of Prayer unconstitutional, saying it violates the First Amendment's prohibition on government endorsement of religion. The Obama administration said it will appeal the ruling.
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