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Debating the Day of Prayer (Update)

President skips ceremony but defends National Day of Prayer in court.
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The National Day of Prayer, held annually on the first Thursday of May, is today generating not just supplications to heaven, but wrangling on earth. The Obama administration, in a departure from its predecessors, is marking the day with a statement but not the President's attendance at a ceremony. Meanwhile, some religious groups and others are criticizing the President for stepping back from involvement. However, the administration and some Republican lawmakers are defending the constitutionality of the observance by fighting atheists in court.

Here is the text of the President's proclamation:

BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICAA PROCLAMATIONThroughout our Nation's history, Americans have come together in moments of great challenge and uncertainty to humble themselves in prayer. In 1775, as the Continental Congress began the task of forging a new Nation, colonists were asked to observe a day of quiet humiliation and prayer. Almost a century later, as the flames of the Civil ...
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