Court dismisses Shirley Dobson from lawsuit challenging National Day of Prayer


A federal judge Mar. 2 dismissed claims against Shirley Dobson in a lawsuit challenging the National Day of Prayer.

The suit filed by the Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF) in 2008 claims that the federal law designating a "National Day of Prayer" is unconstitutional.

"Prayer proclamations are a long-established and cherished American tradition going back to the Founding Fathers," said Alliance Defense Fund (ADF) Senior Legal Counsel Joel Oster. "The lawsuit against Mrs. Dobson was based on the ridiculous argument that a private citizen can violate the law by praying, and it is just another example of one radical organization's allergic reaction to anything involving God."

The court did state that it could not stop future presidential prayer proclamations from being issued but it also granted FFRF to challenge the statute permitting a national day of prayer.

The current lawsuit, being heard by the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Wisconsin, was first filed against the last administration, but is now named Freedom From Religion Foundation v. Obama, to reflect the current administration.

President Harry S. Truman first established the National Day of Prayer in 1952. The next event is scheduled for May 6.

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