National Day of Prayer debate

MADISON, Wis. (AP) - White House officials say President Barack Obama still will recognize a National Day of Prayer after a federal judge's ruling the day is unconstitutional. U.S. District Judge Barbara Crabb in Madison, Wis., ruled Thursday that the day violates separation of church and state.

The ruling comes in a lawsuit filed against the federal government by the Freedom From Religion Foundation. But Crabb says her order doesn't block a prayer day until after all appeals are exhausted.

Obama spokesman Matt Lehrich says in an e-mail to The Associated Press that the ruling therefore doesn't prevent the president from issuing a proclamation for the day recognized in May.

A spokesman for the U.S. Justice Department, which represented the government in the case, declined to comment on the ruling.

(Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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