First Amendment lovers, exult! In a ruling that protects people of all faiths and people of no faith from government intrusion on their conscience, U.S. District Judge Barbara Crabb has ruled the statute establishing the National Day of Prayer unconstitutional.
It's this simple:
Recognizing the importance of prayer to many people does not mean the government may enact a statute in support of it, any more than the government may encourage citizens to fast during the month of Ramadan, attend a synagogue, purify themselves in a sweat lodge, or practice rune magic [Judge Barbara Crabb, quoted by Warren Richey, "Federal Judge: National Day of Prayer Unconstitutional," Christian Science Monitor, 2010.04.15].
I'm eager to read the full 66-page ruling; if you want to beat me to it, here's the PDF link!
I humbly suggest that any religion that needs official state approval is a pretty weak religion. This ruling won't stop folks from gathering around our courthouse flagpole to pray for rain or Barack Obama, but it does affirm that the county commission's (and Congress's) only role in gatherings like the National Day of Prayer is to provide and protect the public spaces that we all may share to express our varied beliefs... assuming we feel the need to publicly demonstrate our piety.
Oh, and don't forget: Jim Dobson's wife Shirley is no longer a defendant in this case. President Barack Hussein Obama is. His Justice Department is considering an appeal to fight for the National Day of Prayer. Judge Barbara Crabb was appointed to the federal bench by President Carter.