Posted: May 7, 2010 8:07 AM by Ariel Wesler
Updated: May 7, 2010 8:07 AM
Hundreds attended a local event in Santa Maria today in honor of the National Day of Prayer.
This is the city's 13th annual event. Folks from various religious backgrounds gather to pray for leaders at the local, state, and national level. It's one of many prayer sessions going on across america, but it's not without controversy. A U.S. District judge recently ruled the federally-recognized day unconstitutional.
More than 500 people packed the Park Plaza at the Santa Maria Fairpark--praying with a purpose. . .each in their own way.
"It's probably one of the biggest event we've had in a long time," said Jim Zimmer, who helped coordinate the local event.
Community leaders from spoke about the importance of prayer.
"People need something to have hope," said Santa Maria Resident Lowell Ledgewood.
Many needing it more now than ever before, but some believe the government should play no part in prayer.
Last week, a Wisconsin court ruled the National Day of Prayer unconstitutional, saying it violates separation of church and state by encouraging all citizens to pray.
"It's a voluntary thing. Nobody's forced to do it. The government is not mandating that we do it," said Cliff Schneider, a Santa Maria resident.
"It's opening an avenue where people can come as a community to express their beliefs," Ledgewood said.
But regardless of those beliefs, people prayed for members of the armed forces as well as leaders in education, medicine and business.
"People have the right to say what they want to or feel the way they want to, but in the end result, our nation truly is founded on a superior being, we call God," Zimmer said.
And while in God they trust, opponents are praying
the separation of church and state remains strong.
The Justice Department is appealing the ruling. Meanwhile, the Obama administration says the government is simply acknowledging the role of religion in American life.
Congress first established a National Day of Prayer in 1952. It was signed into law by President Truman.
PLEASE HELP US MODERATE COMMENTS
Offensive or inappropriate comments are subject to removal. To report a comment, please e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org, and include the name of the story and information on the comment.
Thank you! KSBY.com
Get deals up to 80% off here!
Find the lowest gas prices in your area
Submit your photos to KSBY
Check out our calendar of events
Watch Daybreak Web Videos in full
Save with Hot Deals across our counties!
Events across the Central Coast
Follow The CW5 on Facebook.
The KSBY online public file.
What do you think? Leave us your feedback.
KSBY is your official CA Lottery station for San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara Counties