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A Madison group that supports the separation of church-and-state loses a court battle in Denver

A Madison group that supports the separation of church-and-state lost a court battle in Denver yesterday.

A district judge said Colorado Governor Bill Ritter did not violate the constitution when he issued a proclamation for the National Day of Prayer. Madison's Freedom from Religion Foundation challenged the proclamation, saying it amounts to a government endorsement of religion. But Judge Michael Mullins said the proclamations do not have the force of law - and they only re-affirm people's right to practice religion.

Foundation co-president Annie Laurie Gaylor said the judge was wrong, and she expects her group to appeal the ruling. Gaylor noted that the foundation won a similar lawsuit against the federal government earlier this year. Federal Judge Barbara Crabb of Madison had ruled that the National Day of Prayer is an unconstitutional call to religious action. And the Obama administration is appealing that decision.

Governors throughout the country have joined the president in proclaiming the National Day of Prayer ever since Congress established it in 1988. It's held on the first Thursday in May. Gaylor said the foundation sued Colorado because it's where the task force for the prayer day is located.

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