Washington (CNN) - The 59th annual National Day of Prayer was held Thursday against a backdrop of controversy and growing doubts about the future of the event, which a federal judge recently declared unconstitutional.
President Truman signed a bill establishing an official National Day of Prayer in 1952, but U.S. District Judge Barbara Crabb in Wisconsin ruled April 15 that the law violates the ban on government-backed religion.
The Justice Department is appealing the case on behalf of the White House. An injunction against the National Day of Prayer will not take effect until all government appeals have been exhausted.
Several events to mark the day were scheduled Thursday across Washington, including services at the Pentagon, the Cannon House Office Building and on the steps of the Capitol.
Updated: 2:14 p.m.