Sam Juan, Mar 7 (AP) The American Civil Liberties Union is challenging a decree passed by Puerto Rico legislators that calls for 40 days of fasting and prayer.

The organization said in a statement today that the decree violates the concept of separation of church and state. The decree was approved in February after Puerto Rico’s House of Representatives President Carlos Mendez said the island needed divine intervention as it struggles through an economic recession.

The decree calls for the “spiritual, material and social purification” of Puerto Rico’s population. People have been voluntarily meeting at churches daily from 5 a.m. to 6 a.m.

throughout the island since Feb. 26.

The ACLU is seeking a federal temporary restraining order and has questioned whether public funds are being used for the meetings.(AP)

This is published unedited from the PTI feed.