HOUSTON – A federal judge dismissed a lawsuit that sought to stop Gov. Rick Perry from sponsoring a day of Christian prayer and fasting, ruling Thursday that the group of atheists and agnostics did not have legal standing to sue.

U.S. District Judge Gray H. Miller said the Freedom From Religion Foundation argued against Perry’s involvement based merely on feelings of exclusion, but did not show sufficient harm to merit the injunction they sought.

“The governor has done nothing more than invite others who are willing to do so to pray,” Miller said.

Rich Bolton, who argued for the group, said he was considering an appeal.

“I wonder if we had a Muslim governor what would happen if the whole state was called to a Muslim prayer,” said Kay Staley, one of five Texas residents named as plaintiffs in the suit. “I think the governor needs to keep his religion out of his official duties.”

Staley said she would be at the prayer rally to protest.

In Maine, Gov. Paul LePage has taken up Perry’s call, issuing a proclamation in June in support of the Aug. 6 prayer day. A LePage spokesman said the governor signed the proclamation “as a courtesy” to the Texas governor. Also, more than a dozen House Republicans signed on to a statement of support for the event and LePage’s proclamation.

The Freedom from Religion Foundation argued in the lawsuit that Perry’s involvement in the day of prayer and fasting would violate the First Amendment’s establishment clause. The event, which is called The Response, is scheduled for Aug. 6 at Houston’s Reliant Stadium.

A day earlier, Perry defended the event, comparing it to President Obama’s participation in the National Day of Prayer.

“My prayer is that the courts will find that the First Amendment is still applicable to the governor no matter what they might be doing and that what we’ve done in the state of Texas or what we’ve done in the governor’s office is appropriate,” he said. “It’s no different than what George Washington or Abraham Lincoln or President Truman or President Obama have done.”

Perry, an evangelical Christian, said he didn’t yet know what his role in the rally would be.

“I’m going to be there — I may be ushering for all I know — I haven’t gotten my marching orders,” he said. “It’s not about me and it’s not about the people on the stage either, this is truly about coming together as a state lifting up this nation in prayer, having a day of prayer and fasting. That’s all it is.”

Perry invited the Obama administration, the nation’s governors and Texas lawmakers to attend the event, as he moves closer to jumping into the race for the White House.

The event is sponsored by evangelical Christian groups, including the American Family Association, which has been criticized by civil rights groups for promoting anti-homosexual and anti-Islamic positions on the roughly 200 radio stations it operates.