We Pagans had Beltane last week. This week, the Christians have a holiday, well sort of. The National Day of Prayer was originally called for in 1952 when Congress passed a law saying one day a year should be set aside for prayer. In 1988 Ronald Reagan signed a law designating the first Thursday in May as that day.
Originally, it was supposed to be just a generic day of prayer for any and all faiths. However, the National Day of Prayer Task Force, which is a subsidiary of the Christian National Prayer Committee was founded in 1983 to make damn sure any day of prayer in American was exclusively Christian.
In fact, CNPC founder Vonette Bright personally contacted Right Wing Senator Strom Thurmond in 1986 to have him write and introduce the bill President Reagan would eventually sign. From the beginning, her organization’s participation has had the appearance of government sanction. During the George W. Bush administration, events coordinated with the NDP Task Force were held in the White House each year. President Obama has not participated in NDP Task Force Events.
However, the “National Observance” of the Day of Prayer in Washington, DC goes out of its way to look like an official government event.
This Event Is For Christians Only
In 2004, members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints were excluded from events in Utah, which led to a boycott by the Utah Valley Interfaith Organization. The UVIO represents about 40 different faiths, including the LDS.
In 2005 the Hindu American Foundation was rebuffed by the NDP Task Force, according to co-founder Aseem Shukla. By 2008 many groups were decrying the fact that the day of prayer had been “hijacked by Evangelical Christians.”
When asked to respond to these claims, the NDP Task Force says, “The National Day of Prayer Task Force was a creation of the National Prayer Committee for the expressed purpose of organizing and promoting prayer observances conforming to a Judeo-Christian system of values. People with other theological and philosophical views are, of course, free to organize and participate in activities that are consistent with their own beliefs. This diversity is what Congress intended when it designated the Day of Prayer, not that every faith and creed would be homogenized, but that all who sought to pray for this nation would be encouraged to do so in any way deemed appropriate. It is that broad invitation to the American people that led, in our case, to the creation of the Task Force and the Judeo-Christian principles on which it is based.”
Well there’s nothing arrogantly hypocritical about that at all! Congress intended diversity when this day was established, and the fact that we are in charge of all the observances shouldn’t stop you lost deluded sinners from praying to your false gods off in a cave somewhere. We are open minded people you know.
According to Americans United for Separation of Church and State the event as currently held clearly undermines religious freedom.
“The government should not be giving out prayer instructions,” said the Rev. Barry W. Lynn, executive director of Americans United. “Those who want to pray are more than capable of doing so without government coercion; those who do not wish to pray surely do not appreciate a federal directive endorsing belief over non-belief.”
Well said! Of course, pointing that out is nothing short of Christian Persecution. More for them to pray about, I’m sure.