Wednesday, May 5, 2010

National Prayer Day Under Attack!

c. David Grim (taken 4/24/08)

Well, it looks like the nation is becoming embroiled yet again in a matter of national significance (as if the oil spill, bank regulation, mining disasters, and all the rest weren't sufficient to unhinge us). The annual National Prayer Day is being held tomorrow, but unlike in previous years... it appears to be under attack (just like Christmas every year!). In fact there has been a rash of activity on the Internet lamenting President Obama's decision to cancel the observance. It would appear that the breathless concerns of Christ-leaning conservatives across the land are being validated... except for one thing- it's not true.

Obama has already (just like last year) issued the customary presidential proclamation entreating the citizens to pray for their country. The only thing he has done differently than his predecessor is to quietly forgo making the day a "public event" with formal ceremonies. What crass disdain he shows toward the holy! How could the US have achieved all its great glory (and economic success) without God? How can anyone be so ungrateful?

The truth is that those who suggest that prayer is a private matter seem to have a point. I know because I checked a source that seems to hold some particular legitimacy on the issue, given America's heritage- "“But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly” (Matt. 6:6). Apparently there are still some Christians that fail to take the word of the Good Book literally.

Anyway, we could also consult the Constitution (specifically its very first amendment) in order to attain guidance in this matter. But really, why bother? Why not just let the ancient tradition (started by an act of Congress in 1952) continue? As far as I'm concerned, the little enough I am forced to hear about it does not exceed my tolerance. In fact I never even knew about National Prayer Day before yesterday. Count me among what I expect to be a large contingent of national bystanders witnessing this inane controversy.

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