As we know, the first Thursday of May has been declared National Day of Prayer by an act of Congress. Religious services are held at the local, state and federal levels of government. So, what’s the big deal?
Americans have the right to pray for whomever they want and in what manner they like. But we don’t need an officially designated government proclamation to do that. Our people are free to engage in worship whenever they want. Allowing government to set aside certain days for prayer and worship implies that the state has some say over our religious lives when it does not. It is simply not the business of government to advise when, if and how people pray.
In recent years, most NDP activities have been coordinated by the “National Day of Prayer Task Force,” an organization based in Colorado Springs and run by Shirley Dobson, wife of Religious Right radio broadcaster James Dobson, founder of Focus on the Family.
In years past, the Task Force has used the NDP to promote bogus “Christian nation” history and advocate for erroneous claims that fundamentalist Christians are being persecuted in the United States or denied their right to spread their faith.
The NDP is of recent vintage. It was created by Congress in 1952. The scheduling of the event used to change, but it was codified by Congress in 1988 (after pressure from the Religious Right) as the first Thursday in May.
The National Day of Prayer Is Unnecessary.
America does not need an official, government-mandated “National Day of Prayer.” Religious individuals who feel strongly about the country are free to pray for it at any time. They do not need to be directed or encouraged by government.
To read more, visit the AU website.