Yesterday, during his National Day of Prayer ceremony in the White House Rose Garden, President Donald Trump continued his assault on religious freedom by signing an executive order. In a speech that reads more like a fake viral email than a presidential address, Donald Trump substituted showmanship for sincerity: While claiming to protect religious liberty, he trampled it.
You may not realize it, but this is a significant day in the United States. Yes, it is Cinco de Mayo, which means you can have your fill of margaritas and guacamole. But it’s also the National Day of Prayer (NDP) – and that means we’re all getting treated to a big bowl of church-state mixing.
The National Day of Prayer (NDP) is a constitutionally suspect government endorsement of religion, Americans United for Separation of Church and State says.
“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.”
Some very powerful people in the United States see absolutely nothing wrong with generalized government endorsement of religious belief.
If anyone was still unconvinced prior to yesterday that the National Day of Prayer (NDP) is little more than a fundamentalist Christian political rally, Focus on the Family founder James Dobson’s rant on Capitol Hill should have erased any doubts.
During an event organized by the National Day of Prayer Task Force (a non-profit run by conservative evangelical Christians) and attended by members of the U.S. House of Representatives, Dobson slammed President Barack Obama, calling him the “abortion president.”
Editor’s Note: Today is the congressionally mandated National Day of Prayer. “The Wall of Separation” is pleased to offer this guest post by James C. Nelson, a retired justice of the Montana Supreme Court. Nelson was appointed to the court by Gov. Marc Racicot in 1993 and was reelected to the position three times, serving until his retirement in 2013.
The brass at a Missouri military facility have invited disgraced Religious Right “historian” David Barton to speak at a National Day of Prayer event, and we’re demanding that he get promptly disinvited.
Thursday is the National Day of Prayer, and if you want to pray, by all means have at it.
I’ll let you in on a little secret: You can pray (or not) as dictated by your very own conscience. You don’t need any branch of the government to tell you what to do when it comes to religion.
Is America a fundamentalist Christian nation where government and religion are merged?
Of course not. But if you stopped by the Cannon House Office Building here in Washington, D.C., today, you’d certainly think so.
The National Day of Prayer Task Force commandeered a large room there for the morning and turned it into a fundamentalist revival tent, replete with the usual Religious Right mix of faith and partisanship.
Every year around the National Day of Prayer (NDP) – which occurred last Thursday – Americans United gets really busy.
Media outlets and various interest groups want to hear our take on the government-mandated day to pray, which started in 1952 when Congress passed a federal statute ordering the president to declare a prayer day each year. (In 1998, the NDP was codified as the first Thursday of every May.)