Tuesday, April 27, 2010
National Day of Prayer
This land was discovered by Christopher Columbus and founded by many other great men, all or at least most of whom were Christians who prayed. Since the days of George Washington, Presidents have encouraged the citizens of the United States of America to pray. Abraham Lincoln asked for a "day of humiliation, fasting, and prayer" during the Civil War. Franklin D. Roosevelt led a prayer on radio on the evening of D-Day, 1944. He asked all Americans to join him in asking God to help the Allied troops to succeed. Lyndon B. Johnson requested that the nation pray following the death of John F. Kennedy. Gerald R. Ford asked Americans to "confirm me as your president with your prayers" when he assumed the office of President after Richard M. Nixon resigned. It is a natural thing for Americans to pray. Congress established a national day of prayer in 1952. In 1988 Congress designated the first Thursday in May as the official day to hold a national day of prayer as proclaimed by the President. Many cities and states also commemorated this day as a day for prayer. Two years ago the Madison-based Freedom From Religion Foundation filed a lawsuit against the federal government with the charge that the day violated the separation of church and state. United States District Judge Barbara Crabb ruled in Madison, Wisconsin, on Thursday, April 15, 2010, that a National Day of Prayer is unconstitutional because it would be like a call for religious action and violates the First Amendment. Judge Crabb, a Jimmy Carter appointee, ruled that the government cannot enact laws supporting a day of prayer because it would be the same thing as encouraging Americans to fast during Ramadan or attending a synagogue or practicing magic. This case is apparently on its way to another court for appeal. It is apparent that neither the Freedom From Religion Foundation nor Judge Crabb understands the meaning of the First Amendment, which states, "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; …" The writings of the Founders witness that this amendment was written to stop the federal government from forcing citizens to belong to a particular church and to keep the federal government from favoring any one church. How can a simple request to pray together as a nation be such a bad thing? I fail to see how it would violate anyone's rights or hurt anyone. Christian, Jew, Muslim, atheist or agnostic could still choose whether or not to pray and to which god to direct their prayers. The National Day of Prayer carries no mandates or penalties and includes all religions. Anyone not believing in God or a higher power could simply observe a moment of silence or just ignore the designation. I do not understand how Congress can mandate that we buy health insurances and encourage us to stop smoking, exercise more, eat healthier foods, get immunizations, etc. if a simple day of prayer violates rights. I believe that we should hold our national day of prayer on May 6, whether or not it is officially designated as a National Day of Prayer. I believe that we should include prayers for Judge Crabb and the members of the Freedom From Religion Foundation as well as the leaders of our nation. The United States of America is a great nation, but there is only one way that it can stay great. For this nation to prosper and to stay powerful, the citizens and leaders of this country must turn to the Lord Jesus Christ. There is no better way to turn to the Lord than to join in an official or unofficial day of prayer on May 6. Please join me in praying for the United States of America everyday but especially on May 6, 2010.